There are many different varieties of yoghurt based dishes in Kerala like moru curry(seasoned with ginger and garlic) , pulliseri and kalan. Some varieties of pulliseri are made using fruits, namely mambazha pulliseri, pineapple pulliseri, ripe plantain/ethapazham pulliseri etc. Vegetables like winter melon/kumbalanga, vellarikka/yellow cucumber, raw banana/ethakka, tomato and elephant yam/chena are also used to prepare pulliseri. Out of all these varieties, mambazha pulliseri and kalan are my favourites. Kalan is a very popular traditional dish of Kerala and is another important dish of a Kerala sadya. Kalan has a much thicker consistency than pulliseri and uses pepper powder. There are two types of kalan namely rasa kalan prepared using a variety of vegetables like pumpkin, yam, raw banana, ash gourd, yellow cucumber, chembu, raw mango etc and kurukku kalan which has a semi-solid consistency, usually served in Trissur. In our place kalan for sadya is usually prepared with green plantains and elephant yam and has a medium consistency. Kalan prepared with sour yoghurt tastes the best. Here is the recipe:
1. Raw green plantain – 1/2 cup diced (Peel off its skin)
Elephant yam – 1/2 cup diced (You can use frozen yam)
Green chilies – 2 – 3, slit
Turmeric powder – 1/4 – 1/2 tsp
Chilly powder – 1/4 – 1/2 tsp (Optional)
Pepper powder – 3/4 tsp
Curry leaves – 1- 2 sprigs
Salt – To taste
2. Sour yoghurt – 2.5 cups
Grated coconut – 3/4 – 1 cup
Cumin seeds – 1/4 – 1/2 tsp
3. Uluva podi/ fenugreek powder – 1/4 tsp
4. Coconut oil – 2 – 3 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4 – 1/2 tsp
Dry red chilies – 2
1. Cook the plantains and yam in sufficient water adding turmeric powder, chilly powder, pepper powder and salt at medium heat. Meanwhile grind the coconut and cumin seeds to a very fine paste.
2. When the water is almost evaporated and the vegetables are cooked, mash them slightly and add the ground coconut paste. Cook for a few minutes until its raw taste is gone. Bring down the heat and add the beaten yoghurt. Keep stirring, after you add yoghurt, otherwise it will curdle. Sprinkle fenugreek powder and check for salt. Heat through and switch off.
3. In another pan heat some coconut oil, splutter mustards, brown the dry red chilies, add a few curry leaves and pour this seasoning over the kalan. Cover with a lid for 15 minutes. Mix well. Serve hot with plain rice and other side-dishes.