Kalan is an intergral part of Kerala Sadyas. Along with Pazham pradhaman, it has always served as the unit of measurement of how grant a sadya was. Also its unique shelf life at room temperature (the taste often increases with the passage of time) has made it an unavoidable dish in Kerala house holds from early yesteryears.The making of Kalan is very simple and there are regional differences for preparing this yogurt based gravy. The below recipe corresponds to the Kalan in sadyas around Thrissur.
Yam ¼ cup, cut to chunks
Plantain 1 small, Skin peeled off and cut to diagonal chunks
Yogurt 4 cups
Turmeric powder ½ tsp
Black pepper powder 1 ½ tsp
Green chilly 2 nos
Cumin seeds ¼ tsp
Grated coconut 1 cup
Fenugreek powder a pinch, roasted
Salt as needed
Mustard seeds ½ tsp
Dry red chilly 2 nos
Oil 1 TBSP
Ghee 1 tsp
Heat a wide mouth pan (preferable an iron skillet/Uruli) at medium heat and add the yam and plantain pieces with a cup of water. Along with this add turmeric powder and pepper powder. Allow the vegetables to cook well and then add salt. When the liquid from vegetables are almost dried up, add 1 tsp. ghee and mix well. Mash the veggies little bit, reduce flame to low-med and add the beaten yogurt to this. Throw in curry leaves and stir well until yogurt starts to boil.
Meanwhile grind together coconut, cumin seeds and green chilly to a fine paste with little water.
When the liquid from yogurt is completely evaporated (4 cups yogurt will get reduced to almost 2 cups), add the coconut paste and mix well. Cook for a few more minutes. Add a pinch of fenugreek powder and switch off the stove.
Heat 1 tsp oil in another pan and splutter mustard seeds and dry red chilly with some curry leaves. Pour the tempering over the yogurt and adjust salt if needed. Katti kalan is ready and serve with rice..
Make sure not to add salt to vegetables until they are completely cooked
Once cooled, store the kalan in an air tight container and this will stay unspoiled for at least 2 weeks at room temperature