Friday 31 August 2012

Ripe Bananas and Coconut - "The Perfect Marriage" - Kuruku Kaalan

I realized something very amusing while I prepared Onasadya for the first time this year - Most of the dishes on the menu use similar ingredients and cooking methods and yet are unique in flavour and appearance! It’s amazing how slight alterations in the same ingredients can bring about such huge differences in flavors.

Kaalan is another proud entry, lined up in a Sadya, and again depending on regional differences, the consistency and ingredients of this dish vary from one place to the other. This dish is not just an integral part of the Kerala Sadya but can also be found in most Kerala homes as a dish consumed on a daily basis. The reason for the popularity of this dish is two-fold – Simplicity in preparation and it’s excellent shelf life. Kaalan can stay fresh for upto 2 weeks (I have heard that it’s flavors are enhanced as time passes) at room temperature if stored properly in good quality air-tight containers.

Though I wasn’t able to get this dish ready on the table during Onam, I tried my hand at it for the first time today. If I had known it was this simple, I definitely would have made it with the Sadya. :( That’s OK, there is always a next time! My mum prepares the most awesome Kaalan and I must say that my attempt at preparing it was quite good!

The slightly ripe bananas and the freshly grated coconut is a beautiful example of the celebration of cooking. This dish works amazingly well together and will definitely put you on top if prepared for family and friends. A sure winner, you guys HAVE to try this at home and it will leave you feeling blooming good. And so without further ado, I present to you the brilliant - Banana Kuruku Kaalan


Banana (1 and ¼ inch cubes) - 18 pieces (half ripe) (refer notes)
Green chillies (slit lengthwise) - 8 to 9 (adjust as per spice tolerance)
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Salt - to taste
Water - ½ cup
Curd/Yoghurt (sour; beaten) - 3 cups (make sure it's not too sour, but just enough)
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Chilli powder - ½ tsp
Coconut (grated) - 1 cup
Cumin seeds/Jeera - a pinch
Coconut oil - 4 tsp
Mustard seeds - ½ tsp
Fenugreek seeds/Uluva - 1/8 tsp
Red chillies (each slit into 2 pieces) - 3 to 4


Cook together banana pieces, slit green chillies, a few curry leaves and salt in water. Cook till the banana pieces are soft.

Mix curd with a pinch of salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Pour this mixture over the banana pieces. Keep aside.

Grind grated coconut along with cumin seeds into a fine paste. Keep aside.

Heat the coconut oil in an earthen-ware pan (chatty) or any other pan that is available and splutter mustard seeds. Throw in the fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and red chillies and fry these ingredients in turn. (That is; add each ingredient one by one, frying for a few seconds. Be careful not to burn the ingredients)

Now add the ground coconut mixture to the above seasoning and saut'e on a low flame till raw smell disappears and the masala is roasted well. Remove from flame and leave to cool.

Once the roasted coconut-masala has cooled completely, add this to the prepared curd-banana mixture and stir till combined well. Place the earthen-ware pan with the Kaalan on a low flame and keep stirring carefully till the Kaalan reaches the desired consistency. (refer notes) Switch off flame and stir continuously till it becomes cold.

Store the Kaalan in a porcelain jar and use when required. (refer notes)


1. If the bananas are not ripe enough, you can add a little powdered jaggery to the Kaalan for that required sweetness, towards the end. Do not add too much but just enough.

2. I don't like my Kaalan too thick and hence took it off the flame when the gravy was slightly loose. But for those of you who prefer a thick consistency, keep stirring the curry carefully till it thickens. Stirring the curry is very crucial because it prevents the curd/yoghurt from curdling.

3. The Kaalan can be stored in an airtight porcelain jar for a few days at room temperature (you can refrigerate it if you want to) and used when required.

Hope you all had a fantastic Onam. We had a lovely Onasadya at a small restaurant here in Bangalore, thoroughly enjoyed it. Special thanks to my lovely hubby, Reju for treating me with that yummy Sadya. He is totally amazed by my mighty love for the "Sadya"! But don't worry Reju, I still love you more!!! :)

Recipe Courtesy: The Family Cook Book by Mrs. K.M. Mathew

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