Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Traditional Kaalan

Reduced Sour Buttermilk Paste/ Kaalan Kurukku

Valluvanadan Kaalan

Kaalan  or a sour, buttermilk based Coconut Chutney is served plain for traditional feasts in this region. Elephant yams, sweet and unripe plantains are other additions. The base is sour buttermilk; thick curd or yogurt is not used.  The reduced sour buttermilk paste is known as the kurukku. This cooked paste is added to a ground coconut-cummin-black pepper base and tempered with mustard, red chillies, fenugreek and curry leaves. It is neither boiled nor left on heat for long, after the addition of coconut paste. Thick curd or yogurt is never used and is considered harmful according to the tenets of Ayurveda.

1 Cup grated coconut
1 cup sour buttermilk
2 finger hot green chilli peppers
1/4 tsp Cummin seeds
1 tsp fresh powdered black pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 pinch of roasted and lightly crushed fenugreek seeds

For tempering
1 tsp Coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 red chillies
1 stem curry leaves

Grind the grated coconut, cummin seeds, green chillies into a smooth paste with little water[ 2-3 tbsps of water].
Keep aside.

Heat a heavy bottomed pan with the buttermilk on medium high
As it starts boiling, add the turmeric powder, 
After 7-10 minutes keep checking the buttermilk which will start reducing to a paste,
Add the black pepper powder and mix well
Stir and mix well while it reduces so that it neither burns nor sticks to the bottom of the pan.

You will get about 5 and half tablespoons of the Kaalan Kurrukku/paste from 1 Cup of Buttermilk. Scoop the paste from the pan and keep aside.

At this stage you have to check for the sourness of the paste; this would depend on the sourness of the buttermilk used*.

Add 2 tbsps of the reduced buttermilk paste/kurukku to the ground coconut paste  in the same pan and mix well*.
Cook  on medium low heat for 2 minutes and take off the heat.

Heat 1 tsp of coconut oil to a smoking point,
Temper mustard seeds, then broken red chillies and curry leaves,
Add a pinch of ground fenugreek seeds and pour immediately over the Kaalan.

*The amount of paste would depend on the sourness of the butttermilk. Add accordingly.


  1. Loved the kaalan recipe...nice clicks! Regarding my post: any oil would be ok, I used olive oil.

  2. Nice dip. Love the composition

  3. I relish Kalan but do not know how to prepare it. This would be a good guide.

  4. I'm very curious to taste this new delicious recipe; the clicks are breathtaking ( as usual) kaalan looks wonderful!! happy Vishu dear!!!

  5. Thank you Vinolia! A very Happy Tamil New Year to you and family too!
    Our usual combination with Kaalan is Sambhar and Rice. And someone very uncharitably said that Mallus keep on souring their dishes for days [ which never goes bad] and then add a load of coconut to it [ to even it out!]!!!

  6. Kaalan looks creamy and so authentic.


Thank you for your valuable feedback!