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
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].
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.