Kurukku Kaalan

I wonder why I haven’t posted the kurukku kalan recipe earlier. Possibly because I make this dish only once in a while. But definitely for Vishu (Malayalam New Year) and Onam (Malayali harvest festival).
Kurukku means to reduce. Since this recipe was traditionally made with dairy yogurt, the yogurt was reduced by simmering. Hence the name. This is a thick dish.
I love this dish, but it only pops into my head during the above mentioned festivals. I then resolve to make it oftener, then promptly forget. However, I did remember this dish a few weeks ago. And promptly got down to preparing it.
This dish has a very appealing and unique taste. It is mildly spiced. As it uses yogurt as a base, It hardly gives any indication of being spicy except for a flavour of black pepper. Straight from the heart of Kerala, it is a dish that no sadya (feast) is complete without. Do try it and add another a unique taste to your repertoire of tongue ticklers.

Kurukku Kalan

1 raw green banana (preferably the nendran variety), cubed
1/2 cup cubed elephant yam (jimmikhand, chenai kizhangu), cubed
1 green chili, slit
1 sprig curry leaves
1 cup sour vegan yogurt, whisked
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
1/4 tsp red chili powder
3/4 tsp black pepper, crushed
1/2 tsp fenugreek powder (methi powder, venthiya podi)
Unrefined salt to taste
2 cups water
To Grind To A Paste
1 cup grated coconut
1 green chili
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
1/2 cup water
To Temper
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 dried red chili
1 sprig curry leaves
In a large wok, add the raw banana and yam
Add the 1 green chili, 1 sprig curry leaves, turmeric powder and 3/4 tsp crushed black pepper
Add 2 cups water and boil for 10 minutes
Meanwhile, grind all the ingredients mentioned under “To Grind To A Paste”
Set aside
Once the vegetables are half cooked, add salt and fenugreek powder
Cover and boil for 5 minutes or till the vegetables are completely cooked
Open the lid and add the ground coconut paste
Mix well and continue to boil for 5 minutes
Turn the flame off and add the yogurt
Mix well to get a creamy and smooth consistency
Set aside
Heat a wok and add mustard and fenugreek seeds
When the mustard seeds begin to splutter and the fenugreek seeds turn dark brown, add the curry leaves and red chili
Roast for a few seconds and add to the prepared dish (kaalan)
Serve hot with steamed red/brown/millet rice
Note: I had said that kurukku means to reduce. This is my simple recipe. In the traditional method, the vegetables are boiled in the spiced water (pepper, green chili, curry leaves, turmeric powder) till the water evaporates completely. The vegetables would have absorbed the flavours of the spices. More water. coconut paste and yogurt is added. Then the liquid is simmered till the yogurt has reduced considerably and you get a thick, creamy curry.

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