Sunday, 18 September 2011


1)    Ash gourd – 250 gm.
2)    Fresh curd – 1 litre
3)    Coconut – ½
4)    Hot green chilies – 2 Nos.
5)    Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
6)    Black pepper powder – ½ teaspoon
7)    Fenugreek seeds – ½ teaspoon
8)    Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
9)    Kashmiri dry chili – 4 Nos.
10)                      Tender curry leaves – 2 sprigs
11)                      Coconut or other cooking oil – 1 tablespoon
12)                      Turmeric powder – 1 teaspoon
13)                      Jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) – 25 gm.
14)                      Salt to taste

To Cook:
Peel the ash gourd. Remove the seeds. Cut the ash gourd into 1 inch size chunks. Put them in a vessel and set on the stove. Pour enough water to submerge the ash gourd. Add a tea spoon of salt and a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Cook until the ash gourd is nice and soft. When fully cooked, your stainless steel ladle will cut through the ash gourd piece effortlessly. Turn off the heat.
Grate the coconut and put it in a food processor along with the cumin seeds, pepper powder, green chilies and curd. Grind to fine paste and add to the cooked ash gourd. Tip in the jaggery. Turn on the heat and stir. When the jaggery is dissolved, taste and add more seasoning if required.
Put a small pan on low heat on the stove. Pour in the cooking oil and pop in the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds are almost finished crackling, add the fenugreek seeds. As soon as they start to splutter, put in the Kashmiri chili and the cherry leaves. Stir and pour the contents of the pan into the curry. Your Ash Gourd Kaalan is now ready.

Kaalan is an indispensable in all marriage feasts in Kerala. Kalan can also be prepared by substituting the ash gourd with raw Nendran banana or with elephant foot yam or with taro. Each ingredient will give you a Kaalan of a different taste. You can also use all four of these ingredients together to make one beautiful kaalan.
Try, cook and enjoy !!!

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