Onam Sadya (a festive meal) in Kerala is not complete without an array of vegetarian dishes, that are served on a banana leaf, in a specific order. And Kurukk Kalan is touted to be one of the main highlights of the indulgent spread.
The thick, creamy yoghurt-based gravy dish is usually made with tubers such as yam or raw plantains. This Kurukk Kalan is the plain version, made without adding any vegetables.
Whisk 1 litre yogurt with a pinch of turmeric powder. Add 6 slit green chillies (adjust the number of chillies based on your tolerance levels). Grind together 1 cup coconut and 1 tsp cumin seeds to a smooth paste. Add the paste to the yoghurt mix and pour this into a mud vessel. Keep stirring for at least half an hour on slow flame, until a film of oil shows at the top.
Tempering – in a separate pan, heat 2 tbs coconut il and add a handful of fresh curry leaves, a pinch of fenugreek, 3 red chillies and 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds – when the mustard splutters, pour it into the main dish.
By Lata Mohandas
Lata is the great granddaughter of social reformer Mannathu Padmanabhan and the wife of businessman Mohandas, from Kerala. Her children have fond memories of wearing hand-painted, embroidered clothes and coming home to her delicious cakes baked without an oven, even in the 70s. Looked up to by her family and friends alike, her nimble fingers are best at everything a homemaker can do, whether it is cooking, baking, stitching or gardening.