I received this beautiful story and delicious recipe from Babitha Baburajan who blogs over at mypeppermintkitchen.com. Babitha writes that she started writing to help overcome her homesickness. Please make a point of stopping over to My Peppermint Kitchen. It is a beautiful blog filled with recipes you will want to create for your family and friends. What follows is Babitha’s story about her mum and one of her recipes.
Mum has always been a ray of sunshine in our lives. I have always seen her smiling through all life’s ups and downs. She has always been passionate about cooking and had learned traditional recipes from my grandma and has her own repertoire of recipes.
Growing up I have fond memories of her attending cooking classes and as a result, we would have a wide range of juices, ketchup, pickles, and jams always at home, made by her, to give away to friends and family. I believe my passion for cooking stemmed from her insatiable appetite for learning new recipes and skills.
Most of my fond memories of childhood surround food, friends, and family. I remember sitting on the kitchen counter, narrating my stories of the day while she was busy making delicious food, and as I grew up learned the ropes of cooking from her. I also learned from her to be generous in sharing recipes without hiding a secret ingredient (as some say people do); as the joy of good food only increases with sharing.
After losing my Dad last year my mum has been crushed and she is slowly trying to find her bearings. Discussing food and recipes are a big way for us to connect (since she is miles away in India) and find comfort in easing the pain. Whenever I miss her a lot, making one of her recipes makes it feel like she is beside me. I am so thankful for her presence in my life!
Mango season is here and this is definitely one of my mum’s recipes that beckons this season. May is for mangoes and to celebrate mothers. I think this recipe perfectly accomplishes that. Kaalan is another vital component of Sadya- the traditional vegetarian meal served on plantain leaves in Kerala. This is a curry made of ground coconut and beaten curd. Usually features vegetables like Malabar cucumber or plantain, but my all-time favorite is the pazhamanga kaalan (also called pazhamanga pulissery) that is made with ripe mangoes. Served with a bowl of steamed rice and crisp papaddams on the side this here is comfort food for the soul! For other sadya recipes visit my previous posts on Avial, Rasam, Beetroot pachadi, Carrot beans thoran etc.
Ripe mango – 1 large cut into big chunks
Fresh grated coconut – ½ cup
Green chilli – 1
Beaten yoghurt / curd – 1 cup
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp.
Chilli powder/pepper – ¼ tsp.
Salt to taste (about 1 tsp. Kosher salt)
Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp.
Fenugreek seeds – 1/8 tsp.
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp.
Dry red chilli – 2
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp.
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Grind the coconut and green chilli with ¼ to ½ cup water to make a paste (mum sometimes adds a generous pinch of cumin seeds to this paste). Beat the yoghurt (whole milk plain) well with a couple of tablespoons of water. Next, cook the mangoes with turmeric, chilli powder and salt with enough water to cover the pieces. When the mango softens, add the coconut paste and cook until boiling. Add half a cup of water if needed if sauce is very thick.
Steps in preparation
Reduce the flame and slowly add the beaten yoghurt with continuous stirring to prevent it from splitting. Continue to simmer for a couple of minutes after mixing taking care not to bring to boiling point. Remove from heat and check for seasoning.
For tempering, heat oil and add the spices. When mustard pops add the curry leaves and stir and pour over the kalan. Serve warm with steamed white rice and pappadams.
Ready to serve!