If you take a stroll down the Arcot Road in Kodambakkam the evening after 6 pm, you will find a crowd outside a small shop, just opposite Mercury Electronics. The Kalaan Shop is a favourite haunt for evening snacks for many college students, office-goers and others returning home. It is known for serving one of the best roadside kalaan, one of the hugely popular street food in the city. Served with chopped onion, the dish, originally from Coimbatore is a great way to add some spice to a boring day.
Not just this particular shop, there are many stalls and food carts that sell kalaan across the city. They are usually set up in the evening and are a rage as an evening snack. If you are planning to recreate this delicious snack at home, here is a simple recipe to try out:
- 2cups water or 16oz vegetable stock
- Oil : 1tsp
- Onion : 1/2
- Dried red chillies : 2
- Turmeric Powder : 1/4tsp
- Bay Leaf : 1
- Ginger : 1/4inch piece
- Garlic : 2cloves
- Whole spices ( Coriander Seeds : 1/2tbsp, 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder , small piece of mace, A small stick of cinnamon, 1 cardamom, 1 cloves, 1/4tsp black pepper corns, 1/4tsp Cumin, 1/4tsp Fennel ) or you can add 1/2tsp Garam Masala plus nutmeg powder (Secret ingredient)
Add oil and add red chilies, whole spices, bay leaf and saute for one minute. Now add onion, ginger, garlic and saute till translucent. Add turmeric powder along with 4 cups of water / vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Now allow it to cool and drain. This is the base for your Kaalan.
- Button Mushroom : 16oz box / 570g, finely chopped
- All Purpose Flour (Maida) : 1/2Cup
- Cornflour : 1/4cup
- Chilly powder : 1tsp
- Turmeric powder : 1/4tsp
- Garam Masala : 1/2tsp
- Grated ginger / Crushed Ginger : 1/2inch piece
- Grated Garlic / Crushed Garlic : 3cloves
- Red Food colour
- Egg : 1(optional)
- Lemon juice / Vinegar : 1tsp
- Oil : 2tbsp
Mix all ingredients except oil and mushrooms in a wide bowl. Add 1tbsp water(or more if you are not using egg) and make a batter to fry the mushrooms. Now add the mushrooms and combine well. Heat oil in a non stick pan and deep fry them. Drain the excess oil using paper towel.
- Approximately 2 cups of drained stock we prepared from step 1
- Onion : 1, finely chopped
- Green Chillies : 2 finely chopped
- Red chilly powder : 1tsp
- Garam Masala / Eastern meat masala : 1tsp
- Coriander leaves : 1/4cup, finely chopped
- Heat the same vessel from step 2 and add the fried mushrooms.
- Now add 1cup drained stock we prepared in step 1 and mix well with the mushrooms.
- Using the spatula stir continuously ad scramble the fried mushrooms.
- You should work quickly to separate the mushrooms and stir fry well.
- When the water is absorbed add the remaining 1cup stock and repeat the same process and your final result will be bite sized fried mushrooms with a soggy texture.
- Make sure your Kaalan is not dry.
- So before the water evaporates, add remaining ingredients listed under Step 3 – and stir fry for one minute.
- Serve hot with some extra onions and coriander leaves on top.