Thursday, January 3, 2013

Arachu Kalakki ( Kerala Home-Style Non-Dairy Chutney)

Arachu kalakki means "ground mix" in Tamil/Malayalam; and ground mixture it is - mangoes or Indian gooseberries (nellikai or amla), chiles, and coconut are ground and mixed with water or buttermilk/yogurt to make an uncooked soupy chutney or sauce; it is also called Uppu Mangai or Neer Nellikai Pachadi depending on the ingredients.  Although the traditional ingredients for making arachu kalakki are baby mangoes (kanni manga)/gooseberries (nellikai) in brine, hot pickled ones may also be used.  When using hot pickled mangoes/gooseberries, chiles may not be needed.  Arachu kalakki is a good way to use up aging pickles with soft mangoes/gooseberries. It is typically served over dry kinds of food like rice/grain dishes, upma, idliskozhakattais, sevai (rice noodles), etc.

If you would like to use dried mangoes/gooseberries, soak a small handful of the dried pieces in warm water until softened before proceeding with the grinding.  You will need to adjust the seasonings as the dried fruit usually does not contain salt or spices.

Traditionally sour yogurt or thick sour buttermilk are used; but I use coconut milk instead and a little lime/lemon for the sourness.


2 or 3 pickled small mangoes or gooseberries (Amla)
1/2 cup Freshly grated Coconut
1-2 Green or dry Red Chiles
Sea Salt, if needed
1/2 cup Coconut milk  + lime/lemon juice

1 tsp Oil
1 pinch Brown Mustard Seeds
1 pinch Fenugreek seeds (optional)
1 dried hot red chile
1 Stem fresh Curry Leaves, finely chopped


Use the whole mango including the seed; remove seeds from gooseberries. If using hot pickled mangoes or gooseberries, additional chiles may not be necessary.  If the pickles are excessively spicy, rinse them well before processing in the blender.

Place pickles, coconut, and chiles and coconut milk in the carafe of a blender and process using just enough water to make blending feasible.

Pour the ground mixture into a bowl; rinse the blender jar with a little water to gather every bit of the arachu kalakki and add to the bowl.  Add a little more water if necessary to get a nice pouring consistency.

Taste the arachu kalakki to see if it needs salt and lime or lemon juce; add needed salt and lime or lemon juice.  Mix well.

Heat the oil in a small pan and add the chile and seeds; when the seeds finish popping, turn off heat and stir in the curry leaves and cover immediately to prevent hot oil from splattering.  Let cool slightly, about a minute.

Pour the aromatic spices into the chutney and mix well.

Serve over plain rice, lemon rice, upma, idli, dosa, sevai etc.  Enjoy!!

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