Saturday, 26 March 2011

Kallummakkaaya Nirachathu/Ari Kadukka - Stuffed Mussels.

Hi all,

Hope everyone is doing great out there. This is a special post that I am posting for an event that a lovely blogger Magpiesrecipes is hosting at Magpiesrecipe. If she wouldn’t have asked me to join her event, I guess this recipe wouldn’t have appeared on the blog. It’s a lengthy recipe, lot of work, lot of typing and I don’t really expect many to be trying out his one. I prepared these almost an year ago. Wanted to post then and there, but as the post was going to be a lengthy and elaborate one, the thought of typing out made me just lethargic. These days I am not much keen on trying any new dishes or taking pictures and if it was not for Magpie, I wouldn’t have posted this recipe. She has been asking me to join her Kerala kitchen and I thought may be this would be the time for a marvellous recipe as this one to get published. Thanks Magpie for your event and the invite.

I guess the length of the name of this dish has to reflect in the intense labour that goes in making this Malabar delicacy. If you come across the Malabar specialities, these are the one of the dishes that everyone crave about and tops the list of favourite Malabar dishes! These are rich in flavour, aroma and has its own distinguished taste. Arikkadukka or stuffed mussels (Kallummakkaya nirachathu as people from Kannur (North Kerala) calls it). In this particular recipe, Mussels are stuffed with a ground rice mixture and then steamed in shell. Steam cooked rice is then scooped out of shell, marinated in a spicy mixture and then deep fried until golden. YUM!

Well, this was the first time ever that I prepared this dish all by myself. Usually, while preparing arikadukka, the labour is divided between people so as to ease out the process. Couple of ladies will do the scrubbing of mussels to remove the dirt, talking and cracking jokes in between while someone does the grinding of rice and preparing the rice dough. It would be couple of others filling the dough in to the shell, getting them ready to be steamed. See, there is division of labour here and normally these are made in huge batches of 75 or100 or even more. When there are many to do the job, it wouldn’t be that difficult, but if you need to do everything all by yourself, it can be a bit tiring. Imagine, how many of them I prepared, doing all the work by myself? Fifty of them!! Crazy, Isn’t it? I know. It all happened as I never bought mussels myself before. Back in India, these are sold by counts and not by weight. But over here, they sell by weight which is rather sensible I thought! But I was not sure how both are related as well. So when the fish monger at the farmers market asked me how many I wanted I asked him for 25 pieces. When he told me that I need to give him in weight in gram measures, I told him a Kilo! He then handed over to me a large bagful of nice, clean mussels which was fresh, live and full of flesh. I stood there a while, flabbergasted seeing the amount of the mussels and that too just for a £3. I din’t want so many, but was embarrassed to return and get a few instaed, so came back home with the lot. You know, there were 50 of them, whereas I just wanted around 20 of them!

Arikkadukka is prepared with fresh mussels - not frozen. So they have to be prepared on the day of purchase. Mussels that I bought were so clean that I dint have to do all that nasty scrubbing which otherwise takes ages. So it was one job down. Traditionally, kallummakkaaya nirachathu is prepared using parboiled rice. Rice is soaked for several hours, then ground coarsely without adding water along with coconut, fennel and onion. This needs Indian kind of mixies which uses no or minimal amount of water to do the grinding. The dough is exactly the same as the one I use for neypathal or aanapathal. But for the ease of use, I used roasted rice powder after I referred to shaheen’s recipe. Thank you Shaheen for that great tip. Don’t forget to check out her version too. It’s slightly different from mine. My way is the one that we have been making for ages at home and been eating at my relatives and anywhere in Kannur/Tellicherry. But due the intense labour that goes into its making, and bakeries coming up with these already made, these days people opt out getting them from the bakeries. Some adds, ginger, red chilli powder, turmeric and curry leaves to the ground mixture. But we always loved the ones without them. Even though this recipe takes considerable amount of time, it is easy, as I always say. The taste is worth every bit of labour.

Kallummakkaaya Nirachathu/Ari Kadukka- Stuffed Mussels
Serves 20-25


1 kilo – 50 medium size fresh mussels with shell

For the dough:

3 cups Puttu Podi (Coarsely ground and roasted rice powder)
2 medium size onions chopped (200 g)
2 cups grated coconut
1 ½ Tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tsp – 3 tsp salt (NB:Mussels are really salty, you may need to reduce the amount of salt considerably here depending on your taste.)
3 ½ - 4 1/2 cups boiling water (NB:Just enough water to make a soft and smooth dough. The amount of water needed may be less or more depending on the rice powder and how well the rice is roasted).

For marinating: (This quantity of spices are for frying around 15 of them)

1 tablespoon Kashmiri Chilli powder.
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Couple of pinches of salt
3-4 tablespoons of water


1 Grind coconut well, without adding water. Add fennel seeds, onion and grind again to get a coarse paste.

2. In a large bowl, add puttu podi and salt. Mix well. To this, add ground coconut mixture. Slowly add boiling water and mix using a large spoon until the mixture comes together. Knead it to a smooth dough, once it is warm enough to handle with bare hand. Dough shouldn’t be too soft and sticky or too hard and breaking apart. You can add more or less water as necessary. Cover and keep it aside while you prepare the mussels.

3. Clean the outer part of the mussels by scrubbing away all the dirt, if any. Discard the already opened mussels and use only the ones that are closed tight.

4. Using a blunt knife, slowly slide in the knife through the slits and open them slowly without breaking the shells apart. (I was told that leaving them in the freezer for about half an hour or so makes it easier to force open the shells). Once the shell is open, pull out the hairy substance from the flesh. Wash the opened mussels under slow running tap water, rubbing its flesh gently to clean any further dirt.

5. Make balls of the rice dough (You can divide teh dough depending on teh amount of mussels you have), wide open the shells without cracking them and stuff the dough into the shells. Take off any excess dough and shape them neatly.

6. Fill all the shells in the same manner.

7. Steam cook these stuffed mussels for about 25-30 minutes. You can stack these on top of each other and you will need to steam them in in 2-3 batches altogether. They will be slightly sticky when hot, but gets firmer as it cools down .( At this point, once it is completely cooled, you can store them in Ziploc bags and freeze them for later use. (See the tip in the notes). )

9. Slowly break open the shell and take out the cooked stuffing taking care not to break or part the mussel from the dough. It is usual that the mussel sticking to the shell, you can take them off using a sharp knife in case need be.

10. Add oil about 1 ½ - 2 inch high in a kadai/frying pan and set it on medium heat. Mix chilli powder, turmeric powder and a tad bit of salt along with water to make a thin paste. Dip the scooped out dough into this solution and slide into the hot oil. You may add as many your kadai/pan take. Fry on all sides until it takes golden colour. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with an evening tea.


1.Traditional recipe uses soaked parboiled rice for making the dough, which requires even more time. I have substituted this with roasted coarse rice powder (Puttu podi) for the ease of making. Thanks to shaheen for this tip. Although the recipe yielded me an excellent review, I thought there was a slight difference in the texture while using raw rice and rice powder

2. Mussels are very salty. So salt should be used with caution.

3. Once the mussels are steamed, if you are not planning to fry them all at a time, place them in a Ziploc bag, around8-10 mussels each in a bag and freeze it with shell on. DO NOT take the shell off. When you want to fry these frozen stuffed mussels, bring them back to room temperature and steam them with shell on for 8-10 minutes on until they are hot. This makes them soft and bring back their texture. Then marinate them again in spice solution and fry. Chilli powder may be reduced depending on the heat level.

4. The spice amount given here is just for 12-15 of them.

5. With the leftover dough, you can just shape them into ovals and steam cook it along with the rest of stuffed mussels. These can also be fried like the other one and are really tasty as well – A non-veg version


Reshmi Mahesh said...

Being from malabar area I have had this...and is real delicious....I know that its very tough to prepare but is worth it....Yours look mouth watering and I am really missing it now....Awesome pictures...
Following your space...Do visit my space sometimes...

Shabitha Karthikeyan said...

Looks so inviting..I have never tasted something like this..Great effort Shabs !!!

Suji said...

Hey Shabs, Welcome back! Man you are making me crave fro some arikadukka now, i never really made this myself,Love it ketto...

Shah cooks said...

umm. i love these in any form, my way or your way.. haven't had them in so long!!

Sarah-Jane - said...

mussels are delicious - but as you say, very very time consuming to prepare if you have to scrub them all

These look very unique. They only sell fresh mussels in the UK when in season. Basically, only during months with 'r' in them.... After that, it's too late.

These look super, but it's not so often I can get hold of really fresh fish as there is no fish monger near by. When we do, it's fish for a few night running !

Thanks for sharing. All the step by step photos are very useful


Sarah-Jane - said...

mussels are delicious - but as you say, very very time consuming to prepare if you have to scrub them all

These look very unique. They only sell fresh mussels in the UK when in season. Basically, only during months with 'r' in them.... After that, it's too late.

These look super, but it's not so often I can get hold of really fresh fish as there is no fish monger near by. When we do, it's fish for a few night running !

Thanks for sharing. All the step by step photos are very useful


amna said...

i am not a fan of mussels but that looks gorgeous Shabs! Very nicely prepared :)

divya said...

Slurp,mouthwatering here....

Unknown said...

Havent heard if it,sounds interesting n yumm

simple and delicious! said...

we don't get this thing in our place, and many are not familiar with this!
Looks wonderful shaby, ok , am thinking of a Kannur trip next time you come there.. :)

Unknown said...

Hey Shabs,

That looks fabulous...yumm yumm...Do stop by my blog wen you find time dear...:)


S said...

love them..... miss eating them deeply fried from my grandma 's home....

cook from doha said...

this is one of my fav recipes but have not tried it by myself..........urs looks yummy........

Priya Suresh said...

Never had mussels this way, looks absolutely out of the world..

khadija said...

That looks really amazing! So fun to learn about new foods and processes! Have a great day!

Nitha said...

Shabs... adipoli tto... i love this..

MJ said...

Hey!! Nice to see you around after a while =) know I am CRAZY, literally crazy about kallummakaya....but finding them in this part of the world is as gud as never!! Every time I go or anyone i know goes to india...would always take time out to come down to calicut and get some of these and other delicacies served only in the core the malabar coast....I am from thrissur and you dont get mussels there :) Am drooling like crazy right now!! Last time I went there was a change in how they made it, now they use a love of besan flour/ kadala podi for making instead of the real thing with rice...I really love the once made only with rice =) And I am surely going to try these, wen ever I can get hold of some kallummakaya!! bookmarking it =) Thanks a lot for sharing!!!

Suja Manoj said...

Looks so delicious,adipoli aayitundu.

Sneha Benny said...

I have never tasted this dish before. Looks too good !!!

Rose from Magpies Recipes said...

Shabs!!! So sweet of you! and that too Kallumakkaya! such big beautiful ones! all of us at the Kerala Kitchen are thrilled to bits to have you join us! Huggggss

Sunitha said...

Nice recipe.. definitely time consuming but every mouthful must have made the effort worthwhile I am sure. Good luck with the competition.

Anonymous said...

Dear Shabs,

I am unable to find ur e-mail id anywhere on ur blog, hence I am postin it here hoping u will read the comment and give me a reply.

I tried making the low fat banana bread which u came out really well and i loved it.thanks for that. But when i tried to take it from the loaf pan, it did not come out.i tried to tap the bottom of the pan to make it fall, but in vain.then i had to take a spoon and take it out of the pan.but the underneath of the cake was soo soft tht it broke into pieces :( . the taste was good but i could not have it pieces :( . did it break because i took it right away soon after baking, from the pan?should i leave it for sometime for it to cool and then try taking it out of the pan or is it something else?Please help me out.i love trying all ur recipes and u have given me the confidence to cook. what i am asking might be stupid but i am absolutely new to the world of baking,hence the doubt.
also please tell me should i beat the banana mixture with the mixer or should i add it just like that into the pan?because i see u have not asked to beat it.u have just asked to mix the dry ing with the wet ingredients add it into the baking loaf pan.
kindly help.awaiting ur reply.
if u have an id, please let me kno so that i can send the pic of the banana bread that i baked.

Shabs.. said...

Hi remya, thx for ur feedback dearie...
Regarding the cake, i always line the cake pan with baking paper, so that it is easy to take out. I think you dint line the pan, right? And it is always best to cut the cake whne it is completely cooled, as it might crumble a bit or get a neat slice whilst warm...If you leave it there for a while to cool, i think u shud get them in peices:)....sorry about that dear....try lining the pan and also letting the cake cool for about an hour - 2 hours before u slice them....not a stupid question at all...I learnt cooking by committing and asking silliest of things and thats how we learn, isn't it?..And you dont have to beat the banan mixture. It is just mixing with wooden sppon....mix dry ingeredients and wet ingredients with a wooden spoon, no need a mixer. Mix well until there is no flour visible, slowly, but do not over mix as you will get chewy cake..:)....Hope this helps remya, you can email me at .


remya said...

that was so sweet of u shabs.thanks a lot for the quick reply.yes i did not line the baking pan as i dont know time i will see for a baking paper.and i will also try not to disturb the cake or bread for two hours:).it smelled soo good that i could not resist.i will definitely be making it again and i will let u know.i might again come back with more doubts as i am plannin to make some cakes from ur blog.please bear with me. :)

Shabs.. said...

No problem dear. I will try to help you with everything i know..


Plateful said...

Hey Shabs, that's one terrific post capturing the signature flavor of the Malabar cuisine. We readers are truly happy that you took time to slave in the kitchen to dish out such yummy delicacy- thanks so much. Your pictures are simply gorgeous, no doubt! And I love your styling too. Thanks for befriending me and for being so generous!! Hugs from Doha :)

Sarah said...

I've seen this on TV in the TV series HOMP where Rocky and Mayur go to kozhikode beach and eats this. I've been wanting to try it myself ever since. Thanks for the fabulous recipe. And congratulations for the KK win :)

Plateful said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karishma said...

Hi Shabs, nice to meet you here! You've posted an absolute favorite of mine and my family's too (I'm from Mahe and my husband from Kannur, and my parents are settled in Calicut, so we're all over Malabar!!!)..Never ever tried this at home but now maybe I will...hats off to you for making this on your own :-) and congrats for winning the best dish for this month's Kerala Event absolutely deserve it and I'm so happy for you, especially 'cos you won it for this dish ;-)

Nisha said...

Came here from kerala kitchen, so impressed by this preparation.

See you again

Anonymous said...

hey shabs,
Pls check dis out!!..i tink dey hv used pic..

Anonymous said...

hey have u seen dis..dey hav used ur pic!!

Anonymous said...

Wοw, awesomе blog layout! Ηow lοng hаѵе yοu
been blоggіng fοr? yоu make bloggіng look easу.

The overаll lοοk of your ωebѕite іs
great, аs ωеll aѕ the content!
Also visit my blog : Fish Oil Benefits

Anonymous said...

Hi! Someone in my Myѕpace grоup ѕhаred this webѕitе with uѕ so І camе to loοk it οveг.
I'm definitely enjoying the information. I'm boоk-marking and will
be twеeting this to my followeгѕ!
Еxceptiоnal blog and terrіfіс deѕіgn and
Feel free to visit my web site : Natural Facelift

s@b@ri said...

Ithu tvm il evdenkilum kito?

Shabs.. said...

Hi Sabari, I am from kannur and I am not if you get these in TVM, I am sorry..

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...