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GOK #29: Arikadukka/Kallummakaya Nirachathu

GOK #29:  Arikadukka/Kallummakaya Nirachathu
Arikadukka is the speciality of the Malabar region. It is a delicacy prepared by mussels which is stuffed with subtly spiced rice mixture and then steamed in the shell and fried. Truly delicious! A must try!

Mussels(Kadukka)- about 20-25
Coarse Rice Flour-2 cups
Water-1 1/2 cup
Coconut-1 cup grated
Red Shallots(Chuvanna Ulli)-8-10
Onion-1 medium sized one
Fennel Seeds(Perunjeerakam)-1 tablespoon
Green Hot Chilies-8
Curry leaves-one sprig
Turmeric- 1/2 tsp
Red Chili Powder-1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

1. Wash the raw mussels properly under running water, scrubbing the surface until completely clean. Allow it to drain in a colander. If they are already open, discard them as they are not good. Ideally, they should open slightly and close again when tapped. Use mussels the same day they are bought. Do not refrigerate or freeze and then use them as it changes the taste.

2. Prepare the dough: Grind the coconut, fennel seeds, shallots, green chilies to a coarse paste without adding any water. Boil the water (use exact measurements as specified) with 1/2 tsp salt or to taste. When it comes to a rolling boil, add the rice flour and stir with a long handle of a spoon. (The rice flour should be grainy to approximate the texture of ground raw rice).

3. Switch off the flame and after stirring completely, cover and let it cool for at least 10 minutes. Open and add the ground mixture and turmeric and red chili powder, chopped curry leaves. Spread into a mixing plate and knead into a grainy but not too dry dough. Add water by spoonfuls if needed to mix well.
4. Chop the onion finely and fry in 1-2 tbsp oil till light brown. Drain the oil and add the onions to the dough and mix thoroughly.
Do not add salt liberally as the shellfish already has sea water and hence is a bit salty to begin with. Add a bit less than what you feel is needed.

5. Open the mussels one by one by sliding a blunt knife in thorough the slits and forcing it open. Once open, it won't close again. Take care not to crack the shell. Try to remove the hairy substance at one corner by pulling it out.

6. Stuff each mussel with the rice filling and shape neatly.

7. Use a steamer or cooker and steam the stuffed mussels for about 30 minutes. They may look soggy when you take them out but they firm up on cooling. You can store them at this stage for a couple of days in the fridge and fry as needed.

8.  Heat enough oil in a cheenachatti or deep pan. When the oil is hot, slide in the mussels one by one. Fry them in batches suited to the size of the pan till golden brown. Drain onto paper towels and serve.

Courtesy:  Linitha Sudesh