Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Oyster/ Mussel recipes

We got not many chances to eat mussels (kallummakkai as we call it or kadukka as in southern Kerala) in our childhood. It was clams clams clams, every now and then.  In Amma's place they got a kind of  white clams with shells and then it was a huge process to bring them to the dining table. But in my father's place we were accustomed to buying the meat of dark clams that grew up in rivers.

 An old woman from the river side came to sell clam meat. she would carry it in a basket on her head and she chewed betel all the time. Out of excessive betel-chewing she had white lesions by her orange lips. Her visits were looked upon with a special interest by the entire family. All of us had a common interest, that is we all loved to eat clams, at the same time each of us had an individual reason for anticipating her visits.

Achamma had a nice time enjoying her gossips(nothing harmful..just sharing the new the village). The old woman easily got agitated if you doubted the genuieness of her clams or her deal as a whole and Amma loved to tease her that way..though she was actually fond of her.
My interest was none of these. I was fascinated by the wooden measuring cup she carried and loved the way she measured the clams and dropped it in to our "manchatty".

Cleaning of clams took ages. We children always wanted to take part in it. squeezing out of the black mass from every tiny clam required a lot of time and patience.  later in life, Amma entrusted us with this tough job especially when servants were absent or at times it was given to us as a punishment for misbehavior. What an idea..!!! :)

Achamma and Amma roasted the clams in "uruli" on low flame for a long time adding spices and a lot of coconut scrapes. Some times they were roasted so hard  inorder to send to my Father or other relatives who lived abroad. Another option was clam curry, cooked in ground coconut gravy and mangoes, fresh green mangoes or  dry mango slices.

During this period, eating mussels happened very rarely. But things changed with the passing of time. A young woman, her name was Rema and she pronounced it in a curious way, started to bring mussels, prawn meat(which costed a fortune) etc, travelling all the way from Paravoor to our village. 
Mostly we made mussel masala at home, but have got chances to eat mussel pickle from my aunt's place which her sister in law..brings from Wyanad and also the "kadukka " fried dipping in rice batter from Kozhikode-the centre of kadukka lovers, when I visited my sister who lived in Kozhikode sometime back.

Kallummakkai chilli masala
I got some oysters and cooked them in the same way we cook mussels. Back home I'm used to only mussels, not oysters but there is no big deal..both tastes almost the same. They have some differences, may be in life style. mussels are happy with a stagnant life while oysters love to move around...Here even when u buy cooked oysters or mussels they have the black mass in it. I always squeeze them out though most of the people eat it wholly. There are differences of opinion regarding this. But I think its better to be safe than sorry.


1. Mussels or Oysters - 500 gm
2.Green chilli- 6-7(its chilli very hot...if you don't want it hot add not many chillies)
3. Ginger- one small piece.
4.Onion- 2
5.Tomato- 1 large
6.Coriander leaves- chopped- 2 tablespoon
6.turmeric powder- 1/2 teaspoon
7. chilli powder- 1/2 teaspoon
8. Garam masala powder- I teaspoon
9. salt- as required
10.coconut oil- as required

how to cook

1. Clean oysters very well and keep aside in a sieve to get rid of all water from it.
2. Cut onion in to thin long slices.
3. Cut green chilli in to halves( length wise)
4. chop tomato in to small pieces.
5. Cut ginger in to very thin long slices
6. heat a bottom heavy pan. pour oil in to it.
7. saute well onions, ginger, chillies and tomatoes adding one by one.

8. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder and garam masala powder.
9. When oil separates add oysters and mix well.

10. pour a little water and keep the lid closed until oysters are thoroughly cooked.
11. Now keep the lid open and let it dry out. stir occasionally to avoid oysters sticking to the pan.
12. When roasted well garnish with coriander leaves.

13. serve hot.

oyster chilli masala

Mussel/oyster fry

I used frozen (pre-cooked) oysters for this. But fresh ones are always good.


1. oysters or mussels- 500 gm
    Clean them thoroughly. Even if you buy pre-cooked ones u get that black mass in it. If you don't want to eat it  just squeeze them out
2. shallots- 4-5
3. green chillies- 2-3
4. turmeric powder- 1/2 teaspoon
5. Kashmiri chili powder- 1 teaspoon
6. crushed black pepper  - 1/2 teaspoon
7. salt - as per taste
8. Garam masala powder- 1?2 teaspoon
9. lime juice or vinegar- a little.
10. curry leaves-  a handful.
11.  fennel seeds- 1 teaspoon
12.  canola oil( or any oil)- 1/2 cup


1. mix well the masala powders and lime juice or vinegar.
2. add oysters to it and coat them well with the masala.
3. if you are using pre-cooked mussels marinate them for 1/2 hr or more.
4. If you use fresh ones after applying masala cook it in a pan with closed lid.
5. Now heat a bottom heavy pan. pour oil
6.  Let fennel seeds to pop in the oil. Add shallots, green chillies and curry leaves. stir fry
 7. Add cooked oysters and stir fry until they are browned well.

oyster fry


അക്ഷരപകര്‍ച്ചകള്‍. said...

I got another yummy food on my table.....that's the feeling i've right now. I never had a chance to have kallummakkai you know... anyways if I get some i'll try this defenitely. Maya, the most interesting part of this post is ur description on the woman who frequently brought you kallummakkai.... it took me to my childhood where there were so many these kind people who could be seen in only our " nanmayude gramam " children we all loved to watch them... their mannerism.... to imitate it in our own group memories....thousand memories at a time flowing to my mind....I luv ur post.... keep going with new new recepies....u have our full support & luv.

Maya Indira Banerji said...

thanku dear..4 ur encouraging words!!!