STUFFED MUSSELS/ARIKADUKKA/KALLUMAKAI

Kallumakai /Arikadukka /Stuffed Mussels

Each day as I drove back from work, the Korean market along the way seemed to cast some spell on me, the crabs, the mussels, the prawns & the sea fish seemed to sit by the window sill & wink at me…..armored with determination with only one goal in mind, I entered the store last evening, my mantra ‘Mussels & Mussels only!’ so saying I remember walking in, then there were the distractors all along the crab, the sea fish,the lobsters & the prawns and the clams that almost seemed to chuckle…. half an hour later I stepped out smelling like a fisherwoman with her basket full, yet a content smile played on my lips thinking of the joys that might be.It was the weekend, last night I was too tired to experiment with food, somehow thru’ sign language had managed to ask the fish vendor if the mussels would stay intact overnight, he in his Korean, me in English somehow managed to keep the clam alive overnight smile emoticon
This morning determined to cook one of my all time favorite food from the Malabar coast, a speciality food of northern Kerala,humming a familiar tune, I let the mussels open up in hot boiling water, then began the arduous work of making Kalumakkai/Arikadduka/Stuffed mussels the authentic way, you’d never guess how many blessings I sent towards the moms & grand moms of my dear friends who religiously made it for us & sent them with their kids for us to savor in our hostel/dormitories.Memories flooded by,some of us would wait in the train station for our friends from northern Kerala to arrive after their weekly break ( their homes being a stone’s throw away , from the state we went to school in, they’d board the train home at the drop of a hat, we in turn had to wait for the real breaks wink emoticon )…needless to say their Mom’s always packed goodies for all of us in the hostel.When the food arrived , there would be a holy silence, all of us would gather in one of our rooms, eat till our hearts content( many of us missed going to the mess/cafeteria for a few days when good food arrived) and only then laughter would be heard, such was our dedication to this authentic dish. While I stuffed each mussel this morning, I sent a secret prayer heavenward to all the moms who made it for us so lovingly each time, and if I remember right, none of us stopped with eating, just one or two smile emoticon
This recipe was on my “To- Do list” since ages, never mustered the guts to try it , until last evening when the craving took over, then there was no stopping grin emoticon grin emoticon
Enjoy your Stuffed mussels/Arikadukka over the weekend, it is spicy & yummy, one could use an yogurt dip or alternate with greens like lettuce to calm your fiery senses smile emoticon,for those of us who love spicy food, I suggest sit by the windowsill when its raining hard, play with your best thoughts & munch away your Arikadukka, that is the closest thing to heaven on earth , you can come up with on a rainy day, or pack it for a picnic as a snack, either way a win win !
Note:
1. It is a laborious procedure, so do not undertake when you are hungry, short on time or have kids running around, just the stress of remembering the steps will tire you smile emoticon
2.When you drop the mussels into hot oil, sometimes they show their love by opening up wide, so please do not stand with your face over the oil pan while you are cooking grin emoticon
3.When you pack the stuffing make sure you tuck in the mussels, within the stuffing & not along the outer shell, simply to avoid the yummy mussel slipping out of the stuffing.
4.Do not be health conscious about fried food , just for this one day, after all you have worked hard to get it right, you MUST not stop with just two .

Ingredients:
For the stuffing:
1.Mussels – 20-25
2.Rice powder- 2 cups
3.Fresh grated coconut- 1/2 cup
4.Green chillies- 5-6
5.Fennel seeds- 2 tbsp
6.Onion- 1 large
7.Garlic- 3 cloves
8.Ginger- 1/2 ‘
9.Salt – to taste ( go easy on the salt, coz the mussels being a part of the sea, already are salty )

For the Batter:
1.Chili powder- 2 tbsp
2.Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
3.Salt- to taste
4.Water- 3-4 tbsp

For deep or shallow frying:
1-Oil- 1/2 cup ( for deep fry)

Stuffed Mussels/Kalumakkai/ Arikadukka
Stuffed Mussels/Kalumakkai/ Arikadukka

Method:
1.Soak the fresh mussels in a bowl of water & clean them thoroughly, a few times under running water.The outer shells can be cleaned with a brush too.At this time, the shell needs to be cleaned of any debris or deposit, along with peeling of the little sticky beard along the outer shell of the mussel. Please discard any mussel that is already opened, since this indicates a dead one & is not to be cooked.
2. Next boil the mussels in a large bowl of water, making sure all of them are immersed completely.
3.Meanwhile prepare the stuffing & keep it ready, to stuff into the opened shells of the mussels once they have cooled down a little.
3.The stuffing is prepared in two steps- a.Boil 2 cups of water & then to this gently mix the rice powder , stirring occasionally,along with salt to taste, so it is a uniform thick mix & is not runny.Remove from stove & keep it aside.
b.Make a fine paste of the onions, green chillies, fennel seeds, coconut, garlic, ginger & set aside.
c. Now mix the blended paste along with rice powder & keep it ready for stuffing into the opened mussels.
4.Once the shells of the mussels have cooled down, stuff the mussels with rice paste mix , making sure the shells are still intact around the stuffing.
5.Then steam it , in batches of 10-12 , for 15 minutes until the mussels are well cooked within the rice stuffings.
6.Now gently remove from heat & sit it, to cool. when cooled you can gently peel the shell off the stuffing.
7.Next in a deep bowl, prepare the batter, for the outer cover, coat each stuffed mussel with the batter mix & gently drop it in hot oil & deep fry or shallow fry as per your desire.
8.Enjoy your yummy, stuffed mussels or Arikadukka, with a yogurt dip…..I will bet the taste & the memory will linger much after the last Arikadukka is done & the effort totally worth it !

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