June 20, 2007

Kadukka Nirachathu (Arikadukka) /Stuffed Mussels

So most of you familiar with Malabar cuisine have already guessed correctly what the kadukka or kallumakai or mussels ended up as..It is Kadukka Nirachathu or Arikadukka as some call it is a very popular snack in the Malabar region.

Arikadukka are Mussels stuffed with a mixture of ground raw rice paste, shallots and spices and then steamed and fried with the shell on. This is a much sought after item on the "salkaram"(party) as well as Ramadan menu. Some separate the mussels after steaming and then dip then in a batter of rice flour and spices and then fry then but we prefer to fry the mussels with the shell intact. It adds to the fun of peeling and eating them as if they were pistas or groundnuts and inhibits the wary guests.
These beauties are from Kerala..

The name itself conjures up the image of large batches of the delicacy being made by my mom and my aunts all sitting in the open kitchen facing the backyard. from making the filling to cleaning the mussels to frying then, this is definitely a group activity made easier by all the gossip and laughter that flies around.
Mostly made at home, I think it is now available in some speciality restaurants such as Zains in Calicut. (This time, my parents got some Kadukka nirachathu all the way from home and they served as a much needed shot of nostalgic taste.)

Kadukka or mussels are easily available in Northern Kerala and is used in a multitude of recipes...curries with plantains, mangoes, fried, and made into spicy gravies. But the taste and texture of mussels is showcased wonderfully best in this delicacy. In Kozhikode, we get our yummy kadukkas from south beach (near Thangals Road..Rs.60 for 100) but recently my folks say the best kadukkas are from Telicherry coast. Since tasting that is now left for my next visit home, I stand by the Kozhikode ones for now.
The mussels should not be too small or too big and should be raw and fresh, not frozen and not refrigerated. The ones you get in Kerala are long and narrow with blue green shell, while the ones here are a little short and squarish. I have made it with the ones available here too, but they are not as meaty and their shells are very delicate. Still the rice filling gives it its distinctive taste and its good.

A bit of warning..
The following post contains graphic images not suited to vegetarians and those weak of heart. For the true followers, its not easy to explain the method without graphics so if any of you are put off by the sight of mussels, just bear with me.
Also, if you don't have to guts to play with raw mussels, don't attempt to make this. Though fish makes me queasy, I have no qualms about mussels and the anticipation of the yummy snack makes it all worthwhile. And last but not the least, the process is a labour of love and requires at least an hour of your valuable time and concentration. If you have company to help you, all the better.
Don't attempt this on a day when you are out to prove a point or spoiling for a fight.:) It is bound to go wrong then. And use only parboiled rice, not basmati or any rice you find at home. It will not solidify and will be sticky inside and would absorb a lot of oil while frying.

When made properly, the kadukka can be removed completely from the shell and served.

The first recipe is using rice flour instead of ground rice, keeping the difficulty of grinding rice in mind. Use coarse rice flour, such as Puttu Podi.

You Will Need:

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 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.) 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.
3. 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.

4. 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.

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

6. 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.

These mussels are are from here..

7. Heat enough oil in a cast iron wok (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.
If made the previous day, they can be reheated in a microwave for a minute or less.

Traditional Filling:

Parboiled Rice-2 cups soaked in boiling water for at least 3 hours and then drained. Grind the rice to a paste adding all the other ingredients as before(except the fried onions)but without adding water. This is not easy as you need a wide base grinder equipped to handle heavy duty grinding without water. An electric grinder or a Sumeet or Preethi food processor should be fine.
Then add the onions, spices and salt and proceed as above.


Mishmash ! said...

I have seen lots of small posters and restaurants advts , while passing Calicut, with this item on their menu and my mother is a great fan of this, i guess she tasted it from somewhere...but we were always too busy to stop by and have all this....:(


Seena said...

I would get arikkadukka from the kannur, Calicut friends..Really appreiciate their patience to make such tasty dishes.
Yours pictures are looking nice..Thanks for posting the recipe.Don't know will it be a success if I make first time without seeing the art of making it originally..

sra said...

Wow! How did your parents bring them all the way? Mallugirl, your posts don't seem to show up on the day they're posted - perhaps you're posting them with an older date?

Anita said...

I want to so got to Kerala right now! Are they in plenty during the monsoons too? Do they serve this in non-five-star restaurants?

Bharathy said...

Ok..I Was wrong with my guess..But my following guesses are def right..
1.A pat on Umma's back for bringing the much patently done food,packed all the way from India!!!(she wuld have had a tuff time securing it in the checked baggage as it wont be allowed in the cabin baggge)
2.DEF a better cook than her daughter..
3.Once she is back to India,I am gonna equip her with all the technolgcal parts of blogging and make her start one for her own(any form of plagiarism will be immediately noted to Inji):)
4.3 months to forward and she will be topping the "blog top site" with her daughter trailing behind :D...
:D :D :D

Anonymous said...

Shaheen, I sent you an email. Have been a chickenatarian all this long, now tried shrimp, your mussels recipes makes me what to try that as well...

Anonymous said...

can only sit n drool over ur arikadukka. we do get mussles here, but it has a funny taste,so not worth the effort.
convey my rgds to aunty n uncle.

Mallugirl said...

Shn:maybe next time u go home, u should take a trip just for this.:)

Seena: Try it.. its not too hard ..u know how to make pathiri.. this should be a breeze compared to that.

Sra:I have no clue to why they get posted late.. maybe coz i start writing and save as a draft earlier. heh heh.. i don't want to divulge any info pon how they got it.:)

Anita:Are u kidding me? non 5 star is the way to eat in calicut.. if u ever go there, i will give u a list of places to visit.

Bharathy:I am my mom's agent and representative so my site is akin to her and my MIL's site.:)
let me see ur mom.. have some tough talking to do to her.

anon, do try and let me know.

ki, conveyed regards.. we were talking abt u..reading some news local to ur area..hope u are fine..

Viji said...


Bharathy said...

No way! :)...Send her back,I need her!!Will take care of the rest!:)...ur MIL??oh ya..I will route her out thru UMMA..:)
Fine recipe!!..have never heard of this...
Beutiful pics!!(well,that credit goes to you..100%);)

Jyothsna said...

It look interesting!! What more could you ask from your parents?? :)

babli said...

wwoww... i don't even remember the last time i had this "most amazing interesting wonderful yummy Kadukka". I was in love with it, the first time I had this. And never even bothered to find out the intricate method of preparing this.
Thanks for posting out the recipe. Well, dont know if i would ever make this myself. But, would love to try it out one day when i have so much free time :)
Hope you are having fun with your mom!

Sig said...

omg, that looks exotic.... I haven't seen these in Kerala... will be trying these for sure... thanks for the step-by-step pics.

deena said...

hi..tho i've visited ur blog earlier before i decided one on my own ,i dont think i've ever commented on any of ur posts 'cos i dint know the gen ethics of blogging..this arikadukka is soooo yumm i had to comment on it..what an explanation.!!& that warning was also good & right..tho my mom makes it i personally have tried it..its simply amazing!!

Linda said...

Hi S, I came in here looking for an older recipe of yours, something about snake gourd I think but honestly, after seeing this, I forgot which one. I haven't been eating much of anything but veggies for some time. This recipe however, makes me think twice... :)

The photos are gorgeous and I'm sure the dish is out-of-this-world. Thanks for the lovely post!

Inji Pennu said...

thank you soooo much shaheen. i was on the look out for this recipe. thank you so much!

Mallugirl said...

THanks for all your comments..
VIji, the first photo are those made by my mom and the others, we made it together here.
Jyothsana, yup.. to sit back and eat is fun, right?

Babli, can u send me ur no again.. i can't find it in my ol mails..please..

SIg, do try.. its not too hard... and ur mom is there for support.

Deena, thanks.

linda, so sweet.. hope u make it soon.
Inji, make it and let me know..if u find the time..hi hi.

indosungod said...

I have never ventured to cook Mussels but love eating them. The stuffed Mussels look amazing and tasty I bet.

Vaava said...

Gr8 we were searching for kadukka niracha reipe for long time.I came to know about such a dish when my husband told me.luckily we found u blog.Thank you very much

rrm said...

hey mallu girl,
i am a frequent visitor to u r eblog............i am from calicut tooooooooo andloveall the lovely muslim food........ohhhhhhh esp zainu thattha s erachi pathiri and prawn biriyani., bombay hotel s mutton biriyani.........hmmmmmmm.........i ve tried u re biriyani recipes......instead of mutton ,i made the same with beef and it was so yummy.the chicken stew didnt come out that good though .,must b something i did or didnt do..........anyhow,great blog.......

lena said...

hi shaheen ,
if i am shallow frying them can i keep the shells on? in that case i will b able to fry only one side.. is that enough? or shud i remove the shells all together and fry all sides.. lemme know..im going to make it for a get together of mallu friends in USA

mallugirl said...

lena, if u have already steamed them , then remove the shells and fry..shallow fry might not be enough.. it doesn't require a lot of oil to fry.. just enough to cover it and then u can move it from side to side.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for bringing a little piece of Calicut wrapped in shells. Made it this afternoon- perfect for a hung-over Saturday. The recipe was perfect and tasted just like how it should be. My girlfriend, who has never had anything like this before, absolutely loved it. I couldn't open the mussels to stuff them , so steam cooked them for two or three minutes-works a treat!
Thank you

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Sorry for offtopic

Anonymous said...

wel... u'l get nice arikadukkas in ZAINS, near the Calicut... Not just the arikadukkas... chattipathiri,ari pathiri, neychoor and chicken stew... and all other kozhikode delicacies....

Shabs.. said...

i BOUGHT SOME KADUKKAS today hoping to make this...we make similar way, but dont add curry leaves, chillies and turmeric.....This time whne i went to india, i saw my inlaws adding ginger as well along with curry eaves....dint know that this could not be refrigerated...i have to take it out and start pani now then:(...Thanks for the tip da...I will try it with puttu podi this time...was thinking of grinding rice and making....the thought itself made me lazy and thought i will freze it...

Saf.. said...

I actually was craving for this n my frnd send me this recipe....with NO exaggeration...this is one of the best recipe i tried...it came really yummy n makes me crave for more..

Ingalellarum onnu try chethu nokki!!!

Anonymous said...

this looks awesome!!...I have a small doubt..do we need to boil mussels for cleaning?pls reply..i bought some today and confused with the cleaning process..