Malabar Special Kalmas, Popular street food from Kannur (Kerala)

Malabar Special Kalmas, Popular street food from Kannur (Kerala)

Malabar Special Kalmas is a spicy gluten free street food from Kannur District in Kerala. You will mostly find chicken stuffed Kalmas on the streets of Kannur. Here is a vegetarian version of the same.

The recipe credit for this recipe goes to the channel Kerala Samayal in Tamil. I have made some minor changes to suit my taste bud.

The entire southern india loves rice in any form. That’s the reason you will find rice as a key ingredient in most of the snacks too. This recipe can be considered oil free since it is ready to eat just when it is out of the steamer.

The last step of coating the Kalmas with Masala Paste and then tossing in a little oil lends a very vibrant color and a crisp outer skin to Kalmas truly taking them to a next level.

You can go creative with the stuffing for this recipe. Since traditionally chicken or beef is used for stuffing. You can use any vegetarian substitute like Mushroom, Soya chunks, Tofu, Paneer or any other item of your choice. The filling which I have presented is a simple and basic filling. And since I wanted to try out the similar recipe as presented in Channel Kerala Samayal in Tamil, I used the same basic stuffing.

This is very similar to Kozhukattai which is another traditional item from southern India. You may check the recipe here.


I have another recipe where the same shape for dumpling is used.


Please try this Malabar special Kalmas and let me know how it turned out.

Malabar Special Kalmas, Popular street food from Kannur (Kerala)

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Keralite, South Indian
Servings 6
Calories 158 kcal


Ingredients for the Stuffing

  • 1 tsp Sesame or Coconut oil. Coconut oil is predominantly used in all Kerala cuisine.
  • 1 tsp Chopped Green Chillies
  • 1 tsp Chopped Ginger
  • 1 sprig Curry Leaves
  • 1 nos Onion This should be equal to 1 cup of chopped onions.
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli powder Kashmiri Chilli powder is used when you need bright red color with less spice.
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Curry powder or Sabji Masala. You can even use Garam Masala. If using Garam Masala, please use only 1/4 tsp
  • ¼ cup Chopped coriander leaves
  • ½ piece Lime

Ingredients for the Dough

  • 1 cup Rice flour. You can even use Brown Rice flour for this recipe but this will make dark colored Kalmas.
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ cup Grated fresh coconut
  • 1 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • cup Boiling Water plus a few tablespoons extra since the quantity of water depends on the type of rice flour.

Ingredients for the Masala Coating

  • 2 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli powder. If you prefer more spice, you can add regular chilli powder 1 tsp and Kashmiri chilli powder 1 tsp
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Water or as required to make a thin paste.
  • 1 tbsp Sesame or Coconut Oil


Make the stuffing

  • Heat a Pan and add a tsp of oil.
  • Add curry leaves, chilli, ginger and onion.
  • Saute till onions turn translucent. Please don't overcook because onions should remain soft and juicy for this recipe.
  • Add all dry masalas.
  • Saute for 2 minutes and turn off the flame.
  • Add coriander and lime juice.
  • Stir and keep aside the stuffing to cool.

Make the Dough

  • Dry Roast rice flour till it just starts to change color. You can also use readymade Puttu flour, Pathiri Flour.Since they are pre roasted, you need not roast them. Roasting is required only when you are using plain rice flour.
  • Transfer the flour to a vessel.
  • Add Salt
  • Crush grated coconut and fennel coarsely and add to rice. You can also add 1/4 of an onion along with coconut and fennel. This is optional.
  • Add boiling water and first stir with a spoon to mix everything together.
  • When the dough feels ok to touch, you can knead with your hands to form a smooth dough. Else, continue with a spoon to make a dough.

How to Make Kalmas

  • Apply some oil to your palms.
  • Take a lemon sized dough ball or may be slightly bigger.
  • flatten it to have a disk of about 2 mm thick.Fill 2 tsp of stuffing inside.
  • Seal the edges and form an oval shaped dumpling.
  • Arrange prepared dumplings on a greased steamer plate.
  • Cover and Steam for 15 minutes.
  • After steaming, you can eat these steamed Kalmas as it is too.

Coat with Masala

  • take all ingredients of masala and make a paste using water.
  • Gently roll steamed Kalmas in the masala paste to coat all sides evenly. Please do this step when Kalmas are still hot else they will turn hard and the coating may not stick properly.
  • Heat a pan and add about a tbsp of Sesame or Coconut oil.
  • Drop coated Kalmas in oil and gently toss for a few minutes cooking on all sides. Please saute only for a few minutes since we only need to cook the masala paste. Over cooking may make Kalmas hard.
  • Serve this popular street snack with a hot cup of Tea,


The standard cup of 240 ML has been used here.
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Nutrition Facts

6 servings per container

  • Amount Per ServingCalories158
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 5.38g 9%
    • Saturated Fat 1.62g 9%
  • Sodium 588.62mg 25%
  • Potassium 118.28mg 4%
  • Total Carbohydrate 25.56g 9%
    • Dietary Fiber 2.19g 9%
    • Sugars 1.48g
  • Protein 2.28g 5%

  • Vitamin A 2%
  • Vitamin C 4%
  • Calcium 2%
  • Iron 6%
  • Magnesium 5%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.