Toddy Tales

Recipe : Homemade Toddy from Coconut Water

The malayalam word for "shop" is "kada".

But in Kerala, a toddy shop is always called "kallu shaap" and not "kallu kada".

I wonder why.

A kallu shaap is usually a dirty, dingy hut and not a welcome place for a woman. Though these days there are a few family kallu shaaps where you can sit down with the whole family and drink kallu (toddy) and enjoy wonderful spicy local food.

However, anything in excess is bad for health, especially addictive things like alcohol. Sadly, many lives are ruined due to alcohol addiction. 

 A few years back, we had visited a family kallu shaap in Kumarakom R block.

That was the first time that I tasted kallu. It looked cloudy and tasted sour and slightly sweet with a little gas. It had an almost pungent sour smell.

The taste was one of a kind. The smell does need a little getting used to.

The other day while I was going about some mundane activity, the idea struck me - why not make toddy by fermenting coconut water.

When I checked with mom, she said that she had already tried it before and it works.

It was really easy but we need to keep checking every day. It took about 4 days of fermenting to obtain a mild form of toddy. Here's how you make it at home.

Recipe source: Mom


Coconut water from one coconut - You can also use tender coconut water. In that case, you might need very less sugar or sometimes none at all esp if the the tender coconut water is v sweet

Sugar - I used 2 tsp of sugar for 1/2 cup of coconut water (I didn't use tender coconut water)

Optionally you can use 1 or 2 grains of yeast to quicken the fermentation (I didn't use it)


Check the sweetness of coconut water (or tender coconut water). If the coconut water is not very sweet, mix sugar to it and keep it in a warm place preferably near the stove. Keep checking every day. It took 4 days for me.

If you want toddy in a day, then add 1 or 2 grains of yeast right away and keep it in a warm place. Toddy will form in 24 hours.

Additional tips:
 1. After 3 days if the coconut water is still very sweet and there is no fermented smell then put 1 or 2 grains of yeast, mix well and keep it back in the warm place for another day. It will quicken the fermentation process and you will get good toddy in another day. I didn't add any yeast as mine had a light fermented smell in 2 days and even had a slight sour taste.

2. Temperature plays a big role. In warmer climates, toddy will form faster. Though it took 4 days for toddy to form without any added yeast when kept near my stove. I must mention that it is very cold in my kitchen in Bangalore, esp in the late afternoons and night times when there is not much cooking happening.

3. The end product will look cloudy and taste sour and slightly sweet and effervescent. In fact when you pour it, it will foam up almost like sparkling water.

4. After toddy is formed, it needs to be used or refrigerated immediately else it will turn into vinegar.
Toddy is used to ferment rice batter for making appams and vattayappams.


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All the dishes posted in this blog have been cooked by me. Some of the recipes are mine and some of them adapted / borrowed in which case, the link to the original source is provided.

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