A traditional dish, chembu asthram or taro root curry was common to every household in the past. However, over time, the recipe has slowly started to fade away. An excellent source of dietary fiber and good carbohydrates, taro root curry pairs well with kanji (rice porridge).
So, here's my attempt to bring this recipe from the past to the present...
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
- 300 gms Chembu (Taro Root)
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 2 green chillies
- 450 ml water
- 3 tbsp red tamarind (pizhupuli syrup)
- 1 sprig curry leaf
- Salt to taste
- 100 gms coconut, grated
- ½ tsp cumin (jeera)
- 1 green chilli
- 3 shallots
- 50 ml water
- 2 shallots, chopped
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- 2-3 dry red chillies
- 1 sprig curry leaf
- 2 tsp coconut oil
Step 1: Peel the skin of the taro roots and wash them thoroughly. Cut them into one-inch size cubes (as shown in picture)
Step 2: Put the cleaned taro root in a manchatti or earthen pot. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, slit green chillies and water. Cook this for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 3: Grind the desiccated coconut in water along with cumin (jeera), shallots and green chilli, to a fine paste. Add salt to taste.
Step 4: Once the taro root pieces are cooked, add the ground coconut paste and mix it well. Add one sprig of curry leaf. Cook for few minutes.
Step 5: Add tamarind syrup and cook for another one minute. As it gets cooked, swirl the manchatti once or twice to evenly mix the tamarind syrup and coconut paste. Turn the flame off.
Step 6: Finally, for tempering, heat coconut oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds and allow to splutter. Fry the chopped shallots and the dry red chillies until it turns light brown. Add a sprig of curry leaf and sauté it till the shallots become golden brown. Pour this on top of the curry and close the manchatti with its lid for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with steamed rice or kanji (rice porridge)
Step 7: Pour this on top of the curry and close the manchatti with its lid for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with steamed rice or kanji (rice porridge)
Note: In place of an earthen pot, you can also use a thick pan.