Taro is a tropical plant that has a botanical name of Colocasia esculenta primarily grown for its edible corms. Taro is a staple food in African, Oceanic, and South Asian Cultures.
Taro root is called “Seppankizhangu” or “chempu” in Tamil and “Arvi” in Hindi. Taro can come in different sizes. The smaller corms are usually round or a bit elongated. The outer skin is dark brown and has small fuzzy hair kind of growth. Once peeled, they are white in color. After peeling, you can feel sticky and at the same time slimy on your palms and knives. Peeled corms also have a slimy texture.
Taro root can be prepared in a variety of ways. They can be deep fried or made into side dishes such as the one I have mentioned below or with spices, onion and tomato. Today I have prepared it as a spicy dry curry with mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
- ¾ lb (12oz) Seppankizhangu/taro root
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
- Few curry leaves
- 1 large shallot chopped into small pieces
- 2-3 dried red chili broken into small pieces
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds (optional)
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Peel and wash the corms and cut each into 2 pieces
- Add the cut pieces to a large saucepan and add water until it covers all the taro pieces
- Add salt and turmeric powder and boil uncovered until it’s soft and not mushy
- Drain and set aside to cool. Once cooled, cut each piece into about ½ inch cubes
- Add oil to a skillet and add mustard seeds. Once mustard seed start spluttering add curry leaves and fry for a minute
- Add chopped onion and fry until golden. Now add cumin seeds and dried red chili and fry for another minute
- Add chopped taro root to the skillet. Add chili powder, black pepper and mix well. Add little water at a time – about 1 tablespoon and cover and cook on low flame for about 5-7 minutes stirring frequently. This will ensure chili powder gets cooked and the spices are absorbed by the taro.
- This goes well with Chappati, roti, naan bread
- Yields: 3 servings as a side dish