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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Yummy Dum Arabi/ Taro Root Curry

The taro root, as with other tubers, is recognized by other names. This tuber is also known as the dasheen, eddo and kalo in many areas of the world including West Africa, Asia, Central America, South America and the Caribbean and Polynesian islands. This root is most well-known as the ingredient of the Hawaiian dish poi, which is mashed taro root. In India it is known as Arabi. The roots are starchy and generally treated like potato. These tubers take on a nut-like flavor when cooked. Frying, baking, roasting, boiling, or steaming them as an accompaniment to meat dishes are all common uses. Soups and stews are other dishes that taro root suits well. Taro may be pounded into a thick grey paste and used to thicken other dishes in Asian cooking. Taro roots provide a good source of fiber and supply approximately 110 Calories per adult serving. Select tubers that are firm and hairy, with no wrinkling. Store the roots for up to one week in a cool and dry location, making sure that the roots do not dry out.  I always make Dum Aloo which  belongs to North Indian or more specifically Kashmiri cuisine.  This time I decided to make Dum Arabi or Taro root. I cut the each taro root tuber, in half and then rounded the corner to make small round shape. Boiled it slightly in pressure cooker (can do it in microwave with water) and then deep fried, then cooked it slowly at low flame in yogurt based gravy with Indian spices. Believe it or not I learned how to make Dum aloo from my mom, when I was 12 years old. My mom did not like to make it with very rich gravy/sauce, so she omitted cashews, poppy seeds and whipping cream, which was fine. However, if you want to give it some extra richness like they serve it in restaurants, you can add these ingredients (therefore I have marked them optional).
I followed the same recipe to make Dum Arabi.. I loved it. This recipes yields ~ 6-8  serving.

• 7  tubers of Taro root. I cut each tuber in half and  peeled /carved it to some what small round shape. This giving me about 14 round pieces of taro root.
* 1 16 oz bag of frozen peas (you can use bag of edamame instead)
• Oil for frying Taro root
For gravy/sauce
• 1/2 can of crushed tomatoes (1/2 of 20 oz can)
• 1 medium sized red onion cut in four
• 2 yellow onions cut in four
• 1/4 cup roasted cashew paste (optional)
• 1 teaspoon roasted poppy seeds (optional)
• 1 two inch piece of fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon of ginger paste
• 8-10 cloves of garlic
• 2 green chilies (Serrano peppers or Jalapenos)
• 2 tablespoon of lemon/lime juice
• 2 cups of plain yogurt (1 16 oz container of Dannon plain yogurt would do)
* 1 cup of fat free sour cream
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil (or ghee)
• 1 tbl spoon  of cumin seeds
• 2 dried red long chilies pods  or  3 round dry red chili pods
• ½ teaspoon peppercorns
• 2 small cinnamon sticks
• 2 black cardamom pods
• 2-3 bay leaves
• 1/3 teaspoon Asefoetida powder (caution very pungent)
• 3 tbl spoon of  coriander powder*
• 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder*
• 1 teaspoon garam masala (or all spice)*
• 1 table spoon of paprika powder*
• 1 tsp of turmeric powder•
• 2  tsp of cumin powder•
• 1 tsp of coarsly ground  black pepper*
• Salt to taste*
• 2  cups of   water
•  2 tbls spoon of mango powder
• ½ cup whipping cream (optional)
• ¼ cup finely chopped coriander for garnish


Step 1 prepare Taro root and peas:

• Cut each tuber in half, peel the hairy skin off  of the root,  then peel the edges off to give each peeled piece round shape (I save the edges and added it to onions with food processor to give thickness to gravy)
• Boil the tuber in water in microwave or you can pressure cook them, do not boil to very tender texture but slightly so they will be tender after frying.
• Drain all the water from boiled roots 
• Pat dry the roots on a cloth.
• Heat the oil for frying in fryer or deep frying pan.
• Deep fry the boiled tubers until golden brown.
• Drain the oil by placing the tubers on newspaper stack with top layer of paper towel so the ink does not get on potatoes at the same time the oil is nicely soaked by newspaper. Set aside.
* Empty the frozen peas on to silicon steamer, sprinkle little water over them and microwave steam it for 5 min on high power. Set aside.
Step 2 prepare the garlic onions and chilies for gravy/sauce
• In a food processor finely chop onion, taro root shaving, garlic, and green chilies. Set aside.
• (if using cashews and poppy seeds follow this step otherwise omit it)  In a small grinder or food processor make paste of roasted cashews and poppy seeds to find consistency. Set aside.

Step 3 prepare sauce/gravy:

• Mix all the powdered spices marked with * in plain yogurt.
• Heat the measured ghee or oil in a wok or deep sauce pan.
• When the oil is hot, add cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, pepper cors, cardamom pods and red chili pods.
• When the cumin seeds crackle add asefetida and immediately followed by onion/ garlic paste.
• Turn the heat down to medium and saute onion paste in for 3-4 min or until golden brown.
• Add roasted cashew/poppy seeds paste, saute for 1 min. (you can roast raw cashew and poppy seeds on a skillet before grinding them)
• Add ginger and crush tomatoes, cook for 1 min.
• Add the yogurt mixed with all dry spices.
• Mix well and Cook for 5 min.
• Add the fried tubers and fold in the steamed peas and  water and stir over a low heat for 10 minutes or to desired consistency of gravy.
* Add mango powder last.
• Lastly add whipping cream and mix well, take it off the stove.
• Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.
Serve hot with Naan, Chapati or over white Basmati Rice.

Taro root description source:
Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.

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