Arbi, also called arvi or taro root, is cooked across various cultures and continents but this recipe for making arvi is unique to India. When I was a kid, I loved the cousin of arbi called, kachaloo which is also related to the potatoes. “Aloo” in “Kachaloo” means potato. So from this, I can infer that taro root and potato are related. That would explain the taro root fries served in the London restaurants. I digress!
Kid-version of me loved kachaloo which is prepared by boiling it and then mixing it with the tamarind (imli) chutney and spices. But I wasn’t too fond of arbi. But now that I am an adult (I think!), I love arbi and can eat this dish every day. Kids are weird, aren’t they?
My mom developed this particular recipe for making arvi after lots of experimentation and I can vouch that this is one of the best recipes for making arbi that you will come across. Go on, get your taro on!
- 500 gram Arbi (Arvi) Taro root
- 2 onions medium size (2-3 inches in diameter), peeled and sliced thinly, length wise
- 1 inch ginger peeled and sliced thinly, length-wise
- 2 dried red chillies
- 15-20 curry leaves fresh or frozen
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp ajwain carom seeds
- 1.5 tsp rayee can use mustard seeds if rayee not available
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tbsp mustard oil smoked
- 2 tbsp tamarind pulp
- Handful fresh coriander leaves chopped
- Salt to taste
- Wash the arbi in lots of water. Make sure that there is no dirt left.
- Set a pan full of water (enough that arbi is submerged) on heat and bring it to boil. Add arbi to it and cook for 15-20 minutes.
- To test whether arbi is cooked, try to slice a piece of arbi and if the knife goes through easily then the arbi is cooked. Take it off the heat and drain the excess water.
- Once the arbi has cooled down, peel it and slice it in round pieces about 1 cm thick. Set it aside.
Making Tamarind Water
- Add 1/4 cup of water and tamarind pulp to a pan and bring it to boil. Cook it for 3-4 minutes.
- Once the mix cools downs, remove the tamarind pulp by squeezing all the juice from it. Set the tamarind water (juice) aside.
Making Arbi Masala
- Set a wok on high heat and add 1 tbsp oil. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced onions and ginger.
- Sauté onions and ginger until lightly browned and translucent. Remove the mix and set aside.
- Add the remaining oil to the same wok. Once the oil is hot, add dry red chillies and then curry leaves.
- Immediately afterwards add rye, carom seeds, coriander powder and garam masala. Cover the wok to prevent the rayee seeds from popping out of the pan.
- Few seconds after rye seeds start to sputter, then add the sautéd onion&ginger mix.
- Tilt the wok slightly and push aside the mix to one side so that oil pools on one side of the pan. In the pooled oil, add the turmeric and red chilli powder. Cook the turmeric & chilli mix for 5-6 seconds and then mix it in.
- Add the boiled arbi and salt to the wok.
- Mix well and cook on high heat for 3-4 minutes. Stir to make sure that arbi doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Turn off the heat.
- Just before serving, mix in the chopped coriander leaves and tamarind water.