We recently discovered an Indian grocery store very close to H's workplace. We've been living in this part of the world for almost 2 years now and H has been at the same office too for the same length of time, yet we had no idea that a store like this even existed! I was very happy to see a few vegetables here that I haven’t been seeing in the stores we normally go to. I bought a few taro root tubers from this place the other day.
Growing up, I don’t really remember my mother ever buying/cooking taro root (arbi in Hindi, chembu in Malayalam). I do however remember eating some kind of a sabji made with it by T maushi (aunty). T maushi was a lovely Maharashtrian lady who took good care of our family and cooked many a meal for us a long time back when my mother couldn't do much around the house since she was still recovering after a major surgery. T maushi was an excellent cook and made very simple, yet tasty Maharashtrian fare in no time at all. The arbi sabji, one of her signature preparations, was something I just loved. Since then, every time I’ve seen arbi, I’ve always associated it with T maushi.
This particular recipe that I followed is not T maushi’s, but just something I came across on Shyamala’s blog. It sounded really good and I wanted to try it out.
I have only listed the ingredients I used. You can find the original recipe along with the exact amounts of the ingredients used here.
7-8 big taro tubers (arbi/chembu)
3-4 tbsp oil
For the spice mix:
3 Tbsp chickpea flour (besan)
2 Tbsp rice flour
Red chilli powder
Cook and peel the taro tubers. Slice into 1/4-inch thick rounds.
In a large vessel, add the flours and the spices. Mix well.
Throw in the taro root rounds and coat with the dry spice mix. Dust off the excess.
In a large pan, heat oil. Add cumin seeds followed by asafoetida and garlic powder.
Place the spice-coated rounds in the pan and shallow-fry. Cook till a nice crust is formed and the rounds are crispy and golden brown on one side (takes about 4-5 minutes), and then flip over and cook the other side similarly.
Serve hot. This tastes great as a side dish with some steaming hot rice and sambar or rasam.