Sukhi Arbi (Spiced Stir-Fried Taro Roots) is a popular everyday Indian comfort food. It’s definitely not a camera-friendly dish and can quite easily fall in the category of David Chang’s ugly delicious. But, it sure is very hearty and a favorite to many of us.
I remember when Arvind first time bought these roots, he mentioned how much he loves it and asked me to prepare it. We were newly married at that time. My expression was not pleasant and that odd-looking ugly brown tuber intimidated me. I didn’t grow up eating Arbi (Colocasia/Taro roots). So, I called my mother-in-law who gave me the instructions over the phone. I don’t know what I was doing wrong but every single time, the dish would turn out looking ugly black. Absolute appetite killer! Urgh!! I finally gave up trying.
When we moved back to India for a couple of years, I saw my Mother-in-law prepare it. The dish turned out so tasty that I went for second servings. I still don’t know what I was doing wrong earlier but since that day, I started to prepare it right. It turns out golden, crusty, coated with balanced portion of spices and always tasty!
- There are more than a hundred varieties of taro roots and it can be used for both sweet and savory dishes.
- It is very starchy which also makes it very high in calories.
- Don’t store it in the refrigerator; instead store it outside in a brown bag or in your potato basket.
- NEVER eat taro raw as the oxalic acid will cause irritation in your throat. It should be consumed only after it is cooked.
Few Key Points about Sukhi Arbi (Spiced Stir-Fried Taro Roots)
- Pick the small variety of taro roots for this dish.
- You have to boil the roots separately with the skin on and just until it’s soft but not mushy.
- Try cooking on a cast iron pan when you stir fry the boiled roots. It helps in creating a lovely golden spice crust.
- It is best served warm and immediately after cooking. Reheating in microwave kind of takes away the outer crunchy texture of the taro bites.
- ½ lb. small variety Colocasia/Taro roots
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 dry red chili
- ½ teaspoon carom seeds
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon dry mango powder
- Fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped for garnish
- Wash the taro roots, drop it in a pan full of water and bring the water to a boil. Then, lower the heat and simmer until the roots are boiled but still hold shape. You could also steam it or use a pressure cooker to boil it.
- Once the boiled taro roots are cooled down, peel the skin off. It will be very slimy at this point. Cut in into chunky bite size pieces.
- Place a skillet on medium heat and pour the oil. When the oil heats up, drop the dry red chili and scatter the carom seeds. Let it sizzle and then, drop the sliced onion followed by salt and turmeric. Sauté for 2 minutes or until the onions are softened.
- Layer the boiled sliced taro roots, sprinkle cumin powder, coriander powder and chili powder. Toss and turn gently to coat the spice. Don’t rush on this step as it will break the slices, making it mushy.
- Let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes and then, toss once again. It will take about 5 to 7 minutes for the spices to coat and create the golden crust. Check salt and add any, if needed.
- Finally, sprinkle the raw mango powder and give it another toss.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve warm.
The cooking time will depend on the method you use to boil the taro roots and also on the shape and variety of the roots used.