Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Arvi Curry: Taro root cooked in a desi style

Arvi is taro root. Since I have been doing South Asian cooking, I have eaten many vegetables that are very exotic for me. These vegetables have been very exciting to discover and add to my repertoire of things I cook and eat. Arvi is one of them. Arvi is similar to a potato in taste and texture, but still different. Like potatoes, arvi soaks up gravy flavors very well. You can find the furry little guys at your local desi or East Asian grocer. Choose small, evenly round firm ones. To prepare:
3-4 arvi, peeled and split in half
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 dried red chilies
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1tsp Shan Curry Powder
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup water
1 tsp or so salt to taste
2-3 tbs oil
1 tbs cilantro chopped
1-2 fresh green chilies chopped
Heat oil in wok (wok must have a cover) or deep pot (that has a lid), when the oil is very hot, add in cumin seeds and red chilies. Allow to sizzle, toss in garlic and ginger. Cook until golden, a bit less than one minute. Do not burn. When garlic/ginger start to color, toss in turmeric and chili powder, stir and allow to sizzle. Then add in tomatoes, stir and let tomatoes "melt" by stirring on high heat to allow the water to evaporate from them. Add salt at this point. After about 5 minutes, add in the arvi halves, stir to coat with the gravy. Add in the water and Shan Curry Powder. Bring to a boil, then cover and lower heat. Cook until arvi are tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Garnish with chopped cilantro and fresh green chilies and serve with chappatis or plain basmati rice.

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