Last week I got a mail from one of my readers, she is from Thiruvanthapuram, Kerala in South India. I born and brought up in that place. She wrote to me saying that I am preserving record of Thiruvanthapuram cuisine through my blog, and asked me to add non-vegetarian dishes in the recipe list. I told her I will try to add few non-vegetarian dishes too. I don’t blog too much about curries in my blog, as I believe a few sambar recipe is enough compared tens of sambar recipes with only ingredients change. If there is change in method of making it I prefer to blog about. This Chena Kadi /Elephant Yam Curry one of such long lost curry South Indian curry with less spice but with star ingredient coconut.
Chena kadi/Elephant yam curry is a traditional curry made in Kerala. You will be thinking why all of a sudden this curry. Because I can’t find fresh Chena /Elephant yam here, only frozen ones in Indian Stores which are tasteless. On my last trip to Indian store which specialize in selling south Indian stuff. I found fresh chena/ elephant yam. Only problem is that it is has a high price, yes 7.00 dollars for a pound. I never buy a produce with that much price, but this one I couldn’t resist and bought a pound.
I would love to add chena to several curries like Aviyal, Sambar and this chenakadi/elephant yam curry. Due to non-availability here, I won’t add it in my curries. While growing up I didn’t think about medicinal properties of this chena or elephant yam and I dislike them because their skin cause itching some time. It provides energy about 330KJ/100g (approximately) and rich in calcium. Potassium, phosphorous and magnesium are the key minerals found in elephant yam. It also contains trace minerals like zinc, copper and selenium, and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, vitamin C and Vitamin A.
It is known to help to reduce Hypertension, and is also considered good for diabetes, hemorrhoids, acute rheumatism and muscle spasms etc.
Coming back to this protein rich curry, it is simple curry made with elephant yam, toor dal (spilt pigeon peas) fresh coconut, cumin and green chili. To make this curry, first cook the yam and dal separately and then mix ground coconut paste with cumin and green chili then topped with extra roasted coconut. We love coconut so don’t ask about amount we will not be making with teaspoon or tablespoon measurement will be either 1 full coconut or half coconut. Now fresh coconut is expensive here so I am come down to ½ cup ¾ cup.
This simple curry goes well with bowl of rice, and you can even serve with bread. If you can get fresh chena/elephant yam then try this delicious curry.
Chena Kadi /Elephant yam curry
- 2 cup chopped chena/elephant yam
- ½ cup toor dal/ Spilt pigeon peas
- ½ cup + ¼ cup fresh grated coconut
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 green chili
- 1 inch ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- Ping pong size tamarind ball
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon urad dal
- 1 leaves sprig curry
- 1 red chili
- In a pressure cooker add chena/elephant yam and turmeric powder and cook for 2-3 whistle. Also cook toor dal in pressure cooker and set aside.
- Extract tamarind juice using tamarind and ¼ cup water and set aside.
- In a sauce pot add cooked chena/elephant yam and toor dal and mix well. To this add ground paste of ½ cup of coconut, green chili and ginger, tamarind juice and bring to boil. Add ½ cup water increase the amount of water depending upon the consistency of curry you want.
- In another pan toast the ¼ cup of grated coconut until it is golden brown in color and add it to cooked chena-toordal coconut mixture.
- In the same add 1 teaspoon coconut oil and mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves and red chili cook until mustard seeds starts popping. Add this to cooked curry and mix well.
- Enjoy with a bowl of rice.
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This is Swathi ( Dr. Ambujom Saraswathy Ph.D) from Zesty South Indian Kitchen who loves to explore cuisines from all over the world. Whenever possible I try to to give an Indian touch to several of the world cuisine, and has weakness for freshly baked bread. All the recipes you see here are created by me and approved after taste-test by my family.