Thursday, March 29, 2012

Senai Kizhangu Kara kari

I have often repeated that I love all vegetables. I do, yet there were a few that I used to try not to eat. As a younger child, there must have been a random day that I developed itches in my throat and mouth after eating senai kizhangu, the elephant yam. Then on, I would refuse to partake the same whenever it was cooked and in whatever recipe it was used.
Most of my father's clients were farmers and often brought produce from their fields and gardens for us. We have had freshly harvested groundnuts, tapioca, onions and more. Many a time some one will bring jackfruit, pineapple and farm grown veggies. Thus, I may have even be praying that nobody brings yam, lest I have to eat that. However, my parents were not very strict and it would be alright with them if any of us did not want to partake something on a particular day. but repeatedly refusing something was not permitted.
Later after my marriage, the months I spent with my parents-in-law were truly testing time as my mother-in-law uses only two vegetables in particular in her coconut based kuzhambu and one happens to be the senai, the other being brinjal! I could not avoid eating and even if I ventured to voice my distaste for this vegetable, she refused to heed and would drop quite a few pieces on my plate. Seeing no other alternative I would consume it too. Through all this, my allergy seemed to have gone or forgotten. To add to it all this is one of the few vegetables that my husband likes. So I learnt to eat and thus cook it in as many ways possible.
This is one very easy preparations and with a small amount of tamarind dropped in the pan while the vegetable is cooking, the itching can be taken care of.

This vegetable is not available here and so I had to cook while at my parents' home.
350 grams elephant yam / senai kizhangu
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
Salt as per taste
A cherry size tamarind
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8 teaspoon asafoetida
2 - 3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon split bengal gram / channa dhal
1 sprig fresh curry leaves

Clean the yam and cut in small cubes. Drop the cubes in some water.
Cook the yam in some water adding turmeric powder to it. cover and cook for about 7 minutes and then add the tamarind to the same and cook further until the pieces are tender yet holding firm when pressed between fingers.

Drain the water and add the salt and chilli powder to the cooked vegetable, thoroughly mixing them.
Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. when the mustard seeds crackle add the channa dhal and the curry leaves.
Then add the vegetable and tossing frequently, shallow fry on a low flame until the pieces are crisp.

Serve as a dry vegetable kari with meals.


  1. You have cut it very nicely. Looks yum

  2. Even I feel the same with this I never got it.looks nice

  3. love this almost similar way too ..looks so yum

  4. I love to try this version. sounds simple and looks yummy. must be gr8 with sambhar rice :)

  5. even we prepare this in a similar way.. my mom is allergic o this & she would not make this! But in MIL s place this is a hot fav & its quite common.. u have cubed theme o well :)

    Ongoing Event : I'm The Star

  6. I like senai, but afraid of cutting due to itching in my hand. Curry looks delicious.

  7. What you described is a way of life that is still present in small towns - it's the same way with my doctor family, we would get lots of vegetables or produce grown in fields/home, cooked and uncooked. And we would take flowers/fruit grown at home to offer our teachers in school.

    I started (and stopped) eating yam only after I came here. I don't think it was ever cooked at home. I like the yam slabs that are shallow fried on the tawa, but not anything else. Your curry looks neat and appetising - I may even try it - whatever else I've seen is a pretty (actually not pretty) soggy mess!

  8. I use to be allergic with seppam kizhangu, after peeling - i use to scratch very badly by hands :( So my mom never gave it. Now I have outgrown, but we use to add baking soda while cooking to remove the itchiness and works perfectly. Or keep the yam for week and cook (probably aging will not give any effect).
    Now I want this root veggie but we get only frozen :(

  9. I love senai kizhangu and we cannot find them fresh here. Whenever I go back home that is what I request for. Senai Kizhangu is not really not given a lot of respect as most out kizhangu, but I love it. Love masiyal.

  10. Looks so tempting. I will have this as it is...

  11. I miss both senai kizhangu and karunai kizhangu.. thankfully i get sepakizhangu here. This looks so very tasty akka.

  12. wow i too like this a lot! very nicely done!

  13. wow.. mouthwatering.. its been years I had senai kizangu curry :-(

  14. I'll happily have this kaara kari with some milagi killi sambar, one of my fav..

  15. Looks really nice - love that it held its shape and did not get mashed.

  16. looks just awesum..n nice cliks.

  17. First time here.Love your blog.following you.
    Check out my blog when you are free at

  18. You've cut the yam into such perfect little cubes. I like this version of kara kari. I have a slightly different version on my blog.

  19. I love it when it is done this way. SRC mess used to serve it and I tried once but dint turn out good... Will bookmark this and try some time. You have cut so cutely :)

  20. This reminds me of my patti :) This is my all time favorite. I can eat the whole bowl :P Unfortunately in my laws they hardly use this chenakezhangu.


Welcome and thank you for taking time to drop by.
I appreciate your valuable comments and tips.
I sincerely hope to improve with them.
Hope we shall interact often.
Thanks once again,
Lata Raja.