While making callaloo last week, I picked up some taro root. Taro is similar to a potato, a bit sweet, and can be used for seemingly anything. I chose to make an Indian vegetable dish called Arbi ki Sabji. Sabji is vegetables cooked in curry, and this particular recipe is made by “boiling the arbi & then mixing it with masala” (arbi is another name for taro).
I got started by washing my taro, scrubbing off dirt and eyes with my fingers, then putting my them in a microwave safe bowl and covering them with water. Heat them for ten minutes. As this is happening, measure out your ajwain (carom seeds), cumin seeds, grated ginger, asafoetida, green chillies, small white onion, tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, amchur (dry mango powder), and coriander leaves. When the ten minutes are up, poke your taro with a fork. It should easily pierce and sink into the root. If not, pop it back in the microwave for five minutes. Mine took fifteen minutes, but the recipe notes that it may take twenty. Once your taro is cooked put them in cold water. I added ice to speed up the process. When cool, you can peel them and cut off any eyes that you were unable to pick off during washing.
Now, in a well oiled saucepan, heat your ajwain and cumin seeds. Add the asafoetida, ginger, and green chillies. Saute, then toss in your diced onion and wait for it to soften. Add your chopped up tomato and stir before adding turmeric powder and a dash of salt. Stir again, making sure to coat the onion and tomato in all your spices. When the tomato is soft, add red chilli powder, coriander powder, and amchur. Mix again. I then pushed all the ingredients into a pile in the middle of the pan and continued to heat. Cook until you see oil and tomato juice leak from the pile.
Now take your peeled taro and cut it into thick slices (three for small roots, four or five for bigger ones). Put these slices in the pan and mix so that the taro is covered in your sauce. Cover your saucepan and cook for seven minutes, stirring now and then. I cooked for ten minutes and only stirred once, but my heat was low at this point because I was worried about burning my spices. After all this, just add some chopped fresh coriander and plate. It’s spicy, so a glass of milk is advised. The recipe suggests naan bread, but I found that the dish was plenty filling on its own.