Arabi(Taro Root)and Asparagus Curry

What is Taro root? The taro root, as with other tubers, is recognized by other names. This tuber is also known as the dasheen, eddo and kalo in many areas of the world including West Africa, Asia, Central America, South America and the Caribbean and Polynesian islands. This root is most well-known as the ingredient of the Hawaiian dish poi, which is mashed taro root.

The hairy outer coating on a taro root is similar to a coconut. The hairy outer layer is always removed before cooking. These roots are starchy and generally treated like potato. These tubers take on a nut-like flavor when cooked. Frying, baking, roasting, boiling, or steaming them as an accompaniment to meat dishes are all common uses. Soups and stews are other dishes that taro root suits well. Taro may be pounded into a thick grey paste and used to thicken other dishes in Asian cooking. Taro roots provide a good source of fiber and supply approximately 110 Calories per adult serving.

Select tubers that are firm and hairy, with no wrinkling. Store the roots for up to one week in a cool and dry location, making sure that the roots do not dry out.

The leaves and flowers are also sometimes eaten. Taro leaves can be treated like spinach and boiled or steamed.

You can make this curry with Taro root alone following the same recipe, or you can add peas or any of your favorite green vegetables with Taro root. I happened to have lot of asparagus in my fridge, so this time I made this Taro root (Arabi) curry with Asparagus.

This recipes yields 8 servings.


4-5 Taro root tuber

1 lb pack of Asparagus spears

1 red onion

1 yellow onion

1 jalapeno pepper

6-8 cloves of garlic

1" piece of ginger peeled

2 cups of plain yogurt

1 cup of tomato puree

4 cups water

1/4 cup oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon of asafetida

1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 tbl spoon of paprika powder

2 tablespoon coriander powder

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon of mango powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon corn starch

1/4 cup cold water to mix corn starch

1/4 cup of chopped cilantro leaves


* Peel and chop taro root in cubes.

* Place them in microwave safe container add water until submerged, add some salt and boil in microwave uncovered for 20 min.

* Drain all water and set aside.

* Wash asparagus spears and discard the hard ends of each spear.

* Chop the remaining spears in to small pieces.

* Place them on a silicone microwavable steamer in bowl full of water.

* Steam the asparagus pieces for 10-12 min in microwave.

* Set aside once steamed.

* While cooking taro root and asparagus in microwave, you can prepare the gravy as follows.

* Grind onions, ginger, Jalapeno, and garlic in food processor.

* Heat oil in a pan, when oil is hot, add cumin seeds, black mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds.

* When these crackle, add asafetida and bay leaf.

* Add ground onion, ginger, garlic, pepper paste and saute until light brown.

* Add all the dry spices, and saute for 30 sec - 1 min.

* Add tomato puree, mix well, cook for 1 min.

* Add yogurt and water, cook this curry or gravy until it boils, stir occasionally.

* Add salt, cook for few min, add cooked taro root cubes and cook them in gravy for 5 min.

* Add cooked chopped asparagus pieces and mix well.

* Cook the curry on medium-low heat (with occasional stirring) for 10 min, until thickens. (you can add more water if you desire the curry to be more dilute)

* Mix corn starch in cold water, add it to curry and cook for additional 3-5 min, until desired consistency of curry is acquired.

* Garnish with chopped Cilantro leaves.

* Serve hot with Chapati or Naan or Paratha or over Basmati rice.

Taro root description source:

Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.

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