Yam Subzi

Yam Subzi


Senaikizhangu Mandi:

Senai Kizhangu Masala. Senai Kizhangu Thokku. Yam Poriyal. Yam Koora. Senai Kizhangu Poriyal.

I know some of you might be wondering…why Yam, Collacassia, Taro roots and Few other modified roots(vegetable) prick our throat, when undercooked or even pricks our palm(while cleaning & chopping). I already mentioned about it in my previous posts…but will do it once again.

Many plants produce Calcium(Ca)Oxalate in a crystalline form! They are called Raphides (a needle like crystals)! This calcium oxalate is a byproduct of a plant’s metabolism. Its a excreta of the plant that gets stored in a special cells called idioblasts. Which may vary from plant to plant(ranging from 75-90%). The Word ‘Raphide’ comes from the French word via Greek origin, ‘Raphid’ means ‘Needle’ in French…which would have derived from ‘Raptein’ meaning ‘to Sew’ in greek. This crystalline, Calcium oxalate’s are either in druse form(diamond shaped – many faceted) or raphide form( simply needle like). These are actually toxic to humans! It is a basic nature’s plan…a defense mechanism of these plants to fight against their hungry herbivore predators!

Anyways…since we are smarter than these plants. Lets cook these type of vegetables with lots of tamarind than usual. Yeah…tamarind(hydrochloric acid)dissolves this calcium deposits with their weak acids! So before you intend to cook these yummy vegetables…make sure that you soak them in a tamarind based water for a while. Even though…if you skip this. Add tamarind to the dish & don’t consume immediately, give a nice resting time.

Collacassia, Yam, Taro roots & Pidi Karunaikizhangu should be prepared with lots of care, adding tamarind, lemon juice and tomatoes will help!


Yam 1/4 kilo (skin scraped & cubed)
Green chilies 3 finely chopped
Ginger 2″ grated
Garlic 6 cloves minced
Onion 1 large chopped
Tomato 1 small chopped
Turmeric 1/4 spoon
Chili powder 1 spoon
Tamarind paste 1 spoon
Curry leaves
Chana dal 2 spoons
Urad dal 2 spoons
Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
Vadagam 1 spoon
Cumin seeds 1/4 spoon
Mustard seeds 1/4 spoon
Oil few spoons
Cilantro leaves to garnish.


In a wide and heavy bottomed wok, heat oil. Add all the tempering spices. Let them crackle up.

Then add chilies, curry leaves to it.

Add ginger, garlic and onions…fry real good. Maybe till onion turns golden color.

Now add tomatoes…cover with lid.

When the tomatoes turn pulpy…add salt, turmeric and chili powders.

Stir-in cubed yam to it. Stir fry for 2 minutes.

Then add tamarind paste and 1 cup of water. Cover and cook over medium heat.

When the vegetable is done, garnish with cilantro leaves.

Serve to go with your meals.


14 Responses so far.

  1. Yasmeen says:

    Now I know why my hands feel so itchy while handling the taro root,its one of the reasons I avoid cooking it.thanks for explaining the science behind its prickly texture.Back in Hyderabad, tamarind gravy with this veggie is very popular.The subzi with tamarind also looks very appetizing too:)

  2. Ushanandini says:

    The explanation in this post is excellent. Yeah…these idioblasts are vacuous enough to harm us. Senaikezhangu mandi is scrumptious.

  3. Hm…good explanation and nice post.. looks colorful and yummy.

  4. Hm, Malar, nice and new info about these..Looks colorful and yummy…

  5. Hm, Malar, nice and new info about these..Looks colorful and yummy…

  6. Ann says:

    A very informative write up as usual…Using tamarind is such a wonderful ida…thanks for sharing malar.

  7. RAKS KITCHEN says:

    Wonderful post malar and lovely recipe!!!

  8. SriLekha says:

    wow! looks yummy n delicious!
    Microwave oven series is going on!
    join with us in the EFM-Microwave Oven Series!

  9. Ashwini says:

    nice explanation..subzi looks very nice..never tried msking it..will try..

  10. AnuSriram says:

    Thats delicious! Makes me drool! I don’t use yam much in my cooking.. But your pictures make me crave for some..

  11. Thanks for the info Malar..Subji looks tasty..:)

  12. Viki Xavier. says:

    Nice explanation about this yam family dear. Never tasted that pidikarunai kilangu often (only on pongal in India). These roots are yummy , sure they have to protect themselves from animals:).Every ingredient like tamarind has a meaning in our native cuisine.. lovely subzi. I should try this with frozen yam.

  13. this looks good and well explained. Karunakizhangu yes, but never tasted yam; I’ve seen it very often in the exotic shops here but never knew how to prepare it.

  14. Deepika says:

    Thanks for that info Malar! Though these methods are age-old, along the way the explanation for these steps has gotten lost. Good to have people like you who can tell us the why’s and how’s. :-)

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