As I have mentioned elsewhere on this blog before, the Palakkad Iyer style of cooking (and language) is essentially rooted in its Tamil origins with heavy influences from Kerala. So Colocasia which is “Sepankizhangu” in Tamil, is pronounced as “Chepankizhangu” by most of us Palakkad Iyers who have adopted the Malayalam version.
It is Arbi or Arvi for those who are more familiar with the Hindi name for it.
Chembu/ Sepankizhangu/ Arbi Mezhukkuvaratti (Pan Roasted Spicy Colocasia)Ingredients:1/2 kg Chembu/Seppankizhangu/ Arbi/ Colocasia1/4 tsp turmeric powder1 tsp red chilli powder (or to taste)Salt to taste3 tbsp oil (preferably coconut oil)1/8 tsp asafoetida1 or 2 sprigs curry leavesMethod:The first thing to do is to clean the caked mud/ soil from the Colocasia tubers if they are dirty. Either way, wash them well in water. If they have caked dirt then soak them in water for about 10 to 15 minutes to loosen it before washing them.Then cook the Colocasia so that they’re done, but are still firm and not mushy. I pressure cook them for a couple of “whistles” (short duration) like we usually do in India. Drain the water and peel off the skin like for boiled potatoes. Let them cool completely and then cut or slice them into even shaped pieces, but not too small.Sprinkle the turmeric powder, the chilli powder and the salt over the Colocasia pieces and toss them lightly in a bowl so that they get coated with the spice.Heat the oil in a wok or non-stick/ thick bottomed frying pan. Add the safetida and the curry leaves and stir a couple of times without letting the asafoetida burn. Now add the spiced Colocasia pieces and lightly toss them in the oil.Let them cook over medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered, until they crisp up. Toss the Colocasia a couple of times to redistribute and turn them, without breaking the pieces, so they’re evenly crisped.
When done, transfer to a serving bowl and serve warm on the side with rice and a curry with gravy like Sambhar, Pulissery or Rasam. This should serve about 4.