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.
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.