Commonly known as taro root or colocasia root.
Arbi does not have a strong flavour of its own and is versatile much like potatoes. Taro root or arbi borrows flavour from the spices / masala that is added to it while cooking.
Taro root is healthier than potatoes in many ways; higher in fibre, lesser in fat content, good source of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins (especially vitamins C & E, which makes it great for skin and hair health). So definitely look at including taro / colocasia root in your diet.
Like potatoes, Arbi is a super versatile vegetable and can be used in many recipes; think arbi ki tikki, kebabs, chips, arbi fries… these are ofcourse, besides the usual Indian recipes.
At home, arbi is made using two recipes – one is this arbi masala recipe and the other is a simple one in a besan (gramflour) masala, no onions or tomatoes. Just besan and powder spices.
Another recipe of taro root that I know of and haven’t tried yet is to lightly press boiled arbi and flatten it. Shallow fry / pan fry the flattened arbi and add dry powder spices and salt to taste.
Well-cooked, crisp arbi needs quite a bit of cooking oil or ghee - adjust the quantity of cooking oil or ghee to your preference. My preferred quantities are mentioned in the recipe.
Time taken: 15 minutes
Ingredients to make Arbi (taro root / colocasia) Masala
250 gms Arbi
1 onion, medium size
1 tomato, medium size
2 green chillies
½ inch piece of ginger
1 tbsp cooking oil + more for pan frying
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
½ tsp turmeric powder / haldi
1 tsp coriander powder / dhania powder
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish
Method of making Arbi (taro root / colocasia) Masala
Wash the arbi well and pressure cook the taro root / arbi in enough water for 1 whistle. Let the steam settle in its own time, this will cook the arbi to the centre without overcooking it.
Raw taro root contains calcium oxalate and we therefore, want to completely cook the arbi to negate the effects of this compound. Calcium oxalate is what makes your mouth and throat feel numb / itchy if the arbi is consumed raw or undercooked.
Meanwhile, slice the onions lengthwise, roughly chop the tomatoes, ginger and green chillies. Arbi masala is a rustic recipe and does not call for finely chopped ingredients.
Once the arbi is at ambient temperature, peel and slice it lengthwise in to 1 inch pieces (think thick French fries).
Add enough cooking oil to a pan to shallow fry / pan fry the boiled arbi. We are frying the taro root to give it a crisp outer layer and cook off any undercooked bits in the centre.
Sprinkle a little salt over the arbi while frying. Once the arbi is fried to a crisp texture, no darker than a golden brown, remove it from the pan and keep aside.
Remove the extra oil from the pan, leaving about 1 tbsp in it.
Add cumin seeds to the oil, once these crackle add the sliced onions. Let the onions sweat and turn a light pink, then add ginger and green chillies. When the onions turn a light brown, add the tomatoes – in about 2-3 minutes.
Cook this masala till the tomatoes soften and add turmeric and coriander powders. You could add red chilli powder too at this stage. Add salt to taste.
Add the fried arbi and mix it well with the masala paste. Cook this arbi masala for just about a minute and its ready. Any more cooking time with the masala and the arbi will lose its crispness.
Garnish arbi (taro root / colocasia) masala with fresh coriander leaves and serve immediately as we want the arbi to be crisp when served.
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