Red stem taro in a sweet and sour sauce
- 1/2 kg red kaymbu stems, peeled and sliced into 2” lengths or 1/2 kg rhubarb stems
- 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 2 medium onions, finely sliced
- 3-4 dry red chillis, broken and deseeded
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, crushed
- ½ cup grated coconut, ground to a fine paste (optional)
- I tbsp thick tamarind extract**
- 3 tbsp jaggery
- Salt to taste
- 2-3 tbsp oil
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- 7-8 curry leaves
- 1 tbsp oil
Heat the oil in a shallow pan and add the mustard and curry leaves if using, followed by the red chillis and garlic. Sauté for two minutes, then add the sliced onions and cook on medium heat until the onions are softened and just beginning to brown. Add the chopped kembu, two cups of hot water and cook on medium-high for two minutes.
Reduce the heat, then add the ground coriander,chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Cook on low heat for five minutes or until the kaymbu is tender. Add the ground coconut and jaggery.Simmer for about two minutes, then put in the tamarind extract and cook for a couple more minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Do not reheat.
A note if you are using Rhubarb. It cooks and breaks down much faster than kaymbu stems, so adjust your cooking time accordingly. Also, reduce the quantity of water to 1 1/2 cups.
* Versions of this can found in other cuisines like alu wadi in Maharashtra or patra in Gujarat.
** In recipes that don’t use tamarind, the dish is finished with a squeeze of lime or chorangé (a kind of citron) juice. Do not reheat the dish.