KAEMBU (COLOCASIA) CURRY

Editor’s note:

Colocasia, known as Kaymbu in the Kodava language, it is one of the most useful food plants, with its edible corms (kaymbu kandé) stems and leaves. There are several types of Kaymbu that are commonly eaten. The two main ones are the green stemmed and red stemmed (chondé kaymbu) varieties. There is another thicker leafed variety, known as mara (tree ) kaymbu, that grows on the sheltered branches of large trees. 

Kaymbu in all its forms – tubers, stems and leaves, needs to be cooked thoroughly to help neutralize the calcium oxalate crystals  (known as raphides) present in it. The needle-like crystals can cause severe irritation to the soft tissues of the mouth and throat.

 In Southern India, colocasia is almost always cooked using some tamarind in the recipe. While this might seem counter intuitive, to add something sour to the already tart leaves and stems, it may have an effect in further neutralizing some of the calcium oxalate. Some people experience skin irritation while handling the raw plant parts. This can usually be prevented by applying oil to the hands before proceeding to prepare the dish.

Here are two recipes from Cavadichanda Pooja Muthamma, who is an Assistant Professor at an Engineering college. Her hobbies include baking and painting.

KAEMBU (COLOCASIA) CURRY

Preparation time – 30-35 minutes

Kaembu curry – Recipe 1

What you need:

Colocasia leaves with stalk – 1 kg

Kachampuli(Garcinia vinegar) – 1 ¼ tsp

Water – ½ cup

Garlic – 8 -14 cloves

Grated coconut – ½ cup

Onion -1 (large)

Bird’s eye chilli – 20-25 nos.

Coriander powder – 1 tsp

Turmeric powder – 1 tsp

 Salt – 1 ½ tsp

 Jeera – 1 tsp

 Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

 Cooking oil – 3 tsp

Curry leaves (optional) – 7-8 leaves

What you do:

Finely chop Colocasia leaves and its peeled stalks.

To a deep fry pan, add chopped colocasia, kachampuli, salt, water. Cook it on medium flame for about 15- 20 minutes. Then mash it coarsely.

Blend coconut, jeera, turmeric powder, coriander powder, bird’s eye chilli, and 4 cloves of garlic to a fine paste and add to mashed colocasia.

Mix well, cover and cook it for 5-10 minutes on medium flame. Keep it aside.

Tempering:

Heat a frying pan, add oil, mustard seeds and let them crackle. Then add curry leaves, chopped onion, 8- 10 garlic cloves and fry till it turns golden brown. Pour over the prepared colocasia curry. 

KAEMBU CURRY – RECIPE 2

 What you need:

 Colocasia leaves with stalk – 1 kg

Lemon juice– 3 -4 tsp

Garlic – 8 -14 cloves

Onion -2 (large)

Bird’s eye chilli – 20-25, ground to a paste

Coriander powder – 1 tsp

Turmeric powder – 1 tsp

Water – ¼ cup

 Salt – 1 ½ tsp

 Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

 Cooking oil – 3-5 tsp

 What you do:

 Finely chop colocasia leaves and its peeled stalks.

 To a deep fry pan, add chopped colocasia, salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, water and let it cook on medium flame for about 15- 20 minutes. Then mash it coarsely.

Add bird’s eye chilli paste, and lemon juice to mashed colocasia and cook it for another 5-6 minutes.

Tempering:

 Heat a frying pan, add oil, mustard seeds and as they crackle, add finely chopped onions, 8 -10 cloves of garlic and fry till it turns golden brown. Pour over the prepared colocasia curry to enhance its flavour.

 Enjoy the Kaembu curry with akki otti (rice chapathi)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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