Saturday, November 9, 2013

ajwaini arbi and a malabar spinach daal : a meal from your childhood

Ajwaini arbi lifts up a simple meal with it's burst of flavors. The bland arbi gets a nice spicy-tangy coating to be shallow fried till crisp. Goodness in a slimy bland vegetable believe me.

Arbi is colocasia rhizome and I rarely cook this vegetable as the husband doesn't like it much and I don't feel like working on a vegetable which is not green. I get the colocasia leaves whenever I spot them and make this layered rolls called patoda or patra but the rhizome get neglected though it is available throughout the year.

But then I have a habit of buying vegetables by the looks, the most fresh looking vegetables are bought instantly and when I saw these plump and long Arbi at our Mother Dairy outlet sometime back, I couldn't imagine ignoring them. Promptly bought four of those long and plump rhizomes and came back thinking of the ajwaini arbi as the large arbis would make nice steak like fries.

Ajawaini arbi is something you can have on the side if planning a daal-chawal meal. They provide a meaty flavorful tangy-spicy fulfilment to plain dal-chawal meals. This time I was making a nice arhar ki daal with malabar spinach (poi saag) with plain boiled rice and ajwaini arbi fitted in perfectly.

(2 servings as a side dish)
4 large colocasia rhizomes (large arbis)
1/2 cup besan (chickpeas flour)
1 tbsp rice flour
2 tsp amchoor powder
1 tsp ajwain seeds
red chilly powder to taste
salt to taste
mustard oil to shallow fry (about 2 tbsp but the arbi does not absorb all the oil)


Boil the arbis in pressure cooker till done. The cooking time will depend on the size of arbis and also on how mature they are so cook for 2-3 minutes under pressure first, check and then cook again if you find them raw. A knife prick will confirm if it is done.

Peel the arbi and keep aside.

Mix all the other ingredients except oil and spread in a shallow plate.

Press the peeled arbi over this dry mix so that the rhizomes get flattened. Coat well with the dry besan mix both sides and shallow fry in hot oil using a flat based frying pan.

Serve hot with daal-chawal meal. The dish takes just about 5 minutes once you have boiled arbis so shallow fry them when the daal and rice are cooked and ready to serve.

I had made this arhar ki daal with malabar spinach with a generous garlic tadka and we loved this meal. I am totally a daal loving person and spinach or any kind of greens in my daal is an absolute delight. I can live on daals and often crave my daals.

The recipe of this daal can be seen here at Down to Earth magazine where I did an article on Malabar spinach. Malabar spinach is a garden vine that many of us grow and keep using frequently. It has many health benefits and is a good substitute for spinach in some recipes. I will post a pumpkin subzi soon with malabar spinach. Stay tuned in.


  1. Loved your simple arbi fry and Malabar spinach daal. Your are a fantastic writer :)