Pink yam is one of the few seasonal produces available here merely for a couple of weeks during Pongal festival every year. Generally we include a whole array of locally grown seasonal tubers & vegetables into the preparation of our traditional repast to celebrate this harvest festival. So I use a few pieces of pink yam for the festive meal, and save the remaining for preparing delicious kootu, kofta & fries later.
Vethala Valli Kizhangu (Pink yam):
Pink yams are my favourite native tubers for the impeccable texture & flavour. They are not so slimy as taro (Colocasia/ cheppankizhangu) and also not so starchy as potato. So we can play around with this delicious tuber by steaming, boiling, baking, frying, roasting & stir-frying them and prepare crispy chips & fries, crumbly puttu or podimas and also squishy masiyal & dumplings. My favourites are yam kootu & fries, I find yam kootu more palatable than vegetable kootu and yam fries more delectable than potato finger chips.
We usually prepare vegetable kootu with moong dal and the curry paste using coconut meat, green chilli & shallots, but for the tuber kootu we prefer to use Bengal gram and the masala made of coconut, pepper & garlic. Now I have prepared spicy creamy pink yam kootu with Bengal gram & pepper that goes well with any sambar, rasam or kuzhambu.
Preparing the yam:
Pink yam has slightly pinkish flesh covered by inner pink skin (hence the name) and the outer black skin. Both the flesh & skins may cause mildly stinging pain, so it is preferred to use hand gloves while cleaning, peeling the skin and chopping the flesh. But cooked yam does not cause any irritation to the skin or tongue unlike elephant’s foot yam. Now let’s prepare pink yam kootu:
Pink Yam Kootu Recipe:
I feel this kootu may turn insipid without the addition of tempering of chopped shallots & coconut in coconut oil. The coconut paste & coconut oil make this dish creamy and Bengal gram & the tempering add the delicious texture.
|Pink yam (chopped)||300 gram|
|Bengal gram (split chickpeas)||50 gram|
|Turmeric powder||1 tsp|
|For making coconut masala:|
|Coconut meat||10 pieces (each 2″)|
|Cumin seeds||1/2 tsp|
|Coconut oil||1 tbsp|
|Mustard seeds||1 tsp|
|Split blackgram||1 tsp|
|Curry leaves||1 sprig|
|Shallots (chopped)||as desired|
|Coconut pieces (chopped)||as desired|
Mise en place:
- Coconut masala: Grind all the masala ingredients by adding water and keep aside.
- Tempering: Fry the chopped coconut & shallots in coconut oil until translucent as shown below and transfer to a bowl.
Preparing the kootu:
- Heat a heavy bottom cooking pot with water in high flame.
- Add chopped yam, Bengal gram & turmeric powder into the water and bring to boil.
- When both the yam & lentils cooked soft add salt and mix well.
- Now stir in coconut masala and reduce the heat to low.
- Finally add the tempering and remove from heat.
- Serve yam kootu with rice.