A simple Goan stir fry ( bhaji) using Taro ( known locally in Konkani as Mundlyo). The versatile tuber is so underrated and this recipe is one of the easiest and most flavorful way to add it to your meal.
Taro (called Mundlyo in Goa) – scientific name Colocasia esculenta, is a perennial, tropical plant primarily grown as a root vegetable for its edible starchy corm. In Goa, we use both the root (with white flesh) and greens in curries, mixed vegetable stews and stir fries. As you can imagine this ingenious starchy root was hardly a popular tuber of choice growing up. I found them bordering on gummy and a real pain to peel ( was usually one of the chores my Mum passed on to us kids) which meant that I never really looked forward to eating it. And for the longest time I never bothered to bring home and cook with it. Amazing how living away from home brings much appreciation for ingredients you despised when younger. I now cook with them often and this Bhaji (stir fry) is one of my favorite ways to eat them.
There’s a few things to bear in mind while cooking with taro for this dish. When you boil them with the salt, ensure to leave them fork tender and don’t over cook. This helps ensure they are starchy but not gummy. Also, dusting the rice flour makes them easy to stir fry and non-sticky. I personally love using my cast iron pan for making this recipe – the crusty bits you can achieve from the sear add much of the character to this dish.
The recipe comes together fairly quickly with basic spices you can easily find in your pantry. So next time you are at the markets, grab a handful of these tubers and add them to your simple steamed rice – dal meal. Move over potatoes, lets get the taro trending. ( No no scratch that, who am I kidding – we’ll keep loving the potato. Just share some of that love with taro)
A simple Goan stir fry ( bhaji) using Taro ( known locally in Konkani as Mundlyo).
- 300 gms taro roots
- 1 tbsp rice flour
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 3/4 tsp mustard seeds
- 10-12 curry leaves
- 1 pinch asafoetida (heeng)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 3/4 tsp chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp garam masala powder
- 1.5 tsp Coriander leaves (finely chopped)
- Water (for boiling the taro roots)
- Salt (to taste)
Scrub and clean the taro roots (mundlyo). Boil the the taro roots in water with some salt until fork tender. Make sure they are not mushy.
Once cooled down, slice them into discs. Coat them lightly with the rice flour and get rid of any excess flour.
Heat the canola oil in a frying pan ( I love using my cast iron as it yields great charred bits). Add the mustard seeds and let them crackle. Once they do, add in the curry leaves and the heeng (asafoetida).
Add the taro root and all the spice powders and toss together nicely. It is important to ensure that the rice flour cooks through. Mix gently over low flame so they don't break. Adjust salt as necessary.
Once all the spices have mixed well with the taro, turn off the heat and garnish with the finely chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot.