Pidi Karunai Kizhangu Masiyal

40 Minutes
Serves 6 People
Author: Rajni Ram
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Pidi Karanai Kizhangu is a tuber available only in some parts. This South Indian Vegetable(Kizhangu) is small, just the size of a fist(Pidi), and hence the name Pidi Karunai. This belongs to the Yam family and tastes almost the same. The tubers have a itchy nature that can be done away with a squeeze of lemon or tamarind juice. There is a belief that once bought, the tubers must be used after two to three weeks, as they say the itchiness reduces in intensity. However, my research in this regard has not given me any conclusive clarity. I made this Masiyal after about a week from buying the tubers.

Health Benefits of Pidi Karunai-

Pidi Karunai is said to be immensely beneficial for health. It nourishes the body, and as  per Ayurveda is a cure for Piles. It is good for constipation too, as it is fibrous. The tuber is said to boost immunity. The tubers are said to be rich in Potassium, Vit B, and Iron, and known to be effective in lowering bad cholestrol.

Difference between Pidi Karanai and Senai Kizhangu-

Pidi Karanai is confused with Senai Kizhangu (Yam/ Jimmikand), many times. Though they belong to the same family, they look very different. Yam is bigger and also called Elephants foot due to its shape, whereas Pidi karanai are only fist sized. Some people also confuse Pidi Karanai with Sepankizhangu/ Arbi, because they look identical. You can tell them apart from their colour. Pidi Karanai is a darker brown as compared to Arbi/Taro root/ Sepan Kizhangu.

About this dish- Pidi Karanai Masiyal-

Masiyal in Tamil means a mash. Pidi Karanai Masiyal is a raditional south Indian curry made with the mash of these tubers. Every house has their own recipe for making this dish. Some add Dal, and some don’t. Some squeeze a lemon to get rid of the itchiness, and some add tamarind pulp. Well, my method is to add Dal, and tamarind pulp. There after a flavourful coconut paste is added to balance the flavours, and the dish is ready. Tastes best when served with rice.

What other tuber can be substituted in this recipe if Pidi Karanai is not available?

Yam is my first choice. Actually i just replicated my Senai Kizhangu Masiyal(Yam Masiyal) recipe here. Other than Yam, Arbi/Taro root can be used too.

While you are here I request you to check out other traditional south Indian recipe like- Parupu Urundai Vatha Kuzhambu, Bonda Mor Kuzhambu, Pineapple Rasam, Karuvepilai Podi/ Curry leaves Powder(for rice), and more…

Ingredients

  1. Pidi Karanai Kizhangu or Substitute with Yam (Senai Kizhangu/ Jimikhand/Suran)- 250 gm pressure cooked until soft
  2. Tuvar Dal/ Arhar Dal 1/2 cup pressure cooked
  3. Shallots 10-15 peeled or 1 large onion chopped roughly
  4. Green Chillies 2 finely chopped
  5. Ginger 1 inch finely chopped
  6. Turmeric powder 1 tsp divided
  7. Garam Masala Powder
  8. Tamarind Paste 1 tbsp (or lemon juice-check notes)

To be ground to a paste:

  1. Coconut gratings- 1 tbsp
  2. Coriander seeds 2 tsp
  3. Fennel Seeds 1 tsp
  4. Dry Red Chilli 1 whole

To temper:

  1. Oil – refined or Coconut oil 1 tbsp
  2. Mustard seeds 1tsp
  3. Chana Dal 2 tsp
  4. Urad Dal 1 tsp
  5. Curry Leaves a few
  1. Pressure cook the tubers (Pidi Karanai), and the Dal separately, until soft. Add a little salt to the tubers and turmeric powder to the Dal before placing in the cooker. Once cooked peel the Pidi Karanai and mash it well. Mash the cooked Dal with the back of a ladle, and set aside.
  2. Next, take oil in a Kadai/Pan and heat. Put all the ingredients mentioned under “to temper”. When the Mustard seeds crackle, add the Shallots, green chillies, ginger and curry leaves, turmeric powder, and fry nicely.
  3. When the Shallots begin to brown, add the mashed Pidi Karanai ,salt, and red chilli powder, saute this well in the oil. About 2 minutes on low flame.
  4. Now add all ingredients mentioned under “to be ground to a paste” to a blender jar, and grind to a smooth paste with some water. Add this paste to the onion and Pidi Karanai mash.
  5. Now add the Tamarind pulp, and stir nicely. Now add the cooked and mashed Dal, and give it all a good stir. Let it cook on low flame for 2 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup water to adjust consistency if too thick. Finally, add Garam Masala powder, and finely chopped coriander leaves and turn off the flame.

Pressure cook the tubers (Pidi Karanai), and the Dal separately, until soft. Add a little salt to the tubers and turmeric powder to the Dal before placing in the cooker. Once cooked peel the Pidi Karanai and mash it well. Mash the cooked Dal with the back of a ladle, and set aside. Next, take oil in a Kadai/Pan and heat. Put all the ingredients mentioned under “to temper”. When the Mustard seeds crackle, add the Shallots, green chillies, ginger and curry leaves and fry nicely. Add turmeric powder. When the Shallots begin to brown, add the mashed Pidi Karanai ,salt, and red chilli powder, saute this well in the oil. About 2 minutes on low flame. Now add all ingredients mentioned under “to be ground to a paste” to a blender jar, and grind to a smooth paste with some water. Add this paste to the onion and Pidi Karanai mash. Now add the Tamarind pulp, and stir nicely. Now add the cooked and mashed Dal, and give it all a good stir. Let it cook on low flame for 2 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup water to adjust consistency if too thick. Finally, add Garam Masala powder, and finely chopped coriander leaves and turn off the flame.

Notes:

  1. Instead of Pidi Karanai any other tuber like Yam or Taro Root can be substituted.
  2. If using Lemon Juice instead of tamarind pulp, then add the juice only toward the end, that is before turning off the flame.

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