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Rajasthani Roots

For today’s post we are going back to a region that we have visited many times in the past – a region steeped in history… a region known for its innovative and highly creative use of locally available ingredients and spices… and its use of rich, golden-yellow Mustard Oil to add a unique flavour to various culinary creations. Yes, we are going back to the regal state of Rajasthan – the land of brave warriors, colourful festivals and amazing food! The dish that we will be preparing today is called Achari Arbi – a mouth-watering curry of taro roots (Colocasia) cooked in Mustard Oil with a dazzling variety of spices. Colocasia is a nutrient-rich starchy root vegetable that is rich in dietary fibre, manganese, potassium and magnesium. It is also rich in Vitamin B6, Vitamin E and Vitamin C. Nutritionists tell us that Colocasia is good for your heart, your gastrointestinal system and your blood sugar levels. All these health benefits are reinforced further by the use of Mustard Oil as the cooking medium for this recipe – a medium that is good for your heart, blood vessels, blood lipids, gut and bones, to name just a few. Here are the ingredients that you will require. Ingredients: • Taro Roots (Arbi): 10 • Curd (Dahi), freshly beaten: 200 grams • Tomatoes: 2 • Green Chillies: 2 • Mustard Oil: 6 tablespoons • Mustard Seeds (Rai): 1 teaspoon • Ginger (Adrak): 1 one-inch piece • Nigella (Kalonji) Seeds: Half a teaspoon • Fenugreek (Methi) Seeds: Half a teaspoon • Cumin (Jeera) Seeds: Half a teaspoon • Carom (Ajwain) Seeds: Half a teaspoon • Fennel (Saunf) Seeds: Half a teaspoon • Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: Half a teaspoon • Red Chilli Powder: Half a teaspoon • Garam Masala: Half a teaspoon • Asafoetida (Heeng): Just a pinch • Dry Mango Powder (Amchur): Just a pinch • Coriander (Dhania) Powder: Half a teaspoon • Coriander (Dhania) Leaves: 50 grams • Salt: to taste

The quantities mentioned above are for preparing four servings. Adjust the quantities proportionately to suit the number of servings that you require. Preparation: Wash the taro roots and boil them in a pressure cooker for one whistle. Turn the heat off and let the contents cool down. Then peel the taro roots and cut each one lengthwise into two halves. Puree the tomatoes. Finely chop the green chillies. Peel, wash and grate the ginger. Chop the coriander leaves. Method: Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan on a High flame. When the oil reaches its smoking point streams of whitish smoke will rise from the surface of the hot oil. Turn the flame down to Medium. Transfer two tablespoons of oil to a large frying pan. Keep this frying pan aside. To the four tablespoons of hot oil remaining in the pan, add the taro root pieces and fry till they turn light brown in colour. Keep this pan aside. Now take the large frying pan in which you had earlier kept aside two tablespoons of Mustard Oil. Place it on the flame (already set on Medium) and heat it for a couple of minutes. Then add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to splutter, add the nigella seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, carom seeds, fennel seeds and asafoetida. Continue to sauté for half a minute or so. Next, add the pureed tomatoes, finely chopped green chillies and grated ginger to the frying pan. Cook till the pureed tomatoes are done. Then add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala, dry mango powder, coriander powder and salt to taste. Continue to sauté for another couple of minutes. Now slowly add the curd and then pour around 250 millilitres of water into the frying pan. Reduce the flame to Low and cook for around five minutes. Keep stirring the contents gently to prevent the curd from curdling. Add the fried taro root pieces to the frying pan and stir gently to mix all the contents. Then turn the flame off and keep the frying pan aside for around 15 minutes. Transfer the contents of the frying pan to a serving dish. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Your Rajasthani Achari Arbi is now ready to be served. This dish is usually eaten with Roti or Puri. Enjoy the rich, flavoursome experience offered by this Rajasthani delicacy.

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