Here’s a twist on the classic taro stolon, what we Bengalis call Kochur loti.
This particular Bengali vegetable is rather odd in that it is the root of a plant which is eaten in its entirety. Bengali people are very fond of kochu. They eat its leaves, stem, root, stolons everything.
We call this Kochur Loti in Bangladesh, but its scientific name is Colocasia esculenta or the simplest term, taro stolon is the ground top stem that extends to the soil surface and grows another copy of the plant at the end root. Taro is an important part of Bangladeshi cuisine and diets. There is a little more about Colocasia in this blog link LETS TALK ABOUT VEG!!
We Bengalis would normally eat this with seafood which is its usual popular pairing. I’ve cooked this today as a vegetarian option and it’s a pure vegetarian dish as it has no onions or garlic.
This recipe came about from the years of watching my mum make a niramish using Colocasia leaves, kochu shak. She would make this with lots of freshly grated coconut and yellow gram (chana).
I decided that I would try it with the stolon roots and although it is very similar to the way my mum used to make the Kochu shak I added to it the good old classic ginger and mustard with the inclusion of the grated coconut.
The first time I made this my mum was impressed and thereafter, often when she came to stay with me and on Tuesdays when she would observe a pure vegetarian diet this sometimes went on the menu.
I don’t very often cook this now as I tend to opt for the usual fish pairing but today I felt a twinge of nostalgia come over me. There is very little to this dish other than the technique and pre prep. Much of it is ensuring that the roots are cooked thoroughly and appropriately in order to make it a pleasant eat.
In its raw form, the root is toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate and the presence of needle-shaped raphides in the plant cells. However, the toxin can be minimized and rendered palatable by boiling or cooking before eating.
This particular vegetable needs to be prepared in a specific way as it is known to cause, in some instances, an itchy throat in some. There was always an old wives tale associated with those that have the itchy throat that being that they by nature lie! Naturally many would avoid eating it in case they were inflicted with the itch.
So therefore, there is a ritualistic method that needs to be followed in order to enjoy it, itch free!
There are so many tips and tricks in order to do this that there was a time where I would actually practice all of those tips when preparing taro stolon.
It’s simply a case of boiling it in water with added salt, lemon juice and sometimes lime in order to reduce or eliminate the elements that cause the itchy throat.
4 tablespoons of oil
1 packet of frozen taro roots, defrosted.
2 bay leaves
2 dried chilies
1 tablespoon of Panch Puran
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of sugar
1/3 cup of sweet desiccated coconut
6 teaspoons of brown mustard seeds
6 green chilies for mustard paste and 2 slit for curry
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 teaspoon chili powder
half a teaspoon of turmeric
2 teaspoons of cumin powder 1/4 cup coconut cream (optional)
1) To prepare the taro stems:
in a pan and some boiling water. Add to that
a teaspoon of salt
a teaspoon of sugar
a teaspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar
(some like to add a pinch of turmeric or a pinch of lime, this is optional)
Add the taro stems and gently bring it to a rolling boil and cook this for approximately five minutes, drain and let it stand.
2) Mix the turmeric, cumin powder and chili powder with approximately 6 tablespoons of water paste. Set aside.
3) Into the blender add the brown mustard seeds, 4 green chilies and ginger. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and blend into a fine paste. Set aside.
For the curry:
In a nonstick pan add your oil. When your oil is well heated add the bay leaves and dried red chilies.
Now add the Panch Puran.
Be ready here with a lid as soon as the Panch Puran turns smoky brown, reduce heat to medium, you will add the spice paste which will cause a sizzle and spit affect so you need to place the lid on as soon as you add the water and spice mixture. It discovered for a few seconds until the sizzle comes down.
Now add the salt and sugar and stir this in and cook on a medium heat until the oil begins to separate.
At this point and your desiccated coconut, slit green chilies and cook a little more.
Keep stirring and adding splashes of water if it begins to stick.
After about five minutes add in your taro roots and stir this into the spices. Do this gently so as not to break up or mash the stems. Continue to cook the stems on a low temperature stirring frequently.
Once you notice that the oil is separating slightly around the sides and in the middle if you make a well add in your mustard chilli and ginger paste.
Stir this in gently and again continue to cook this until you see a little of the oil cratering through and the paste starting to cook off the rawness from the mustard.
Now add 1 cup of water or mixture of coconut cream and water to the taro, cover and gently simmer on a medium low heat stirring occasionally until all the liquid has evaporated and you are left with a semi dry dish. This stage is important as the prolonged cooking will ensure it is absolutely thoroughly cooked through whilst allowing the spices to be completely absorbed and melded within the loti.
Garnish with a dusting of dessicated coconut and fresh coriander.
Gentle stir and serve with hot plain boiled rice.
I often use coconut cream with the water to add a smooth richness to the dish but that is optional and works fine with just water. If adding coconut cream add couple more fresh chilies to the mustard blend.
Copyright © 2020 -2021 Papli Rani Dey
All Rights Reserved