Chamagadda Pulusu – Taro Root Stew

Chamagadda is a favorite in our home. Familiar with this vegetable? No? Then, read on. So, it is called ‘Chamagadda‘ or ‘Chamadumpa’ in Telugu, ‘Arbi‘ in Hindi and ‘Taro Root‘ in other parts of the world. It is basically a starchy root veggie similar to potato by looks and texture inside. It is low in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol and a very good source of fiber, vitamin E and B6.

This vegetable is diverse as it can be cooked as a fry or a stew/pulusu. You can even make chips out of it just like potato chips. But, my favorite version is the ‘Pulusu‘ – veggies or meat cooked in a spicy and tangy gravy full of aromatic flavors to please the senses. And moreover it’s perfect with rice which is the staple food in traditional Indian cuisine.

Taro-Root is hard just like any other root vegetable. So, it needs to be boiled and cooked for a long time. To make the process quicker I simply use a pressure cooker to cook them prior to adding them to the pulusu. The tanginess from the tamarind, the bitterness from the methi/fenugreek seeds, the nuttiness from the poppy seeds and the sweetness from the coconut powder and the jaggery/sugar all together enhance the flavors of the pulusu to a whole another level.

Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Serves: 6


– Chamagadda/Taro Root/Arbi – 8 or about 1n1/2 lbs
– Tamarind – a handful
– Oil – 3 tsps
– Onions – 1 medium sized or 1 cup
– Green Chillies – 4 or 5
– Ginger-Garlic paste – 1n1/2 tsp
– Jaggery/Sugar – 1n1/2 tsp

– Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
– Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
– Dry Red Chillies – 3
– Curry leaves – a handful

– Turmeric powder – 3/4th teaspoon
– Red Chilli powder – 2 teaspoons

– Coriander powder – 3/4th teaspoon
– Salt – 2 teaspoon or as per taste

Ground to fine powder,
– Methi/Fenugreek Seeds – 1n1/4th tsp
– Khus Khus/Poppy Seeds – 2 teaspoons
– Coconut powder – 3 teaspoons

– Coriander leaves – for garnish

1. In a cooking pot with a covered lid or a pressure cooker with enough water, boil the chamagadda or taro root until they are almost done – 15 to 20 mins in a cooking pot or for 1 whistle in a pressure cooker. Do not let it overcook. When done, drain all the water, peel the skins off, cut them into medum-sized chunks and set aside.

2. In a deep skillet, heat 3 tsps of oil. Add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, dry red chillies, curry leaves and saute until they sizzle for a minute or two. Add finely chopped onions, green chillies and ginger-garlic paste now. Saute for a few minutes until the onions are translucent.

3. In the meanwhile, lightly dry roast fenugreek seeds, poppy seeds and coconut powder for 2 to 3 minutes and then ground to fine powder. Also, in a small bowl take tamarind, add a cup of water and heat in microwave for 1 minute. Remove, let it cool a little and squeeze the tamarind to get all the tamarind juice and discard the pulp.

4. Get back to the skillet now. Time to add the spices – turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt and the fenugreek + poppy + coconut powder. Saute for a couple of minutes. Now, add the tamarind juice (about a cup). Stir well. Add 2 cups of water, cover the skillet and reduce the stove to medium-low. Simmer for around 15 minutes.

5. Now, add the taro root/arbi cubes to the skillet. Cover and cook further for another 10 to 12 mins. Using a fork, check if the taro root cubes are nice and tender else cook for another 5 mins.

6. Remove from stove and let the it sit for 15 to 20 mins. The arbi/taro root will breathe in the pulusu along with the spices and tanginess. At this point taste it and adjust the salt if needed.

Empty into a serving dish and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with warm rice and enjoy this spicy, tasty and aromatic pulusu.