Thursday, February 4, 2010

Taro Root Fritters (Kaale Alvaa Maddi Phodi)

I am always on the pursuit of adding age-old recipes which I believe would be easily buried down and under as generations progress.Taro is known to all for the leaves used to make Patrado, a popular Konkani pin-wheel roll steamed with a paste of flour and spices. Taro Root is a kind of Yam quite familiar to Asian communities. The root of Taro is also consumed with relish. Taro Root Fritters or Kaale Alvaa Maddi Phodi is my dad's favorite. In laymans terms in Konkani we address it as "Maddi or Maaddi". Much better if the Maddi is obtained from Black-stemmed Taro leaves and not the green-stemmed ones. The meat of the Taro root is extremely delicious and one of its kind. This should not be confused with Sooran or Surnu or Yam. Sooran is a different root vegetable, is compressed, circular in Asian regions and short about 1 foot sized, little bit tall if grown in Carribean or South American regions.

Its a seasonal produce and the harvest usually results in Taro Roots coming to the markets in October-December in India. I have seen them in local markets in Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, Udupi and Mangalore. The raw Taro roots appear as shown in the picture. Some who do not eat regularly, would not know the actual taste of this vegetable. Its delicious and soft. Sometimes, after consumption you would find an itchy sensation in your throat, but its out and out tasty and one of its kind vegetable. To combat the sensation, ample amount of Tamarind or a souring agent like Bilimbi is added. So as you conclude from the habits, in Konkanis we make abundant use of seasonal vegetables and produce.

I got this picture of Taro Root from a local market in India. As you see from the picture, the root is huge and bulky. The pink snout on top of the Taro can be saved by green thumbs to plant and grow more Taro leaves. I did that as a kid, got two tiny leaves, which Mom used for Patrodo, also got three tiny pieces of Maddi, which we pan-fried with spices. Time to time I used to check on the growth and progress of the sapling. The memories are still vivid and bring a smile to my face.

More often than not, we cook it to at home to make Fritters or Fries or Phodi. One can also make Alvaa Maddi Gojju, just boil them, mash them, add spice powders crushed in Coconut (grated) and green chillies and garnish with coconut oil. My mom makes this often and taste is nice and subtle, very earthy so to say. The chopping process of a Taro Root entails chopping off, of the sides of the root to get a white meat in the centre. The ridges can be chopped off in strips with a knife. Sometimes, your hands could itch, so its advisable to wear kitchen gloves while chopping them. After chopping off the ridges, the white tube shaped stem is chopped into desirable pieces. Macerate the vegetable in spices powders of choice and pan-fry them.

Preparation + Cooking time: 30 minutes

Taro Root or Maddi - 6-10 pieces
Red Chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Salt - As per taste
Turmeric powder - 1/3rd teaspoon
Asafoetida - 1/4th teaspoon
Garam Masala powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Tamarind pulp - 1 teaspoon
Oil - For frying
Rava or Sooji (coarse) - 3 tablespoon
Water - For steaming vegetables

Take a Taro stem and chop off the ridges on the side which are thick and sturdy. Wear Kitchen gloves to prevent any itching sensation while chopping the pieces. You will find the white meat inside. Cut them into bite sized pieces. You could boil them in water for 20 minutes before applying the spice rub. One of my Pacchi does it that way and the taste is very soft and tender. You could also directly macerate in the spice powders for 30-45 minutes.

Dredge them in Rava and pan-fry with oil on the sides. Once fried turn them over, add oil on sides. After couple of minutes sprinkle water and cover with a lid. Allow to roast on low flame. Check if the pieces are completely cooked. Once done, turn off flame and serve hot as a side item.


  1. Much to my family's astonishment, I'm the only one here who doesn't like this vegetable. As fritters, I might just try it out. :)

  2. @ Aparna - Thanks. I just love them now, but despised them as a kid. I can totally understand what you are saying. :))

  3. Forty-five years ago I lived with a KSB family from Mangalore, though living in Mumbai.

    I learned most of the preparations but no longer remember enough Konkani to say the names of the dishes or the ingredients. I did recognize several dishes in the "Ancient" section here.

    Is this site still active? Are you there? ; )

    Susan Kalyanpur


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