I personally feel it needs a special talent or knack in roasting the taro roots. The golden brown crispy top and the feel of spice till the last bite is what I call perfection!
If I can vouch for a person who can do the best cheppankizhangu varuval, its none other than my m-i-l ! Her cheppankizhangu varuval is the best that I've tasted in all my life! She has a knack of frying these lil' fellas so well, that boy, you'll never know how much of it u might have gobbled!
Now coming to the recipe, I tried baking the taro roots as against frying them in oil.(Well, only if you have the time and patience!) The result was not at all bad I shud say and it was all gone in no time!
On to the recipe:
Cheppankizhangu- 1lb (small round ones preferred)
Oil- 2 Tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1 Tsp
Urad dhal- 1 Tsp
Red chilly powder- 1 Tsp
Hing- 1/4 Tsp
Turmeric- 1/4 Tsp
Salt to taste
Curry leaves- a few
1. Clean the taro roots and boil them in water or pressure cook for one or two whistles with very little water. If using frozen peeled taro roots (Swad Brand Whole Arvi), just boil for them till they are soft,but not mushy. It is very important that the taro roots retain their shape and firmness.
2.Peel them and keep aside. Mix the red chilly powder, turmeric, hing, salt and oil in a wide bowl or a Ziploc bag and toss the taro roots in them till they are fully coated. Let marinade for about 15-20 minutes.
3.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease a baking tray lined with aluminum foil.
4.Arrange the taro roots in the tray, spray some oil on top and bake for about half and hour turning all the sides to brown evenly. Do not forget to keep checking.
5.Once the taro roots begin to brown, switch the oven to broil mode and roast them till you get your desired color and crispness, which may take less than 5 minutes. Do not let the taro roots to get charred.
6.Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds, urad dhaal and curry leaves. Add the taro roots once the mustard seeds splutter and the urad dhal turns brown. Toss them well and enjoy hot crispy cheppankizhangu with rice and morkuzhambu, or rice and vengaya sambhar or rice and simple paruppu rasam!!
There are simple things in life which give us utmost joy!! Never miss these lovely moments!
Note: You can also slice the taro roots in thin circles and bake them which may taste even better. I personally like them whole, so did not slice them.
Baking makes the taro roots a bit dry, so the tempering helps in giving it an oily finish.