Wednesday, 21 September 2016




          In my childhood, mother used to make this mouthwatering dish. No matter how much she made, it was never enough for all of us. It would just disappear in minutes! Ventiye upkari is so soft, it melts like butter in the mouth.

          Its sweet natural taste makes it impossible to stop once you spoon in the first mouthful. So easy to cook, it is a must be enjoyed dish, a plate you would crave to have every day!

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

     1)    Peeled vènti (the stem of the tender-most leaf of the taro plant (Colocasia Esculenta) / tarno alva dentu  or vènti in Konkani, palchèmbindé ilam thandu in Malayalam) – 500 gm. (see note)

     2)    Dry hot red chilies – 2 gm.
     3)    Coconut oil – 15 ml. (1 tablespoon)
     4)    Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
     5)    Salt – 5 gm.

To cook:

          Wash and drain the peeled venti. Chop the stems roughly to pieces of around 1 cm. (½ inch) size.

          Set a wide cast-iron wok on high heat. Pour in the coconut oil and throw in the mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds are about to finish crackling, break each chili roughly to 2 or 3 pieces and drop them in. Stir once and chuck in the chopped venti. Tip in the salt, stir and cover with a cloche or lid.

A minute later, lift up the cloche and stir. Cover again and lower the heat. Stir occasionally and keep covered so that the steam melts the venti like butter. The taro stem pieces which had hitherto filled the wok are reduced to a fraction of the volume in 10 minutes’ time. Switch off the heat.

Your delicious ventiye upkari is now ready to serve. Enjoy this nectar-like treat hot as a side dish to rice or just slurp up a bowlful by itself!

Bon appétit!


          It is important that only the newest leaf stem is collected a little above where it joins the base. The tender leaf can be used to make delicious patrodo or umna patrodo. The stem can be peeled easily with a potato peeler. The tender stem cooks beautifully, is sweet and does not itch at all. The more mature stems are not used since they are fibrous and may itch in the mouth owing to the presence of calcium oxalate.

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