Pidikarunai poondu kuzhambu
May 11, 2017, 8:02 p.m.

A south indian spicy garlic curry made with boiled yam


a simple way of cooking a complete meal with pidikarunai- a meal where taste meets health.


Hello lovely readers, with Agni Nakchathram on its perk, I guess all of you would have dumped yourself within the air-conditioned rooms of your houses or office. Man its really really very HOT.But still you could beat it a little with the 5 ingredient elaneer kulfi.I hope all of you would have tried that and sorry guys for the time gap since that post. This week I've come back with an authentic South Indian more like Thamizh cuisine recipe -  Pidikarunai Poondu Kuzhambu or what you call Elephant yam garlic curry in English.

While the crazy kid within us wants to have yummy tasty meals without caring about calories, the strict nutritionist within the same us wants to have only healthy meals. So to satisfy these multiple personalities, the chef in me is here with a meal where taste meets health. Yes people, a spicy traditional meal where each ingredient in itself carries its own touch of flavour and health benefits is what am gonna present today.So before we could proceed to the actual recipe we'll peek through the various ingredients.

So first of all pidikarunai- well the ayurvedic world celebrates yam for its wonderful healing properties in concern with piles and hemorraghes. Be it in legiyam or curry or gravy form, yam serves its purpose in treating constipation in the right and perfect manner. Next ingredient is poondu (garlic) . The distinct smell of garlic is what makes many people to stay away from garlic but little do they know that garlic is used to reduce the sensitivity of flu, blood pressure, heart disorders and many other diseases with its highly nutritious property. If you wanna live long then do make garlic your personal assistant to detoxify you and to make you strong. Also people it has very few calories. Next on list is onions .While smell prevents us from getting closer to garlic, it is tears in case of onions. Yes people i agree that it is a tedious process, peeling them.  Even before peeling them, we'll start crying thinking of that. Yes I understand your peeling sorry feeling. But guys, its their health benefits that will make you forget that difficulty. Be it boosting your immunity, regulating blood sugar, lowering LDL cholesterol, preventing cancer onions wiil never fail you with their lavish supply of Vitamin A and C. So even when you hate any one of the above ingredients but still you wanna have the health benefits then the first thing you need to do is learn to make this pidikarunai poondu kuzhambu and also another option would be karuveppilai poondu kuzhambu ( curry leaves garlic curry).

So I guess this intro is enough for the nutritionist within you. Now coming to the foodie you, the color of the curry itself is tempting enough, such that when you have this in your lunch box you cannot wait till lunch break that you keep on looking your lunch pack and your watch  LOL ;-) The authentic flavor and aroma provided by the freshly ground south indian spices - dhaniya, venthayam (fenu greek), jeera (cumin seeds), ulunthu (urad dal) - is what all you need to forget the work tension and savour your taste buds. Save your THANKS once you try it people. Also you can substitute yam with either drumstick or brinjal and i promise all will satisfy you giving their best tastes.

So to begin, making this meal includes three parts where you should make the masala, boil yam and finally prepare the curry. So lets learn each part.

 A south indian spicy garlic curry made with boiled yam

Making of Masala

Step 1: Roast each spice separately in a heavy bottom pan  with some oil till you get a strong aroma of each ingredient namely chilli, jeera, dhaniya, venthayam and kadalai paruppu (channa dal).

Step 2: Roast it using some gingelly oil and you can adjust the number of chillies as per your need of hotness of curry.

Step 3: While roasting do be careful, since each ingredient requires different time to get roasted and over roasting can make it get charred. The main purpose of roasting is to get an intense flavor as well as perfect aroma. Also roasting removes the moisture and enables grinding into a fine texture and enhances the overall smell and taste of the meal.

Step 4: Once the spices are roasted, roast 3-4 table spoons of grated coconut until you get a golden brown color.

Step 5: Once roasted, transfer them in a dry plate and let them cool.

Step 6: Now an important point is that if you are planning to store the masala for long term basis then grind the spices first until you get a fine texture and transfer it into an airtight container. Else if you are planning to prepare the masala freshly during each meal you can grind the spices together with roasted coconut into a fine paste by adding water then and there. Remember when you have already prepared masala, you can just grind coconut into a fine paste and add it to the curry provided you've already added the masala to the curry.



Preparation of Pidikarunai/ Yam

Step 1: In a sauce pan , fill halfway through water and boil the pidikarunai in it by adding some salt.

Step 2: Parboil it in such a way that you will be able to cut the boiled pidikarunai into slices and make sure that they don't over boil. They should NOT be mashed.

Step 3: Once boiled stain the water and cut the pidikarunai into round slices and keep them aside.


Course : Side dish

Cuisine :  Indian

Preparation Time : 15 minutes

Cooking Time : 10 minutes

Servings: 3-4 people



100 Grams of Garlic

100 grams of small onions

50 ml of gingelly oil

mustard seeds and curry leaves for tempering

1/2 cup of light tamarind extract

100 grams of pidikarunai or elephant yam

salt as required

a pinch of jaggery 


For the masala

one table spoon of dhaniya

one teaspoon of venthayam (fenu greek)

one teaspoon of jeera

one teaspoon of channa dal

10 red chillies

3-4 table spoons of grated coconut



Step 1: In a heavy bottom pan or clay pot for best results, take gingelly oil. Add one teaspoon of mustard seeds. Once it pops out add 2 red chilli and curry leaves and your tempering is ready.

Step 2: Once tempered add onion and garlic and saute it. This dish requires equal amounts of onion and garlic. So to save time do peel it overnight and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Step 3: Once sauteed , such that the edges of garlic and onion turn into a golden brown color, add tamarind extract and some water so that the onion and garlic boil in it.

Step 4: When the raw smell of tamarind disappears, add the masala and coconut paste and the required amount of salt. Also add the boiled yam slices.

Step 5: Lower the flame and cover the pan with a lid and allow all the contents to blend thoroughly and uniformly.

Step 6: When the entire curry starts to emit oil so that the oil floats above giving it a bright red texture add a pinch of jaggery and  switch off the flame and your PIDIKARUNAI POONDU KUZHAMBU is ready.

 A south indian spicy garlic curry made with boiled yam

When you have no idea of what to prepare for lunch, but you have only this masala in your pantry with some brinjal or yam or drumstick in your refrigerator, then I needn't say that your menu is ready. PLAIN RICE + PIDIKARUNAI POONDU KUZHAMBU + APPALAM (CRACKERS) = A COMPLETE MEAL . Even if it is excess in quantity, you could pass it on for dinner with dosais and chappatis. With a shelf life of one week when stored in a refrigerator you could be hassle free when it comes to cooking. When you try this recipe, please do tag us #foodieadamcookieeve. We would like to see what you come up with.




Jofy Abraham
Food Stylist, Food Photographer, Food Enthusiast
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