Yam chutney (Surna koot)

Elephant foot yam or suran/surnu is grown widely at my native. This root is used in a wide variety of dishes in Konkani cooking. We used to grow them a lot in our backyard. I still remember my grandfather used to take out these roots carefully and wash them and store to be used throughout the year.

I never had the courage to use this root in my cooking, mainly because some of the roots cause strong itching to hands after cutting them. So aayi applies thick ‘tamarind juice’ to hand after cutting them to overcome the itching (apply thick juice and leave it for 5mins then wash hands).

I had no idea how to pick up these roots or what they are called here. When Aruna told me about ‘yam’, I searched for them in Chinese market, but they looked very different than the one we got in India. It was white from inside unlike the suran which is reddish in color. Still when I prepared this traditional dish, it tasted great. Recently I saw ‘frozen suran’ in Indian store. So next time, I will try this dish with authentic suran :).

Raw jackfruit(kadgi or chakko) koot is also prepared on similar lines. I will post the recipe seperately.

Suran (cut into tiny pieces) 1/2 cup
Coconut 1 cup
Mustard seeds 1 tea spn
Methi (fenugreek) seeds 1/4 tea spn
Asafoetida a pinch
Red chilies 4-5
oil 1 and 1/2 tea spns
Curry leaves 4-5
Tamarind 1/2 tea spn

Mix 1 tea spn of salt with the pieces and leave them for 30mins. Squeeze out the water off suran pieces and wash them in water for once or twice. Heat 1/2 tea spn of oil and fry them on a low flame till they become almost black and crunchy.

Heat 1/2 tea spn of oil and add 1/2 tea spn mustard. When it starts popping, add methi seeds and asafoetida. Grind this with coconut, red chilies((fry the chilies in oil along with mustard and methi, if they have become soft. This will help in grinding them to smooth paste) and tamarind to chutney consistency. Add salt (suran pieces will retain some salt from the previous step, so take care not to add too much salt).

Heat remaining oil and add mustard seeds. When they start popping up, add curry leaves. Add this seasoning to the chutney.

Just before serving, add the fried suran pieces to the chutney. (Take care not to add hot suran pieces to chutney. It spoils the chutney soon. So cool the pieces to room temperature before mixing).

Serves : 3
Preparation time : 20mins

20 thoughts on “Yam chutney (Surna koot)”

  1. Shilpa …a quick question about the bisibele bath you made with avlakki. If using pressure cooker, what would be the qty of water to be used and how many ‘whistles’ do you need to wait for?

  2. Preeti, Just take one whistle in cooker for daal and vegetables. Then continue remaining steps in microwave/stove since the poha might get completely mashed if cooked in cooker. Use around 3 cups of water in cooker for 1 cup of daal, but again, you might have to add some more water to get it to required consistency. Since I had not used cooker, I might be wrong in exact measurements.

  3. Hi Shilpa …..I donno why last few days, i have been missing kadgi a lot. I have seen in Indian store but they are not as raw and firm as required for koot, chako and ghassi. I have never pur the canned, so no idea how they are. You pictures have come out excellent. I guess you have the right red chilli now. The frozen yam which is by “deep foods” is cut into cubes. Maybe i need to cut it fine when it comes to normal temperature. Thanks a lot for sharing. I was waiting to talk to my mom abt this, but you posted it.

  4. Shilpa …..You read my mind and posted it. I had some frozen yam, from “Deep Foods” which is pre-cut into cubes. This was on my traditional list of recipes which i wanted to check with my mom. Now i have it readily avble. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I tried the bisibele bath…it was awesome. I probably soaked the poha a bit too much while washing..so it blend in with the rest ….will be careful next time. But using a cooker makes it easy!

  6. Thanks Preeti, Aruna.
    Rajasi, Shynee, Krithika, MT, let me know if you like this dish.
    Supriya, I was very much confused when I saw that link in wiki :(. I thought it is maddi (a kind of colocasia roots available in India, they are long and are white from inside as shown in the picture. But colocasia roots are called ‘taro’ here, so I am again confused now). I don’t think elephant root yam (suran) is available here in US (except Indian store).

  7. Chutney with yam.. yumm! Never tried chutney with suran till now..
    I have similar memories associated with suran, my mum always used the fresh picked suran in her cooking.
    First time I tried cooking with yam turned out to be a nightmare since I didn’t know that I am supposed to rub buttermilk/oil on my hands before I handled yam. I still can’t forget that day 🙂

  8. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I tried this with frozen suran from Indian store. It came out well. You are doing a wondeful job. Thanks and keep it up.

  9. Folks, can somebody share with me the recipe for ‘kaal palya’ – dharwad/hubli style, made with black channa dal/kadle kaalu. I have had it in some restaurants in Bangalore, but cannot replicate the taste. I think the one I tried had ‘dill/subzige soppu’ in it…I might be mistaken though. Ofcourse, I cannot make it authentic no matter what because it has ‘huchchellu’!! But the rest of the ingredients will be helpful. Thanks

  10. Hey guys, can you guys tell me what can I do when the yam makes me itchy? My hands are itchy after touching it.. It will make me itch.. Like these (ex. cutting, blending, chopping..) All those… Pleas tell me what to do when yam makes me itch.. Thank you

    Shilpa: You can apply little oil to your hand while handling yam. Apply some salt to hands after the work is done. Do NOT touch water at any point while cutting yams. After you apply salt, you can wash hands.

  11. Hi,

    Senai kizhanku ( in tamil), is one of my all time favorite, which i miss in US. I had seen the one you are talking about, the chinese market ( i thought, its thai, because it was near tofu). I ll sure try that, next time.

    Can you confirm the name, they call, that would be of great help.


    Shilpa: Sorry, I don’t know. Don’t know any Chinese names. I buy these from Indian store these days(frozen section). They are called Suran

  12. wonderful recipe !!!!!!!!!! i m just making t for my hubby. he luvs yam so much . thanks a lot for posting this colourful n different recipe

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