Yam Roast | Senai Varuval | Elephant Foot Yam Curry

Yam Roast or Elephant foot yam roast  or as we say in Tami Senai / Chenai varuval is a mild roasted dry curry which is a great side for any sambar varieties (I love it especially with Vathal Kuzhambu) and also for rasam varieties. It’s hard to find this veggie here in US, so I always keep a frozen packet of chopped yam in my freezer. Chopping this vegetable takes time. But with diced frozen pack, this curry can be prepared under 30 minutes. During weekdays, at times I opt for semi-homemade preparations and this is one among them. I prepare this at least once a week. We all love this simple and mild roast.

      SenaiFullMeals 

Yam – is a generic term used for edible tuber crops/tubers. There are different varieties of yam – Chinese yam, purple yams etc. etc.  In TN cuisine, Yam or Elephant foot yam is synonymously used for both Senai Kizhangu and Karunai Kizhangu. It is interesting that there are no unique names for these two veggies when they have unique properties.

SenaiRoast

When you search for elephant foot yam, Wikipedia lists the regional names and in Tamil it’s the senai and Hindi it’s the suran. Also for elephant foot yam, I found lot of senai recipes only.  When I searched using the term, “Yam Vegetable”, Wikipedia mentions that as Karunai Kizhangu in Tamil. This is the same naming convention I found in Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See Glossary also. It has elephant foot yam as senai and plain yam as Karunai.  But this Tamil dictionary link has the opposite. Glad, I am not the only one to do this naming research.  I found couple others who were questioning the same.

DicedYamPacket

In our household, Masiyal and Senai Varuval is one among the common recipes.  Senai is comparatively bigger than Karunai and it’s not as itchy as karunai. That’s why senai is mostly used to prepare chips, fries and roasts. Karunai Kizhangu is comparatively itchy and it is always used along with tamarind so as to reduce the itchiness. Amma usually prepares Masiyal with karunai Kizhangu. The other major thing is karunai Kizhangu when cooked turns yellowish also. Karunai Kizhangu is also called as pidi karunai. It’s a Tamil name which means yam that can be held in hand/fist. While researching this I stumbled upon this blog and liked her naming convention. She calls karunai as slender yam.

SenaiVaruval

After reading all this, obviously I was in a baffled state. Not sure what to name this curry. So went with the generic one. Y – for Yam curry. But please do let me know how to do you address these two tubers in English.  I had one more recipe for Y, but this is more apt for TN cuisine and went with this. (Sorry about the lengthy write up)

Here is the recipe,

Ingredients:

  • Frozen Diced Yam – 1 packet
  • Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Channa Dal – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves – few
  • Sambhar Podi – 1.5 tsp
  • Rice flour – 1 tsp
  • Salt – about 1.5 tsps

Steps:

  • Remove the chopped yam from the pack and soak them in water for about 10-15 minutes. This will help to remove the ice particles.
  • Now microwave them for about 8 minutes. We want them to be al-dente. Drain the water and set aside.
  • Heat the pan or kadai and add coconut oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, channa dal and urad dal.
  • As they start to splutter, add the hing and curry leaves.
  • Let them fry for about 30 second and now add the yam.

YamRoastStep1

  •  Add salt, turmeric powder and sambhar powder and Mix them well.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and let it cool till all the water evaporates.
  • Finally drizzle the rice flour on top and mix well. At this stage you can more oil and roast them to get crispier yam. I just added rice flour and reduced the heat to low and roasted them for about 10 minutes. Make sure you mix them well for every two minutes or so.

YamRoastStep2

  • That’s it. Yummy Senai curry is ready.

ElephantYamRoast

Notes:

  • The above thawing process can be done in stove top also.
  • Instead of sambhar powder, red chilly powder can be used too. Same with coconut oil, you can replace it with any regular oil of your choice.
  • Adjust the salt and spices according to your preference.
Yam Roast | Senai Varuval | Elephant Foot Yam Curry
A simple and mild Yam / Senai Kizhangu / Elephant Foot Yam roast prepared with frozen yam. A quick weekday fix & great rice accompaniment.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. Frozen Diced Yam - 1 packet
  2. Coconut Oil - 1 tbsp
  3. Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
  4. Urad dal - 1 tsp
  5. Channa Dal - 1 tsp
  6. Curry leaves - few
  7. Sambhar Podi - 1.5 tsp
  8. Rice flour - 1 tsp
  9. Salt - about 1.5 tsps
Instructions
  1. Remove the chopped yam from the pack and soak them in water for about 10-15 minutes. This will help to remove the ice particles.
  2. Now microwave them for about 8 minutes. We want them to be al-dente. Drain the water and set aside.
  3. Heat the pan or kadai and add coconut oil.
  4. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, channa dal and urad dal.
  5. As they start to splutter, add the hing and curry leaves.
  6. Let them fry for about 30 second and now add the yam.
  7. Add salt, turmeric powder and sambhar powder and Mix them well.
  8. Reduce the heat to medium and let it cool till all the water evaporates.
  9. Finally drizzle the rice flour on top and mix well. At this stage you can more oil and roast them to get crispier yam. I just added rice flour and reduced the heat to low and roasted them for about 10 minutes. Make sure you mix them well for every two minutes or so.
  10. That’s it. Yummy Senai curry is ready.
Notes
  1. The above thawing process can be done in stove top also.
  2. Instead of sambhar powder, red chilly powder can be used too. Same with coconut oil, you can replace it with any regular oil of your choice.
  3. Adjust the salt and spices according to your preference.
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24 thoughts on “Yam Roast | Senai Varuval | Elephant Foot Yam Curry

  1. Same pinch — I made yam fry too and I buy the same frozen yam :-) Using frozen yam sure makes the life easy — love this crispy and delicious curry.

  2. usha

    It was indeed a day of yam!! Yam roast looks very nice. Those frozen packets do save a lot of time when preparing yam dishes.

  3. I use yam ordinary for karunai, which I came up during a name research at my early days of blogging. And this senai is called as elephant foot yam. This varuval is my all time favourite..

    • Yeah Gayathri.. That’s what I saw in Meenakshi Ammal’s cook book too. I didn’t prepare anything with Y.. It was too late, so went with this one. :-) Its our favorite too. Thanks a lot. :-)

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