Two of the special yams in India are Elephant Yam, and Elephant Foot Yam. Sadly, these two often get confused, even by Indian bloggers and writers. It took me quite a while and lots of conversations to sort the two out.
This Masiyal can be made with either of the two yams. I am using frozen yam as fresh ones are not available here. Its a surprising dish, incredibly delicious.
If you have any more information about these yams, please share.
This recipe is from Meenakshi Ammal in Vol 1 of her books Cook and See. The dish is made with toor dal (red gram dal) but uses lime juice instead of tamarind. Lemon juice works too, due to the same word being used for both fruits in India it is often difficult to tell which is intended. Both work well in most dishes. I like lime because it gives a tropical spark to dishes.
Elephant (Foot) Yam Masiyal with Lime Juice
175g Elephant Yam or Elephant Foot Yam
0.25 cup toor dal (red gram dal)
0.5 tspn turmeric powder
1 0nion, chopped
50ml coconut milk
juice of 1 – 1.5 limes or equivalent lemons (1 medium or less for a large lemon)
8 – 10 curry leaves
0.5 tspn brown mustard seeds
1 tspn urad dal (black gram dal)
5 – 6 green chillies, chopped
small piece of ginger, chopped
4 tspns ghee or Indian sesame oil
Cook the toor dal until very tender and disinegrating. This will take 40 – 50 mins.
Meanwhile, scrape or peel the skin from the yam and cut into small pieces. Wash thoroughly four or five times. Cook until very tender in boiling water. Drain and mash well.
Mix the turmeric powder and some salt into the mashed yam.
Heat the ghee or oil in a kadhai or small wok (or use a saucepan or frying pan). Add the mustard seeds and allow them to pop, then add the black gram dal. As the dal turns golden, add the green chillies and ginger. Saute them a little, then add the onion and saute until tender and golden.
Add the mashed yam and turmeric mixture to the onion and spices, then add the cooked dal and the asafoetida. Boil it well.
Add the coconut milk and crushed, or pinched curry leaves. Boil a little more, allowing two boilings – bring to the boil, take off the heat and let the boiling settle, then bring to the boil again. Remove from the heat. Stir in lime juice.
Serve medium thickness or prepare it a little loose to serve like a soup. Eat with Dal Rice.
recipe notes and alternatives
Coconut pieces, mixed with water and blended or ground to a paste, can be added.
When cooking the yam, if it doesn’t seem to be getting tender, add a pinch of baking soda.