Surna Koot | Spicy Konkani style yam pickle

Elephant yam or Surnu is my favourite vegetable since childhood and my birthday lunch would always include Surna upkari or stir fried elephant yam which Amma never forgot to make. Her love made it even tastier. I can never make it that way. ❤️

During festive occasions, this elephant yam pickle or Surna koot is commonly made by my husband’s aunt and is my absolute favourite. She is an expert cook and my Guru who introduced me to cooking post marriage (before that, I was a Amma’s baby who was hardly allowed inside the kitchen 😍).

But after marriage, I learnt a lot from my husband’s aunt or mhave as I call her. The way she cooks so lovingly for everyone taking care of everyone’s likes and dislikes has been an inspiration for me.

So here’s sharing the recipe for the pickle. We love it a lot and I regularly make it when I get elephant yam. Hope you all try and love it too. Happy and healthy cooking!



2 Cups finely chopped Elephant Yam/ Chena/ Soornu

Salt to taste

2 Tbsp Oil ( to fry the yam)

For the masala paste:

5 to 6 dried Kashmiri red chillies or to taste

1 tsp Tamarind paste

1/2 tsp Hing or Asafoetida powder

1/2 tsp Coriander seeds + 1 tsp Mustard seeds + 1/2 tsp Methi seeds {to be fried in 1 tsp oil}

For the seasoning:

2 tsp Oil

1 tsp Mustard seeds

A sprig of Curry leaves

Step by step recipe:

1. Heat oil in a pan and add the finely chopped Elephant Yam pieces along with salt.

2. Fry till the pieces turn crisp. Keep aside. You can deep fry instead. But I prefer shallow frying it.

3. Take dried red chillies, tamarind paste, hing in a mixer. Fry coriander seeds, methi and mustard seeds in little oil. Cool and add to the mixer.

4. Add little water and grind to a smooth paste.

5. Heat oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds. Add curry leaves and fry till it turns crisp. Now add the ground paste. Allow it to come to a boil.

6. Now add the shallow fried elephant yam pieces and allow to cook till the pieces turn soft. Also add salt if needed.

7. Adjust water and add red chilli powder if needed. Remove from flame. Serve with rice meals.


* In this recipe, usually the yam pieces are deep fried after applying salt. You can do it too but since I don’t like deep frying, I shallow fry it till it turns crisp. Though it takes time, it is to avoid the extra oil.

* You can adjust salt, water and red chilli powder towards the end to make it as spicy or as thick or thin as you like. It’s usually had like a semi thick gravy with rice meals.

* We enjoy it with our Matta rice gruel (congee or pej) and it’s a comforting soulfood.


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