Tips On How To Cook Suran And 5 Yam Dishes To Try

India has many wonderful regional vegetables to explore during the winter and one that often gets sidelined is the poor Suran. Also known as Elephant Foot Yam, Jimikand or Ole, it’s considered an essential part of Laxmi Puja festivities, but doesn’t get much love outside its religious uses. This could be down to the fact that suran can causing itching, both on the hands and in the throat when prepared incorrectly.

Why Is Suran Itchy?

The skin of Elephant foot yam contains small crystals of calcium oxalate and saponins. These substances are present in large quantities in both the skin and inner parts of the vegetable. When the yam is cut, these crystals come out and can lead to a minor allergic reaction, causing skin itching and oral toxicity (itchiness in the throat and mouth) when ingested. To alleviate this, washing slices of Elephant foot yam in tamarind water or buttermilk can help reduce throat and mouth itchiness.

The best way to avoid any discomfort while making or eating Suran is to ensure that you follow some basic precautions while preparing it.

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Tips To Cook Suran

Do Not Wash Them First:

When you wash or rinse suran, it’s more likely to drip and spread the uncomfortable particles, causing more itching. So ensure you peel and clean it thoroughly. The skin can be tough, so use a sharp knife and remove it carefully. 

Soak Them Before Cooking

To remove more of the toxins, soak the yam in water with a pinch of turmeric to reduce its itchiness and aid in the removal of any potential toxins. 

Choose the Right Cooking Method:

Boiling or steaming is a good initial step, making the yam tender and reducing cooking time for subsequent methods such as frying or currying. Avoid overcooking, as suran can become mushy.

Texture Matters:

If you're stir-frying or sautéing, cut the yam into uniform, bite-sized pieces to ensure even cooking. Adjust cooking times based on your desired level of tenderness – some prefer a firmer texture, while others prefer a softer consistency.

5 Dishes To Cook With Suran

1. Kanda Attu:

Originating from Andhra Pradesh, this distinctive South Indian dosa uses suran as its primary ingredient. Accompanying this dosa are a variety of condiments, ranging from coconut chutney to tomato-peanut chutney, idli podi, sambar, or a zesty potato curry, providing a versatile and flavorful dining experience.

2. Surananche Kaap:

This Maharashtrian delicacy achieves a perfect balance between a soft centre and a crispy outer layer by coating the boiled yam with a dry coating, often comprising rice flour and rava. The culinary process enhances the yam's natural flavours, resulting in a delightful snack or side dish with a satisfying crunch.

3. Kadle Suran Bhaji:

This classic Mangalorean side dish is known for its spiciness with a touch of sweetness, this dish frequently graces festive and special occasion meals in Mangalore. Infused with the distinctive Kundapur masala, the flavour profile ranges from tangy-sour to sweet-spicy.

4. Suran Chutney:

A popular side dish in Bihar showcases the versatility of suran. Rich in Vitamin C and potassium, this chutney is a nutritious addition to meals and is especially prevalent during winters and served with poori, paratha, roti, or rice.

5. Suvarnagadde Palya

This suran stir fry, is a dish that embraces the earthy goodness of elephant foot yam. Commonly prepared in South Indian households, this sabzi offers a hearty and wholesome experience with a touch of crispiness.