Yam Pickle: Pickle That Can Stir Up An Appetite
Image Credit: Yam pickle is a great appetizer | Instagram - @udupirecipe

It's always great to introduce diversity to our everyday food palette, whether it's in the form of vegetables or pickles. Not only does it let us experience a wide range of tastes but also contributes to our gut microbiome. And what better way to begin this than Yam Pickle or Surna Adgai from the Udupi household? The earthy and rustic-tasting yam is seasoned with salt and deep fried. The entire magic however lies in the blazing hot, spicy and tangy ground masala that comprises spicy red chillies, fenugreek and coriander seeds. The deep red cooked ground masala or the dressing of the pickle not just looks tempting but also when mixed with yam transforms it into a pickle with a racy flavour.

Knowing The Tuber Yam

Yam is a tuber with high starch content just like potatoes and sweet potatoes and resembles the latter in appearance. However, taste wise it's earthy and neutral, unlike sweet potatoes. Yam can easily inherit the flavour of the spices and seasonings with which it's cooked and seasoned. This tuber vegetable is originally cultivated in temperate and tropical regions including Africa, South America and Asia. 

The yam pickle is called in Karnataka Surna Adgai, where Surna is the word for yam, and Adgai means spiced pickle. It is eaten with normal meals as well as alongside dosa and idlis. Some more food items cooked with yam or Surna in Karnataka are Kadle Suran with black chickpeas, Surna Bhaji, Surna Koota, a coconut-based chutney with fried yams and Suvarna Gadde Palya, elephant yam stir fry.

Yam pickle - Picture credits : Instagram - @delicioustreats4u

Cooking: 25 minutes

Servings: 100 gm pickle


  • 1 cup of chopped yam (suran) - a small piece
  • 1 ½ tsp salt 
  • 10-15 red chillies 
  • 5-6 spicy red chillies
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds 
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida 
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds 
  • A lemon-sized tamarind 
  • Water as needed
  • Oil 


  • Take a small piece of yam and chop it into small pieces.
  • Add salt to it and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, the yam will release water. Squeeze moisture from the yam and keep it aside.
  • Deep fry yam in hot oil in slow heat. When the colour changes a bit, take out the yam on tissue paper.
  • In another pan, take red chillies, spicy red chillies, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and coriander seeds. To this add oil and roast everything on low flame until the chillies become crisp.
  • Transfer these spices into a blending jar. Add tamarind and asafoetida to it and grind everything without adding water into a coarse mixture.
  • Then add water to this and grind again into a fine paste.
  • Transfer this paste to a pan, adjust the salt and cook on low flame for about 8 minutes or until the paste thickens.
  • Transfer the cooked masala paste into the bowl, add fried yams to it and mix well.
  • Temper it with mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida.

Surna Adgai is originally Konkani-style pickles that stay fresh for longer when stored in the fridge. Without storing in the fridge it would last for 2-3 days. Eat your regular meals with this uncommon pickle.