Arbi Tikkis: Deep fried Colocasia Nuggets with Yogurt Dip
It’s really hot in this part of the world right now. Metabolisms are sluggish, and kitchens are too hot to cook anything in. I have been on a primarily salad/fruit/yogurt diet. But once in a while, I crave my diabetes-enemies, the carb family. In this miserable weather, I do not miss chappatis at all. I could also live without rice. Or noodles. Potatoes can go take a walk. But I love carb-laden chaat. Who doesn’t? (Well, MK doesn’t. But then, he’s never home for lunch.) I can eat yogurt-based carb-heavy chaats everyday. I love the marriage of the tangy, the sweet, the hot, and the starchy. Perfect meal in a bowl. And for them, I am willing to stand in my oven-hot kitchen over a pan of hot oil, armed with a slotted spoon.
The other day, I realized I had a pack of colocasia tubers (arbi) lying around. And if I didn’t use them immediately, they’d start sprouting, and Mrs. B would give me that look again. At the same time, I was talking to someone about Aloo Took, the Sindhi version of potato nuggets. I had always wanted to make this, and the aging Arbi gave me the perfect opportunity. Except, I didn’t have the guts to double-fry.
I was very happy with the result—nuggets that were crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and a cool, aromatic dip in which to dunk them. I urge you to try it. It will make for perfect game food/starter. Or as a side with simple daal-chawal. Or, a dangerous meal by itself.
Ingredients for Colocasia/Arbi nuggets:
- About 15 tubers of Colocasia/Arbi (Of similar sizes and shapes)
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp. castor sugar
- ½ tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 tp. red chili powder
- 1 tsp. cumin seed powder
- 1 tsp. tamarind paste (I used one from a pack) or a squeeze of half a lime. Alternatively, sprinkle the nuggets with 1 tsp. of amchoor (dry mango) powder at the end.
- Vegetable oil for deep/shallow frying
Ingredients for yogurt dip:
- 1 cup natural yogurt
- Salt to taste
- ¼ tsp. cumin seed powder
- ¼ tsp. red chili powder
Method for Colocasia/Arbi nuggets:
- Wash, peel, and parboil the colocasia tubers in slightly salted water. Drain and cool completely.
- When completely cool, flatten each tuber slightly between the palms of your hands.
- Rub with the tamarind paste or squeeze the lemon juice (if using).
- Mix the rest of the dry ingredients—the cornstarch, cumin seed powder, red chili powder, salt, sugar, and turmeric powder.
- Heat the oil.
- Toss the flattened tubers in the dry ingredient mix and fry to a golden hue.
- Drain on kitchen paper and serve piping hot with a sprinkling of cilantro and a side of the yogurt dip.
Method for yogurt dip:
- Mix all the ingredients and decant into a bowl. Serve with hot colocasia nuggets.