Chamadumpa Pulusu-Taro Root Tamarind Stew

A Pulusu in Telugu, my native language means a stew.  A pulusu for me is very reminiscent of my grandmom. These are recipes passed down from my grandmom to my mom and to me. I have actually never formally learned cooking from my mom or grandmom, but I have always spent countless hours on the kitchen counter telling them stories while they have been cooking and somewhere subconsciously the procedures and the processes recorded in my mind. Some recipes I’ve kept intact and some I’ve improvised using my culinary knowledge.
There is something about Indian recipes that comes naturally to us yet the rest of the world find it hard to get. Most recipes around the world are focused on the concepts of acidity, texture, silkiness, smoothness, creaminess etc … of the dish.Indian food combines plenty of spices to arrive at a dish. The same set of spices added at different times in a dish can produce different results and it’s almost impossible to standardize a recipe in Indian Cuisine.
The reason I’m talking about these balance of flavors here is- Andhra stews run on the basis of the 6 tastes as described in Ayurveda – astringency from the onion and turmeric, the pungency from the chili peppers and ginger and garlic, the tartness from the tamarind, the bitterness from the methi and the sweetness from the jaggery and of course the salt. These 6 tastes combine to form balanced nutrition and a healthy meal.
There are myriad varieties of stews in Andhra Cuisine made with eggs, okra, eggplant, fish, plantain, Taro root etc.Chamadumpa Pulusu is such a stew in which taro root pieces are simmered in a tamarind sauce until thick and luscious.The culmination of these tastes makes it an ultimate comfort food for the fall and winter seasons.
Have you made or indulged in this kind of stew yet?If yes, comment and let me know what did you think of it and which one has been your favorite?
Preparation time 40 minutes
Serves 6
Serving Size 1 serving
Calories Per Serving Approximately 130 per serving
Difficulty Medium


6 -8 Taro roots(chamadumpalu)
1/2 cup Onions chopped
2 medium Tomato chopped
1/2 teaspoon Tamarind paste
1 teaspoon Red chilli powder
 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric powder
 salt to taste
1 tablespoon  oil
1/2 teaspoon methi powder
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
 2 teaspoon jaggery
1 stem curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1.Pressure cook the Taro in water for 2 whistles.Peel and cut them into 1/2 inch slices.

2.In a pan heat the oil and add cumin, mustard and curry leaves and let splutter.

3.Add the onion and green chili and saute for 5 minutes on medium flame.

4.Add ginger garlic paste, turmeric and saute for 2 minutes.

5.Add tomatoes and let cook until soft.

6.Add 3 cups of water, tamarind, jaggery, methi powder, salt and red chili powder and let come to a boil.Add the taro root pieces to the pan and cover with the lid and let cook on medium- high flame for about 10 minutes until gravy thickens and turn off the stove.

You can refrain from adding the chili powder if it’s already spicy enough for you.
The intensity of spices differs from household to household so tamarind and jaggery etc can be balanced according to your taste.
Taro skin can cause itching to some people, so use gloves while peeling the skin.

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