Karkalo ko Tarkari
Prepared mostly during the festival of Teej and Panchami in Nepal, Karkalo ko Tarkari (Colocasia leaf curry) is made as a gravy to be eaten with rice by the women especially on the occasion of Panchami. Although it is tasty, it is quite difficult to cut and clean the vegetable. Also, some people might be allergic to the plant and suffer skin irritation like itching or scratching even if they only touch the plant. People usually apply cooking salt on their hands to reduce the effects of itching.
The presence of toxic calcium oxalate crystals, mostly as raphides, makes this plant unhealthy to be eaten raw or uncooked, however, the cooked plant is completely safe. It is very popular food eaten by females during the Panchami and is considered as a tradition to eat this plant during the festival. Although cooking it is pretty simple and requires comparatively less ingredients, Karkalo, also known as Taro, should be handled with great care while being cleaned or cut.
5 Colocasia or taro leaves with steam (karkalo ko bot)
5 Colocasia or taro leaves (tender ones/karkaloko gava)
3 Colocasia or taro root (pidalu)
2 tbsp Mustard oil
½ tbsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
½ tbsp Jimmu (optional)
½ tbsp cumin powder
½ tbsp coriander powder
¼ tsp turmeric
2 whole red chilies
1 cup small green peas
1 tsp Lemon or lime juice
Salt and red chili powder to taste
First of all, peel the skin of the Pidalu and cut it into your desired shape. Then, wash the karkalo leaves and keep them aside for few minutes. Also, wash the tender leaves and keep them aside for few minutes. After the leaves are dry, roll and wrist them into loose knots and tuck both ends to form rounds. Then take the fibers off the steam and cut them your desired shape.
Now, heat oil in a pan and add fenugreek seeds, jimmu and red chilies into it. Then, add the taro and small green peas into the pan and stir it. Then add turmeric powder and then salt and mix it all well. Now, cover the mixture and cook. It starts to ooze water. Let the water dry and after that, add cumin, coriander and red chili powder. The food smells delicious after the water dries out, then add lemon juice and mix it well. Your karkalo ko Tarkari is ready to be served with rice.