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Tarul Ko Tarkari (Himalayan Yam Curry)

A simple but richly spiced curry, this Nepali recipe from Santosh Shah can be made with any kind of yam you have to hand.

From the book

Santosh Shah


Tarul (Himalayan yam) is a long and short thin root that grows deep into the ground with only a short vine on the surface. It is a tradition to find the vine and plant a coloured stick next to it. The yam is ready to dig up when the vine has grown up around the stick. Each digger has his own personalized coloured stick. No one would dare steal a root from another digger.

The flesh of the yam is fibrous and perfect to absorb the flavour of a curry. You can also use purple yam or African yam for this recipe.

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500g (18oz) Himalayan, purple or African yam
1½ tbsp vegetable oil
1½ tsp ginger paste
1½ tsp garlic paste
⅛ tsp hing (asafoetida)
¼ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder, or medium hot chilli powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground coriander
100g (3½oz) tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
To serve:
bhat (plain rice)
natural (plain) Greek yogurt
Tama Ko Achar (Bamboo Shoot Pickle, see page 152 of Ayla)
Hariyo Khursani Ko Achar (Green Chilli Pickle, see page 152 of Ayla)


Peel the yam, cut into 2.5-cm (1-in) chunks. Keep in a bowl, covered with water to avoid discoloration while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Drain and pat dry before use.

Heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan with a lid. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and cook for a couple of minutes, until soft. Add the hing and turmeric and immediately after, add the yam and salt and cook for 2–3 minutes, until the yam pieces are slightly golden.

Add the chilli powder, cumin and ground coriander and cook for another 2–3 minutes. Then add the tomatoes, cover and cook for 3–4 minutes.

Remove the lid, sprinkle with the fresh coriander, cover, turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 1 minute.

Serve hot with rice, yogurt and pickles.

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From the book: Ayla: A Feast of Nepali Dishes from Terai, Hills and the Himalayas

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