Chama-Dumpa Pulusu

Arbi/Taro Root Stew


Pulusu(stew) means sauce or gravy dish, cooked with vegetables or lentils with tamarind sauce, jaggery and spices. This traditional dish is cooked almost everyday (in some homes it’s a must dish), which are frequently cooked during rainy and winter seasons as it’s much easy to prepare with the available vegetables or just with lentils. Usually stews are accompanied with plain dal (mudda pappu, in Telugu), dry or semi dry curry (which is reffered as vepudu in telugu)along with generous servings of ghee (clarified butter), it is hearty and filling.

Chama dumpa (in Telugu) , Arbi (in Hindi) is more commonly known as Colocasia (scientific name), also referred as Taro

root. Taro root is a tropical plant grown primarily as a vegetable food for its edible corm, and secondarily as a leaf vegetable (wiki). Both the leaves and roots are used a lot in Indian cooking. Famous dish made out of taro leaves in Northern part of India is Patra. In Southern part of India the edible corm (root) is cooked (similar way other root vegetables are cooked, like potatoes with skin on) and then shallow fried and spiced up with chilli powder and salt. Taro root is little sticky and slippery after cooked, which is really suitable for gravy curries and stews.

Chama dumpa pulusu is a spicy stew spiced up with chillies and seasoning, sweetened by jaggery and caramelized onions, sourness with tamarind and tomatoes, while the sambar powder enhances its flavor.


8-10 Taro Root
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
1 medium tomato (chopped)
1-2 tsp tomato paste (optional)
2-3 green chillies (slit)
2-3 tbsp tamarind paste
1-2 tbsp jaggery
½ tsp turmeric powder
Red chilli powder according to taste

½ tbsp sambar powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves

For seasoning
2 tbsp oil
1 whole red chilli (broken)
½ tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp methi seeds
Pinch of hing
Few curry leaves


Heat ½ tbsp oil in a small frying pan and add red chilli, methi & mustard seeds, and hing, allow the mustard seeds to

crackle. Add the curry leaves and remove from heat. Keep aside.

Taro root is pretty hard and takes little longer to cook. I use a pressure cooker to cook them quicker. It takes approx. 10 – 15 min to cook them completely. Cool, peel and dice them and keep aside. Heat the remaining oil in a shallow pan and add onions, green chillies and fry until the onions turn translucent. Now stir in turmeric powder, chilli powder and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add tomato paste and fry for 1 minute. To this mixture add chopped tomatoes, jaggery, tamarind paste, salt and turn the heat to medium low and let the mixture cook for 4-5 minutes, stir in the taro root pieces and gently mix. Let the mixture cook for another 3-5 minutes with the lid on. Add water (approx 1 ½ to 2 cups) adjust the seasoning and bring it to a boil with the lid off. Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat to low and cook for 8-10 minutes again with the lid on. Stir in the sambar powder and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in the fried seasoning and garnish with coriander leaves. Turn off the heat.

Serve hot with rice, dal and papad.

Notes and Tips

Do not over cook the taro root as they become gooey and will spoil the dish. Adjust the flavours to suit your taste, you can use sugar to subtitute jaggery but the taste will be very different.


22 Responses to “Chama-Dumpa Pulusu”

  1. July 28, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    Sambhar or pulusu looks so delicious.I tried Taro root once,didn’t like it much but I love the recipe other veggies.Thanks P:)

  2. July 29, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    hmm looks delicious 🙂 i love taro root usually our favorite is raita..

  3. July 30, 2007 at 11:57 am

    Oh wow …lovely looking hot steaming sambar girl. I love Taro root. We call it Kesavina gadde. But I hardly find any fresh ones here. Frozen don’t taste half as good as the fresh ones. But beggars cannot be choosers right? Lovely recipe buddy.

  4. July 30, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    Thanks Asha, Is this the same Asha (FH) ?

    Thanks Roopa, I never tried raita with taro root.

    Dear Seema, Chinese n Korean stores carry taro root. I buy my vegetables from Korean market. If you have one near to ur place you can try there. Lucky me I always get fresh one’s:).

  5. July 31, 2007 at 9:24 am

    hey, liked this new variation on arbi a lot, looks so delicious.

  6. July 31, 2007 at 10:14 am

    Hi Shivapriya, looks very healthy!

  7. July 31, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks Richa, give it a try.

    Thanks Poonam.

  8. July 31, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    the color of that pulusu drives me crazy. the picture is very nice and tempting. true color of pulusu.

  9. July 31, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    I am not seeing you posting very frequently. Hope every one is doing well now.
    Andhra vantalatho adaragoduthunnara?

  10. August 1, 2007 at 6:08 am

    Nice to see you back with those yummy yummy posts…:),
    By the way…
    You have been Tagged for a meme by me!!..go through my tag post,when you have time :)!!

  11. August 1, 2007 at 10:51 am

    Thanks Sharmi.

    No probs suma. Everyone is fine now.

    Thanks Bharaty, Hope ur sis is doing well now. Thanks for tagging me, will do it sometime. I hope that’s fine:).

  12. August 2, 2007 at 8:50 am

    I like your curry. I have not tried Taro roots before. BUt I plan to make your drumstick sabzi soon

  13. August 2, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    although i love taro roots i feel too lazy to clean it and peel 😉 so i wait for my trip to india where my mom n mil cook them for me 😀 wish i could taste some right from the screen

  14. August 2, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Good Luck Sandeepa, Make sure to get tender drumsticks, also lots of tomatoes for gravy as drumsticks absorb all the juices.

    Grab a spoon and dig it Sia;). Taro root I get here are already clean, so I messy job down:D

  15. August 5, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    Hi padmaja
    ma amma chjesedi ilage.Looking so delicious!!!
    by the way i have tried your tomato maggiga pulusu and noolkol perugu curry..they are too good.thanks for sharing.

  16. August 6, 2007 at 9:44 am

    I did hear for a lot of my friends that Korean stores carry a lot of indian veggies. I don’t think I am lucky enough to have a korean stores close to my place. Will try to find it in Asian market. Hope you had a lovely weekend.

  17. August 6, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    gravy type of food with taro root is new to me. I usually make fries with this vegetable. Looks very nice .

  18. August 6, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    Thanks Swapna, I’m sure ur mom’s tastes much delicious than mine. I’m really glad that u enjoyed majjaga pulusu and noolkol curry.

    Seema even chinese stores carry taro root and I have seen them in safeway (american store).
    We went to NY for my cousin’s grad party , met all my family. I had great time.

    Prema, this is a typical andhra dish, there are couple of more dishes with taro root, will post it sometime. EVen we make fry with taro root and fav way to eat it with ghee rice:).

  19. August 8, 2007 at 10:03 am

    WOW….This is my all time fav….Love them….excellent recipe

  20. August 10, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    That’s a nice way of using taro root.Very nice pic !

  21. August 20, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    You dint take up my tag? its OK..!!
    By the way,A pleasant surprise is awaiting you in my JFI-post.Pick them up when time permits:)!!
    I dont see any updations lately…Hope you are doing fine..:)

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