Chembu Asthram / Taro Root Curry


Chembu asthram is a typical Kerala dish that is served as part of an offering, along with kanji (rice gruel), muthira puzhukku (horse gram stir-fry) and mango pickle, during kumbha bharani festival in Chettikulangara, Kerala. It is so easy to prepare and makes a great accompaniment with rice/ kanji. Here’s the recipe:


Ingredients (Serves 5 – 6)

1. Chembu / taro root / colocasia – 6 – 7, small

2. Green chillies – 2 – 3, slit

Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

Chilly powder – 1 tsp

Salt – To taste

Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Kudam puli / cocum – 2 or to taste, soaked in warm water and torn to pieces (You can replace it with tamarind or 1/2 – 3/4 cup curd  if you want)

3. Grated coconut – 1.5 cup

Pearl onions – 3 – 4, small

Cumin seeds – 1/4 – 1/2 tsp

4. Pearl onions – 4 – 5

Curry leaves – 1 sprig

5. Oil, preferably coconut oil – 2 – 3 tsp

6. Salt – To taste


1. Grind the grated coconut along with pearl onions and cumin seeds to a very fine paste.

2. Peel the taro roots and wash them. Cut them into slightly large cubes. Cook them covered, at medium-low heat, along with ingredients numbered 2, adding enough water.

3. When the taro root pieces are done (do not overcook them), add the ground coconut paste. Mix well. (If you are adding yoghurt instead of kudam puli, add it now). Cook for 1 – 2 minutes at low heat until the raw taste of coconut is gone. Taste check for salt. Switch off.

4. Heat 2-3 tsp coconut oil in a small pan. Fry pearl onions until light brown. Now add curry leaves. Fry until the pearl onions turn brown. Pour on top of the curry. Close with a lid and keep aside for 15 mts. Serve with kanji / rice.

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  1. Boo…hooo… I want kanji and asthram….
    and maya, pls visit my blog and collect ur award….

  2. This dish is new to me. Sounds nice with rice combination

    Hamaree Rasoi

  3. I have never cooked with taro root before. I guess it is alittle bit like yucca?? Curry looks rich and creamy.

  4. i love chembu….but i used to fry…this looks yummy curry!!

  5. Taro roots are my fav looks delicious!

  6. This recipe/Name is new to me..
    I just know one recipe with Chembu…Chembu Puzhukku!!Now I know two:-)
    The laddle is sooo nostalgic…

  7. wow yummy version,will try it…Thanks for sharing.

  8. Looks so delicious curry..

  9. The gravy looks so creamy n appetizing..great recipe!

    US Masala

  10. OMG,it looks gorgeous and creamy…

  11. Your recipes is different .I am going to try and let u know

  12. Yummy recipe:)

  13. ആഹാ ചെമ്പ് അസ്ത്രം എത്തിയോ!!! അടിപൊളി !!! കല്യാണിക്കുട്ടിക്ക് ചെമ്പ് അസ്ത്രവും കഞ്ഞിയും ഉണ്ടേല്‍ പിന്നെ കുശാലാ …

  14. Ah! what a coincidence, even I have posted a recipe with taro today at my blog..Your recipe sounds new to me, must try your way sometime….thanks for sharing!

  15. Adipoli, enikum epol kanji kudikan thoanu, Beautiful pictures maya..

  16. chembu asthram looks delicious. adipoli try cheyanam

  17. Adipoli,looks so tempting,ethu kandittu kothiyavunnu,must try this

  18. Woww taro root curry looks absolutely inviting..

  19. Quite new to me. Looks absolutely delicious.


  20. Hadn’t had this in a long time and had completely
    forgotten how to make this.Thanks to you people now I can make this without calling Amma in the middle of the night.

  21. looks delicious…my mom’s and MIl’s version has yogurt in it

  22. Tried the asthram for lunch today. Both me & my hubby loved it…

  23. aha adipoli ithu kittiyirunnenkil njan otta irippinu teerthene sueprb click also superb as usual

  24. Thank you all for your lovely comments :)

    @ Rusheeda,
    Thanks for trying it out dear, am really happy that you both loved it :).

  25. ah………… y’day i made this,my lil boy drank kanji twice with chembu mom used 2 make this back home.

  26. Thanks for your feedback, Raj :)

  27. Tempting click maya!kurenalai kazhichittu.evide kittarilla…

  28. Delicious and wonderful. You have a nice blog

  29. my mom used to make it..feeling nostalgic. looks so perfectly made…nice clicks too.

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