'Koorka' is also called as Sheema Kizhangu/Chivakizhangu in Malayalam. Siru Kizhangu in Tamil and Sambrali in Kannada. I searched a lot on internet about different names in different regions names and uses of Koorka. This is what I got. It is called 'Chinese Potato' in English. These are tubers which are oblong or oval in shape and are around 2“long. They are dark grey or greyish brown skin and white or cream colored flesh.
Have a look at this picture.
It’s not hard to explain what Koorka is all about to a Mallu. It is every Mallu’s favorite seasonal veggie available for 3-4 months during the winter season in Kerala.
It has got a very distinct flavor. According to me, it has got a very aromatic and earthy flavor. For me it’s hard to resist, when I see them in markets, I just grab a handful and ask my husband please please !!! At last he will say OK.
Though it is good with flavor and all, difficulty comes in handy, when it comes to the cleaning part. It is a quite messy job,needs time and patience. What we require is an old jute sack piece or any piece of cloth. Just put the Koorka inside the sack piece, hold it and beat on a hard surface until its skin peels off, then scrape off the remaining skin using a knife. You might wonder what this is? but this is a usual household task in Kerala, when we get fresh ones. But it is worth trying.
Now that’s enough let me come to my recipe of 'Koorka Upperi'.
- Koorka / Chinese Potato - 1/2 Kg
- Green chilly - 2
- Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
- Turmeric powder - 1/2 Tsp
- Onion - 1 small
- Pepper powder - 1/2 Tsp
- Red chilli powder - 1/4 Tsp
- Curry Leaves - 2 Sprigs
- Mustard seeds - 1/2 Tsp
- Dry red chilly - 2
- Coconut Oil - 1 Tbsp
- Wash , clean and cut koorka into small cubes and put them in turmeric water.
- Drain i in a bowl and add grated coconut,green chilli slit, chopped onion, pepper, red chilli and tumeric powders to it and mix well with your hand/spoon.
- Heat oil in a kadai, splutter mustard seeds, add dry red chillies and curry leaves.
- Now add the prepared mix of koorka and 3/4 cup of water to it.
- Cover and cook until, koorka is cooked through and soft.
- Garnish with curry leaves.
Ways to clean and cook Koorka.
- Wash the koorka in water numerous times till the dirt and sand is completely gone.
- Just put the Koorka inside the sack piece, hold it and beat on a hard surface until its skin peels off, then scrape off the remaining skin using a knife.
- Wash and pressure cook for 1-2 whistles and peel off the skin.
- After removing the skin wash well under running water and cut them into small cube sized pieces. Put them in water until they are ready to cook to prevent them from changing colour to brown.