Chembu (Colocasia, Taro) curry



Chembu is used widely in Kerala in a wide variety of recipes.This is a starchy vegetable and is quite delicious steamed, fried or smothered with seasonings. This is found growing in most homes in Kerala and thrive without any attention.

This is a simple recipe that goes well with rice.


Chembu – 1 cup ( Remove the skin and cut into small pieces)chembu-diced.jpg

Turmeric powder- 1/3 tsp

Salt- to taste

Coconut grated- 1/2 cup

Green chilies- 4 (Add more if you like it with more heat)

Cumin – 1/3 tsp.

Tamarind- one tablespoon. Mix well with some water to obtain tamarind extract. Discard the seeds.


Cook the diced chembu with the turmeric powder and salt with about 1 cup water, over medium flame.

While the chembu is cooking, grind the coconut, chilies and cumin to a smooth paste.

Once the chembu is cooked, add the coconut mixture to it and cook on low heat.

When the chembu curry starts to boil, add the tamarind extract and mix well. Turn off and keep covered for a few minutes.

In a seperate small pan, add oil. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds.

As mustard seeds start to pop, add the shallots and curry leaves and fry till they turn brown.

Pour this over the curry. Mix well. Adjust salt.


Serve warm with rice.


Note:  Chembu  can get mushy if overcooked.

25 responses »

  1. I never peel taro before cooking. Its much easier once they cooked. Also, I prepare only dry curries. This one looks creamy and comforting. I will try this 🙂

  2. when we boil the chembu. most of it gets salted and eaten before going into any curry. 😀

    Bee, I have 2 leftover chembu, guess how it will be eaten?

  3. Is Cassava and Taro are the same? Looks like the same, not sure. Makes one delicious gravy!:)

    Cassava and taro are not the same. Cassava looks like this . It is longer and is not as hairy as taro.

  4. oh that mallu version you described, where it is boiled with skin on and and eaten with crushed chillis, yummm…. that is the only way I like chembu… This curry looks delicious though…

    Chembu curry was made rarely at our home and hence a craving for it whenever I think of it. Boiled chembu with chammanthi is awesome.

  5. yummm!!! Getting to see a whole lot of kerala dishes in all the blogs… Love the picture.

    The mallu blogging community is getting bigger. More yum food for all of us

  6. Oh I love all your Kerala curries! Especially how simple the base is. This looks yum!

    I know you do! And ever since you introduced me to okra kichadi I can’t get enough. My copy of GGC is with my sister. I should get another copy.

  7. I am great fan of Kerala Authentics!
    The curry looks delicious.Some how I have a feeling that chembu itches the throat and not very confident with it..

    I thought it was chena that itches the throat and not chembu. Never had a problem with that. Very recently I have been noticing some throat itching with eggplant.

  8. Looks good….the only way I like chembu though is when it is stir fried until it turns really crisp.

    I haven’t tried cooking it that way yet. I know they make good chips.

  9. What kind of a malayalee am I! 🙂 I haven’t even heard of a combination of chembu and crushed chilli chammanthi. Sounds yum! In fact, I still haven’t mastered a decent way of cooking chembu even though I buy it occasionally.
    The curry looks yummy!

    Yeah, what kind are you? 🙂 It is just like the kappa and kanthari sammanthi combo..don’t tell me you haven’t heard of that.

  10. I can’t believe it 🙂 guess what I cooked today too? taro curry! It is so creamy isn’t it? 🙂

    You made it too? Your blog just makes me so hungry, Cynthia.

  11. Chembu and chilli… come I never thought of it?! I should buy some chembu now.

    I know..after writing about it I have been wanting to make it too but haven’t found the time for it yet. Hope you get to enjoy it soon.

  12. Happy New yr to u!! This is one of my fav curries..But i love chembu spicy and fried too.. check out the chembu fry.. A mad tea party style..

    Haven’t tried making chembu stir fry..will look it up.

  13. Love the taro recipe. I don’t find taro recipe’s very often , especially Indian ones. I have been wanting to learn so much more about Indian cuisine and I’m really glad I’ve found your blog to learn from . There’s so much I have to catch up on!

  14. The pictures of your cooking makes me miss my mother’s cooking!!!
    College can be a drag when it comes to eating wholesome meals.
    You’re amazing!

  15. can i make the same recipe with kachil. can you give me a chembu recipe which is red /brown /orange in colour. i remember eatingit somewhere. your recipe looks great.

  16. Hi, there. I tried your “Chembu (Colocasia, Taro) curry” recipe. My husband and I really love Indian recipes. Though I had a little trouble finding chembu here in Greece, it was totally worth it. Do you have the “Tika massala” recipe, too? I’d love it if you posted it. Keep up the good work.

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