Pan-fried Elephant Foot Yam - Suran nu Shaak


(serves 2 to 3 people)

Today, I am going to share with you a elephant foot yam recipe that we were brought up on. Like any yam, it is a vegetarian dish that is filling and if cooked well, can be delicious and nicely spiced to eat. It is delicious served with rice and Gujarati lentil soup (tuvar ni dal). It is also eaten on its own as a snack.

Elephant foot yam is not a common staple dish in the West however, it is extremely popular in India. It is popular in Asia, Africa and some tropical Pacific islands as well. It is a form of carbohydrate with medicinal properties.

This is what elephant foot yam looks like when it is bought:

You have to make sure that it is well washed as there may be plenty of soil on it so, because the skin on this is not eaten, you can use a brand new, clean sponge to scrub of the soil under warm water. Once the skin is cleaned up, you may find 'knots' in the yam which penetrate into the body of the yam. 

In order to get rid of these knots, you can carefully dig a knife into the body of the yam around the knots and cut in a slanted circle to pull out the knots (pretty much like how you would get rid of the 'eyes' of a potato). Once you have done this and peeled the yam with a peeler, it should look like this:

Then slice the yam into roughly 1 inch 'squares' that are about 3mm thick. It should look like this:

These are now ready for the recipe which is shown below:


700g elephant foot yam / suran (washed, peeled washed again and cut into 1 inch squares that are about 3mm thick
2 heaped tbsps ginger (washed, peeled and grated)
2 heaped tbsps fresh green chillies (washed and ground to a paste)
10g salt (about 2 semi-heaped tsps but adjust to taste if you need more later)
0.5 (1/2) tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsps sunflower oil
1 pinch asafoetida


1. Place the suran / elephant foot yam in a large dish and add in the ginger, green chillies, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well until the yam is well coated.
2. Heat the oil on a high heat in a wok.
3. Add in 1 pinch asafoetida.
4. A few seconds later add in the yam coated in spices from step 1.
5. Stir well until the spices are well distributed.
6. Once the yam has heated through and you can see a slight steam arising from the wok, cover the wok with a lid and turn the heat down to a low to medium heat.
7. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the yam is cooked. The way to check it is to see if a knife glides easily through your thickest slice of yam.

'Til next time ... enjoy!
Bon appetit! xx


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