Improved Yam-in-Gravy

Recipe Description

This is (roughly) a Tamil recipe from a cookbook that I bought in Bangalore, called ''"A Cook's Tour of South India"''. I doubt it's available here. Fat-free-ized only by the deletion of ¼ cup of oil.


  • 2 cups of small red lentils
  • about 5 cups water
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds]
  • 5 medium to large yams, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
  • enough water to cover the yams by about ½"
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp tamarind concentrate, blended with water so it dissolves easily in the pot (ever bite a lump of tamarind concentrate?)
  • 1 tsp (or more) compounded asafetida|asafoetida
  • 1 tsp (optional) finely ground dried coconut
  • ½ cup rice milk
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • a handful of fresh or dried curry leaf|curry leaves
  • salt to taste
  • fresh chile paste to taste
  • 2 tbsp - ¼ cup chickpea (gram or besan) flour mixed with water


  1. Simmer the red lentil|lentils in the water while you are doing everything else.
  2. In a separate, large pot, dry pop (like making popcorn, over medium heat) the black mustard seeds
  3. Add to the pot the yams, enough water to cover them, turmeric, tamarind concentrate, blended with water so it dissolves easily in the pot, asafetida|asafoetida, dried coconut, microwaved with ½ cup rice milk
  4. Simmer yams until soft but not falling apart.
  5. When lentils are soft (takes about ½ hr if you got the right kind) drain off any water you can and add lentils to the yam pot.
  6. Stir and cook, adding more water if mixture is too thick (texture of a thick soup is good, texture of refried beans is "too thick").
  7. Then add cilantro, curry leaf|curry leaves, salt to taste, fresh chile paste, chickpea flour mixed with water and gradually thinned to avoid lumps.
  8. Dribble into the soup while stirring.
  9. The chickpea flour replaces hand-ground chickpeas or mung beans, which thicken the stew, making the sauce more "gravylike". Yum!
  10. Also, using the red chile paste (a violently hot Vietnamese concoction with citric acid added to fresh ground chilies) improves the taste. Yum.
This article uses material from the "Improved Yam-in-Gravy" article on the Recipes wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License