Monday, February 28, 2022

Senaikizhangu/Elephant Yam Masiyal

This is a spicy and tangy curry made with elephant yam aka Senai Kizhangu (in Tamil).This vegan curry is lip-smacking delicious and can be served with rice or any cooked grain, or flatbreads too!

Elephant yam, Amorphophallus paeoniifolius, a tropical plant, the corm of this plant is used as a vegetable and is orange hued on the inside. A single corm can weigh more than 8 pounds too. This yam is  rich in vitamin C, B-complex, potassium and manganese. It has a lower glycemic index too. This root veggie should be cooked and then consumed. Sometimes, it may irritate the tongue for certain persons as it may have some oxalates, and to prevent it, the corm is usually cooked with tamarind, or a mild tamarind water. It has a neutral flavor and can absorb any flavor agents that are used. This makes amazing dry as well as gravy curries as well as yummy chips!

Masiyal is a curry with gravy that is often made in our homes. It is generally a root vegetable cooked with dal with a tamarind base and the heat comes from the red and green chilies instead of any spice powders. Once I got vethala valli kizhangu in the market and made masiyal with it and tikkis too! They tasted amazing. Sometimes recipes can vary and I have tasted masiyal flavored with lemon. 

I love my mom's masiyal who is a great cook! Most often made used to be our family favorite is pidi karunai masiyal. After moving here, I missed pidi karunai and sought comfort with the frozen suran/senai/elephant yam that is available here only in frozen form from India. I make it often using the same being happy that at least this is available as I love elephant yam too! My mom makes yummy coconut based dry curry with it too. Last month, I saw fresh elephant yams in the grocery shops for 2-3 weeks, of course the price was higher. I bought these a few times, to make amazing curries. Well, it was worth every penny! Frozen ones also work great for this masiyal.

Whenever masiyal is made, we will be served with rice and cooked toor dal with a dollop of ghee (use if you need for serving). Served steaming hot, that is heaven! Every bite is so flavorful that you will be travelling to paradise....may be living there too when served with appalam! Food is SO comforting always! 

This is a vegan curry. The added coconut gives a nutty flavor and is totally optional. The curry will be great even if you don't add it too. A squirt of lemon at the end boosts the flavor, but adjust as per taste.

I linking this to Sundays on Silverado, Happiness is Homemade, Share The Wealth, Foodie Monday Blog Hop, and What's For Dinner.


Senai/Elephant yam - 2 cups, 1-in chunks
Salt - 1 and 1/4 tsp
Tamarind - 1 tbsp, 1/4 cup water
Toor dal - 1/2 cup
Water - 2.5 cups
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp plus a pinch
Coconut - 2 to 4 tbsp
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp
Cilantro - 1 tsp, chopped


Oil - 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Spit urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaf - 1 sprig
Asafetda - 1/4 tsp
Ginger - 1 tbsp
Green chili - 6 to8, chopped


Add the tamarind in bits to the elephant yam chunks and pressure cook it for three whistles. Add one and a quarter cup water to dal and a pinch of turmeric, pressure cook it for three whistles. They both can be cooked at the same time but in different containers.

Once the yam is cooked, remove the tamarind pieces and extract the juice from it using another one and a half cup. Set aside.

Heat oil in a pan, add the torn red chilies and mustard seeds, and when it splutters add the remaining listed under 'Tempering' and fry for 30-40 seconds.

Add the cooked elephant yam, tamarind juice, salt, and turmeric. Mix and cook for 3-4 minutes for the flavors to blend in. Slightly mash one or two yam pieces to add to the flavor of the curry.

Mash the cooked dal and add it to the yam mixture. Stir in the coconut. Check the taste and adjust salt and spice if needed. Check the consistency too. Simmer for 4-5 minutes.

Stir in the cilantro.

Serve hot with rice or any cooked grain, or flatbreads.


  1. Senaikizhangu Masiyal looks irresistible. Love this simple and delicious recipe. Just need some rice , pickle and papad to polish it off. It is nutritious too.

  2. Senaikizhangu Masiyal looks absolutely delicious! This is comfort food at its best. Would love to dig into that bowl, along with some rice and rasam. 🙂

  3. Curry looks just awesome. I can imagine the spicy tangy taste. I would love to have it with hot steamed rice. Fabulous recipe.

  4. my dad was a huge fan of senai masaiyal although I don't make it that often. Loved the recipe and the pic esp with the appalam topped with the masaiayl saadam :-)

  5. Senai masiyal is packed with flavors and rustic aroma to have it with hot rice and ghee paired with some appalams