Sweet potato pulusu

It is strange the ways in which one discovers food. This one was made at my cousin (Venanna)’s funeral by Brundodine’s cousin Padma. It opened up new horizons for me – the things you can do with sweet potato! But even though he wasn't there, it is him I think of everytime I make it. Saddening, but kind of nice too.

2 very large sweet potatoes

Medium handful of tamarind

½ tsp fenugreek seeds

1 ½ tsp cumin seeds

1 ½ tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp chana dal (split peas)

Handful (20?) karyapak leaves

Handful of kothmir (coriander)

A few pudina (mint) leaves

One medium onion finely sliced

2 tsps g&g paste (or fresh ginger and fresh garlic chopped)

2 green chillies

1 tsp of jaggery

3 tbsps sunflower oil

½ teaspoon turmeric

2 tsps (ish) salt


You make this in pretty much the way all pulusus are made. Par boil (for about ten minutes) and drain the sweet potatoes (no need to peel them). Clean and soak the tamarind in about three cups of water for at least 10 minutes, but you can leave it as long as you like – just gets better. Now, in a large kadai (heavy wok), start with the talimpu as usual. When hot, put in the oil, and when that’s hot, chuck in the fenugreek seeds, then the cumin and the mustard seeds and when they crackle, add the chana dal. After a minute, the karyapak leaves. Let them sizzle. Then put in the chillies (if using fresh ginger and garlic put that in now) and the onions and turn the fire right down and let them soften and almost disintegrate, slowly, without browning. Then add the g&g paste, fry a bit (it will spit), then the turmeric, stir around a bit. Now extract the juice from the soaking tamarind – basically squeezing out the pulp and chucking that away – and pour it into the kadai. Let the whole thing bubble and cook for five minutes. Add the jaggery and the salt, and throw in the parboiled sweet potatoes. Chuck in the kothmir, stir, put a lid on and let it all blend together for maybe ten minutes. If it is getting too dry, add a bit more water – no harm

The potato should be soft but not pulpy, and should have absorbed all the wonderful flavours in that time.

sweet potato pulusu.jpg