Karunai Kizhangu Varuval or Yam Fry or Senai Kizhangu Varuval

Karunai Kizhangu is known as Suran in Hindi and Elephant Yam in English. This root vegetable can be transformed into so many yummy dishes – varuval, poriyal, masiyal, podimas and so on. Karunai or Senai Kizhangu Varuval is a favorite dish in our family.

Karunai Kizhangu Varuval

There are quite a few yam lovers in our family who wouldn’t let this roast reach the lunch table; they would swipe it just fresh out of the pan/kadai. Such is the love for this fry/roast.

My mom-in-law also makes an amazing vada using this tuber, tastes yummy. I will take it up to be blogged at a later date.

Health Benefits

Elephant yam has numerous health benefits. Due to its high fiber content, yam acts as a slimming food aiding weight loss. It is also good for those having hypertension. This tuber is high in omega 3 fatty acid, which helps reduce bad cholesterol levels and increases the good cholesterol in the body. People suffering from piles are prescribed to eat this vegetable a lot as they help in curing constipation and improving bowel movement. Vitamin B6 levels are high in yam, which help women suffering from pre-menstrual syndrome. It is also recommended to those suffering from diabetes due to low glycemic index. Karunai Kizhangu, when consumed has a cooling effect on the body.


Karunai Kizhangu or Yam – 350 gms
Garlic – 1 big pod
Fennel seeds or sombu – 1 tsp heaped
Chilli powder – 2 tsps or as needed
Coriander powder – 1.5 tsps or as needed
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Tamarind – 1 tbsp thick extract or as needed
Oil for shallow frying – as needed


Preparation time – 15 mins
Cooking time – 30 mins
Total time – 45 mins
Serves 4 people

  1. Peel the skin of yam, wash and cut them into big slices/chunks of 1 cm thickness. Slices should be neither too thick nor too thin.
  2. Pulse all the ingredients listed above coarsely in a mixer jar. This is the base masala for the varuval.
  3. Take a small pressure cooker; add the sliced yam along with masala and tamarind extract except oil. Toss well such that the slices are coated well with the masala. Check for salt and spice levels.
  4. Add water just enough to immerse the slices and pressure cook for 2 whistles.
  5. Once the pressure releases, heat a kadai or pan or tawa with 2 tsps of oil and place 10-12 slices and roast both sides till golden brown and crisp. Repeat the same for the rest of the batch.

Crispy yam roast is ready. Serve this yummy varuval with rice and sambar or kuzhambu or rasam or curds. My family finishes it off even before it reaches the table for lunch, which includes me too.

Karunai Kizhangu Varuval


  1. Elephant yam or senai kizhangu is itchy in nature. I normally buy and use it after 2-3 days, which reduces the itchiness to some extent. You can also grease your hands with oil to prevent itching while cutting the yam. Addition of tamarind too reduces the itchiness.
  2. You can also use a mortar and pestle to pound garlic and fennel seeds. Then add salt, spice powders and tamarind extract.
  3. Instead of using a pressure cooker, you can use an open pan too. Cook the yam slices till al dente adding little salt and turmeric and then marinate the slices by making a paste of the masala and tamarind extract and little water. Set aside for 10 mins and then fry the slices.
  4. I normally use a non stick frying pan for frying/roasting to minimize the oil usage.
  5. I drain the stock and reserve to be used later. After frying the slices, I add the reserved stock to the same pan and reduce it. Once it is reduced and reaches thokku consistency, I toss in some white rice and mix it. We call this rice, thokku sadam. There is always a fight at our home to relish this sadam, tastes delectable. Do definitely try this.