Chembu Roast / Arbi Roast (Colocasia) / Seppankizhangu Roast / Taro Root Roast

A humble Tuber, Arbi when mixed with basic Indian Spices, and slow cooked into a roast, leads to a lipsmacking delicious Main course Veg Option. The health benefits being numerous. A South Indian Special!

Chembu Roast / Arbi Roast (Colocasia) / Seppankizhangu Roast / Taro Root Roast

Chembu Roast / Arbi Roast (Colocasia) / Seppankizhangu Roast / Taro Root Roast

Do you know that I started cooking / making Chembu Roast or Seppankizhangu Roast only post marriage? Well, I had never tasted it earlier, as Ma never made these at home in the form of a vegetable. So, needless to say, this is my MIL’s recipe, as described by my husband. This is made atleast once a month at our place and generally on days when Narayan is at home for lunch as this is the only sabzi which he manages to eat on its own until the kadhai or the pan is wiped clean. Yes, he loves it to the core and over the years, I have also enjoyed having this.

We Palakkad Iyers, generally make a Mor Kootan or Kozhumbu that has boiled Arbi or Taro Root as its main vegetable which is made with a gravy of coconut and green chillies and some buttermilk for the tangy effect. I only knew how to eat Arbi in the form of Mor Kootan so was happy to eat this vegetable in a spicy avatar. One always tends to go overboard while consuming this delicious roast and if paired with a coconut gravy based dish then it is quite hard to stop from overindulging. Some fresh appalams on the side and hot rice with ghee over it will send you to food nirvana. Good food does amazing benefits to your body. The ocassional indulgence is also required to ensure sanity and positive thinking.

I love promoting dishes with tubers, gourds etc on the blog as they are many a times the neglected lot of vegetables. If you see my earlier post on Koorkai (Chinese Potato) and Plantain Mezhukuparatti and also a recent post on Bottle Gourd (Lauki) Dal spiced with Sambar Powder you would know many health benefits that they offer. They are very economical to buy, needs less cooking time and is highly nutritious to the body. So sometimes, try including gourds and tubers in your diet and just feel the fibre working its magic in keeping you off those unwanted cravings post lunch. Tubers like Taro Root or Arbi have a good amount of fibre and one serving of this vegetable is enough to provide you the much needed dose of fibre for a day. Nutritionists emphasize strongly on the importance of having fibre rich foods over empty carbohydrates to control cravings and in turn lose weight naturally without feeling constipated or bloated.

Chembu Roast or Arbi Roast 2.jpg

As you may be aware from many of my earlier posts where I have highlighted the importance of an ingredient’s health benefits, you would be surprised to read some of the amazing benefits this humble tuber has to offer.

Loaded with dietry fibres, it has great ability to improve digestion which is important for our gut health. As we all know, fibre helps us deal with problems like constipation, boating, flatulence etc by adding bulk to our stool and ease our digestion during the process. When you eat less fibre, you will never feel fresh, will always be lethargic and all this is because your stomach and intestine are working overtime for you to perform your bodily functions.

Another huge plus is that since it is fibre rich, it helps diabetics to control blood sugar spikes by keeping them full for longer. Taro Root or Arbi is also known to prevent certain cancers, decrease blood pressure and prevent heart disease.

I know so many people who have avoided Taro Root or Arbi just because they are diabetics but I am sure after reading the health benefits, you must be amazed at how well the vegetable works in providing the much needed dose of fibre to the body.

Keeping the health factor in mind, I have tried making this recipe on low heat for a long time since I am adding only 1.5 tblsps of oil to make 250 gms of Arbi which should be enough for 3 portions. The trick is to allow it to roast, without disturbing it too much by tossing or mixing with a spatula. However, all said and done, if you make this vegetable with atleast 5 tblsps of oil, the result would be mouthwatering! Arbi would be soft as butter and melt in mouth of all the oil that gets soaked by it. My MIL made it in the similar way, as informed by husband and how he wishes his wife makes it in the similar way.. haha!

As I always emphasize in all my posts, none of the vegetables should be avoided, instead focus on the cooking methods by trying to create healthy recipes and in turn make the most of nature’s gift.

Read the recipe, enjoy the visual treat!

Recipe for Chembu Roast / Arbi Roast (Colocasia) / Seppankizhangu Roast / Taro Root Roast

Prep Time – 20 mins

Cook Time  – 20 mins for a good roast

Serves 3 nos. 


  1. Arbi – 250 gms
  2. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  3. Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp
  4. Red Chilli Powder – 2 tsps
  5. Whole red chillies – few roughly torn into pieces
  6. Sesame Oil – 1.5 tblsp
  7. Hing – a big pinch
  8. Salt as per taste
  9. Curry leaves – few sprigs


  1. Wash the Arbi well under running water. One trick is to soak the whole arbis in some water for atleast 15 minutes so that the mud softens and quickly washes out under running water. Best way to save water and clean too.
  2. Once washed, pat dry and cut them into large chunks. Cutting them into smaller chunks would mean it would get mashed while being roasted as Arbi is a bit sticky and cooks easily.
  3. Pressure cook these arbis or chembu minus any water in a pressure cooker for just 2 whistles.
  4. Once the cooker cools, remove the arbi, allow it to cool thouroughly before peeling the skin off.
  5. After peeling the skin, sprinkle turmeric powder, red chilli powder and some salt. Mix it well with a clean and dry spoon and keep aside.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a non-stick kadhai, add the required quantity of sesame oil, then add the mustard seeds and allow it to crackle.
  7. Add some hing in the hot oil along with curry leaves and the whole red chillies.
  8. Now add masala coated arbi and just mix it very lightly with a spatula.
  9. Turn the heat to its lowest point and allow it to roast slowly.
  10. Since we are adding less amount of oil for the roasting, allow it to cook on very low heat with just few seconds of tossing in between
  11. After 20 minutes of cooking, they will turn nicely roasted and flavourful.
  12. Switch off the gas and serve it with hot rice, ghee and some dal as an accompaniment.

Recipe Notes –

  • Smearing of red chilli powder and turmeric powder over the boiled arbi ensures the masalas get coated evenly and it roasts well with a golden brown top.
  • If you find the quantity of red chilli powder used here to be slightly more, you may reduce it according to your preference. Usually this is a spicy stir fry.
  • If you are making this for lunch box, you can smear the masalas over arbi and store it in your refrigerator and cook it the next morning.
  • Do not place a lid over the pan while this is being roasted, it won’t provide the golden brown exterior.
  • Don’t add any water for cooking the arbis. If you can, steam them for 15 minutes but I somehow prefer pressure cooking method, it cooks perfectly keeping the shape of the taro root intact.
  • Few people add curry powder or sambar powder too but I have not added the same. You can add if you prefer the taste.
  • I have used sesame oil as we do the same for our regular cooking esp South Indian food. You can add a vegetable oil for making the dish. 

Disclaimer – I am no expert nor a nutritionist but have been on a quest to lose weight and in the due course, have found the use of certain fruits and vegetables that have benefited the process, in my case. Feel free to consult a doctor or an expert before including any new ingredient in your diet and knowing its health benefits. Thank you!

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Vidya Narayan

Views: 2045

Vidya Narayan

Hi Everyone, I am Vidya Narayan & Welcome to my blog MasalaChilli. Born in a Traditional Palakkad Iyer (South Indian) Family with strong value systems to an exceptionally strong and independent Single Mom, spent most of my childhood studying well (as most Iyer girls do).

This Post Has 63 Comments

  1. I justtt love this veggie Arbi in any form….be it in a curry or stir fry or roast form…love with hot steamed rice…nice share Vidya ✌✌

  2. Aw ! This is my favorite, your photos tempting my taste buds !!

    1. I love Arbi too & tried blogging this recipe earlier twice but the pics didnt really come out well. This time, I was happy with the outcome. Thanks dear.

  3. Great work
    Please follow me and give your suggestions on my poetry:)

  4. It’s been a while I made arbi now am inspired to try it ! good one Vidya looks very yum!

      1. Yes can’t wait to get some from the groceries next time!

  5. I love roasted root veggies!Potatoes and yams feature in the first place!This roast is bookmarked for future!

    1. Same here actually, i prefer the low oil roasts that go incredibly well with our basic dals.

  6. My whole family love this fry and we generally serve with sambhar or rasam. Your post is making me drool now.. Feel like having crispy and spicy taro fry !

    1. My husband loves it with Mor Kozhumbu or Rasam, sometimes both. Thanks dear.. Chembu is a weakness for southies.

  7. Lovely recipe 🙂 I remember one of my friend bringing this in her tiffin box and sharing it with me as I really liked it. Will be trying this one soon

    1. Oh lovely memories I am sure. Do try, I am sure you will love it dear. Thanks so much.

  8. Arbi roast is such a perfect combo with dal chawal.. In Sindhi cuisine we flatten them after boiling and fry them until crisp. Will surely make these next time.

    1. Shobhaji, I love Sindhi food. I have grown up with Sindhi neighbours and have had the wonderful Koki, Papads, achar, onion pulav etc and still remember the taste. Flattening them and frying would taste heavenly. Thanks so much.

  9. Simply love this roast to enjoy with some hot piping rasam rice, my mouth is just watering here Vidhya..

    1. Haha… My husband also loves it with Rasam or Mor Kozhumbu. Thanks dear.

  10. I have never cooked with arbi… I am considering it a shame now! The roast looks like a nice way of including this vegetable into my weekend lunch… Delicious looking pictures, and just like you, I am also somebody who cooks in very minimal oil…

    1. Rafee, glad we share the same thought about low oil cooking. We feel lighter at the end of the day and perhaps less guilty too. Hope you like the roast, whenever you make some dear! Thanks so much!

  11. Same story here Vidya, I too came to know about arbi after my marriage when I went to Dubai. UAE is another mother land of Keralites. I was introduced to the Kerala cuisine there only and I enjoy every dish.
    Very informative post. Will try this soon as you have written it’s good for diabetic also.
    And some times, our experience is the biggest certificate to give advise on the food and I feel you have it.

    1. Very kind words my dear. Thank you so much. I have been very conscious about food ever since I turned 30 and completely stopped using packaged products etc and once the blog started, all I wanted to do was promote what I eat at home. Some veggies like arbi earn a bad reputation of being calorie dense etc but its not the case, if prepared well. I agree about UAE, I guess Dubai is more like Kerala than vice versa..

  12. Not loved by many, but one of my favorites; arbi! Beautiful clicks and looking at your recipe and photos, anyone will start to enjoy arbi 🙂

    1. Haha.. Thanks for the kind words dear. Our aim is to promote healthy food, variety of veggies so that ppl are forced to eat more vegetables and less junk.

  13. My whole family loves Arbi and your spicy version sounds absolutely delicious. My husband will definitely enjoy this 🙂

  14. This recipe looks really tasty, I have not cooked with this ingredient begore but would love to.I will have to source it in the UK

    1. Hope you find them in an Indian Grocery store, with south indian specials. Definitely healthier than aloo roasts, and tastes delicious! Thanks dear.

  15. I live arbi roast, perfectly done.

  16. I prepare similar kind, love arbi. This tastes good with rice and sambar.

    1. Yes Jayashree, I remember your post very well and had commented on the same too last time telling you about the south indian version that we make. Thanks dear.

  17. Very Nostalgic Rost which goes perfect with Sambar and Rasam… Can feel the South Indian spice flavours in the Roast.. This root vegetable has a wonderful medicinal benefits in it..

    1. Absolutely true Sujitha .. ppl term all these good terms as fattening, high carb etc but dont bother to read its health benefits and switch to Kale etc which costs three times than Arbi. Thanks dear.

  18. Arbi is one of my fav vegetables and imlobe dry roasted version. Love crispy toasted Arbi like your prep.

  19. I have a weakness for roasted arbi and believe me I am literally craving right now, seeing your post and just scrolling up and down. I wish we could get arbi here so I can make it too.

    1. Aww.. Wish I could treat you with some, had we been neighbours dear. Thanks so much.

  20. I love deep fried arbi with little bit of chat masala, like your version too and I am going to make it soon 🙂

    1. Aapka version is sounding super cool and I am a complete Chatori in every sense so next time Dahi Papdi chaat mein Arbi dalega!

    1. Thanks dear .. Weekend is nearing & hope this post pushes you in the right direction .. hahah

  21. I love arbi vegetable. Can finish the whole plate with any roti. Your looking so tempting. I can finish it just as it is. Very inviting.

  22. Oh vidya, you have missed out on something big! This is my fav veggie dish even better than a potato roast. Its good that you could try post marriage. Heavenly isnt it ? Yours have come perfectly well. 🙂

  23. Vidya the first time I tasted arbi was when some years ago my daughter tasted the dry sabji at her friend’s nanny’s house and since then she insisted I make it. I love the root in dry form, curry or even in parathas. Unfortunately we don’t got it so readily here so I make best use of them whenever I’m in India. Well explained recipe and lovely photo.

    1. Thanks so much dear for always encouraging. Big hug. If my husband wishes, he would have this every single day but unfortunately his wife (me) insists on having this once in a while else he would go overboard. I am planning to make tikkis next with this using the low oil method.. hope that works.

  24. Vidya, Arbi is my husband’s favorite and he loves Arbi with pooris. I loved your recipe and I am saving it to try it soon.

    1. Now I have to try it with pooris, which is btw my husbands fav too. I am more of a roti person. Glad to know you loved the recipe, do try! Thanks Swati.

  25. I am feeling so tempting seeing your post dear. Never tried Arbi but definately will try soon. Lovely write up

  26. I used to hate the arbi just because it was in the morukootan too ( i hate morukootan, sorry). I have a similar recipe fom my mil too who makes it beautifully similar. loved your narration

    1. Thanks Seema. No worries. My husband doesnt like Arbi Morkootan either so its always lady finger or ash gourd ones for him. Glad you liked the write up.

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