Feb 11, 2010

Kaachil Ambat ( Kachila Ambat ) & Kaachil Bajji

Kaachil( a variety of yam) is a tuber , part of Dioscorea family. It is a perennial vine with broad leaves and tubers beneath the ground. These tubers are like oblong potatoes with thick skin, which are edible and cultivated as a food crop, especially in Kerala – where it is very popular ( it is also found in parts of Tamilnadu and is called Rasavalli Kizhangu, but not as popular as in Kerala. It could be available here in Chennai, but am yet to come across it). One can make delicious dishes with Kaachil such as “Kaachil puzhukku “ or one can add Kaachil for ‘’ Thiruvathira Puzhakkau ‘’. Other uses are to make coated or non coated “Bajji”. These yams could be as big as 3 – 5 kg and a foot long. My mom send me a cut piece from Kerala.

One notable fact about this Yam is that once it is cut, the cut face blackens very fast due to some sort of oxidation reaction with air. So, wash and use the pieces / slices immediately, once cut. Otherwise, they may look blackened even after cooking.

Here, I am listing two preparations with Kaachil. One is a Konkani dish ( Kachila Ambatt) and the other is a popular “Bajji” or frying.

Kachila Ambatt is a popular Konkani dish. It is prepared specially during festival occasion and an indispensible dish in temple feasts among Cochin GSB’s. It is made of minimum ingredients, not spicy, and is very easy to prepare. The presence of Kachil, curd and coconut gravy give it a unique tangy taste.

Kachila Ambat

Serves: 4


200 g Kaachil, cut into 1 - inch cubes
200 g Ash gourd. cut into 1 - inch cubes
4 – 6 green chillies, slit lengthwise
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt ( or to taste )
200 ml thick curd, beaten well

For Coconut Paste:

1 cup grated coconut
1/3 cup water

Make a rough paste with water in a mixer ( ensure that the paste is not ground too much, just a little crushing of coconut scrapings).


Wash and clean Kaachil pieces. Boil with salt and green chilies in water for 25 minutes ( till done ) on a medium heat.

Add ash gourd pieces and cook till done ( approximately 15 minutes).

Add coconut paste and mix well. Cook on a very low heat for 2 minutes. Switch off the heat. Mix well with beaten curd ( do not boil again ).

For Seasoning:

1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon jeera ( cumin seeds)
1 red chilli
1 spring curry leaves

Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. When they starts pop, add red chilli, jeera and curry leaves. Saute for 2 minutes. Pour this seasoning over Kachila Ambat and serve with rice.

Kaachil Bajji

Makes: 10 bajjis


200 g kaachil ( Slice the Kaachil in ¼ inch or 6 mm thick X 2 inch or 5 cm long, 1 inch or 2.5 cm broad)
500 ml water
1 teaspoon salt
Oil for frying

For Marination:

1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Batter:

1 cup besan ( gram flour / kadala maavu)
1 teaspoon rice powder
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 pinches hing ( asafoetida )
1/2 teaspoon salt ( or to taste )

Make a smooth batter of above ingredients with water. Batter should be thick and not too watery. It should be of dropping consistency. Keep aside for 15 minutes.


Wash and clean kaachil pieces. Boil kaachil pieces in salted water for 5 minutes or steam in a pressure cooker for 5 minutes ( without weight). Drain out water. Apply marinade ingredients and keep aside for 10 minutes.

Heat oil in a kadai / frying pan. Reduce the heat to medium. Dip each kaachil pieces in batter and ensure the batter is well coated on the slices. Deep fry on a medium heat till golden color on both sides. Drain out oil and serve with Tea / Coffee as an evening snack.

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