This homestyle Dahi Wali Arbi is a sabzi with pan-fried taro root in a tangy dahi-based gravy. It's mild, yet hearty and comforting. Have it ready in under 30 minutes and serve it with stuffed paratha in a spread of Indian dishes for a delicious dinner.
This sabzi is made with taro roots that are boiled, then lightly fried in ghee. It's then cooked in a tangy dahi-based gravy. Turmeric gives it an appealing vibrant yellow color that'll most likely leave your hands stained with turmeric for a night, ha!
Dahi Wali Arbi translates to "the taro with dahi", due to there being a few other Indian dishes with taro in it. It's something you'll never ever catch at an Indian restaurant. But, I also love having those certain obscure homestyle dishes which only an Indian mom or auntie can make for you! It feels much more special to share a recipe like this.
Arbi sabzi with dahi is a very mild dish. It relies on a few ingredients to bring out the flavors, namely ajwain (carom seeds) and dahi (curd yogurt). The resulting flavor is earthy and tangy, which is not a flavor profile that's familiar to most palates. When it's done well, it's extremely comforting and filling when served with paratha.
Some women even eat it to break their fast on Karva Chauth, a festival where Hindu women practice a days fast for their husband's safety and longevity.
What is Sabzi?
Sabzi, or sabji, is a term in Hindi that simply refers to a dish made of vegetables. It includes a variety of vegetarian Indian dishes where vegetables are cooked in spices or in a thick gravy. A small amount of sabzi is typically served with dal or another sabzi along with roti or rice.
Sabzi is meant to be a part of a larger meal for added nutrition and fiber. Served by itself, it's not meant to be filling unless it's consumed in large amounts.
Ingredients - Notes and Substitutions
As I mentioned, Dahi Wali Arbi is a really mild dish. There are very few ingredients necessary to bring out the flavor of taro to make this a hearty, comforting sabzi.
I've denoted the ingredients which may require a trip to the Indian grocer with an asterisk* and included substitutions if you can't find them.
- Taro Root - Taro, or arbi, is a root vegetable that can be found in most grocery stores near the potatoes and yams.
- Ajwain* - Also known as carom seeds. It looks similar to fennel or cumin seeds. It's bitter with a flavor similar to star anise. Substitute with cumin seeds.
- Asafoetida* - Also known as hing; it is commonly used in Indian cooking to replace garlic and onion. It smells strongly of garlic and onion and only requires the tiniest pinch. Some people say Pure Indian Foods has the best hing they've ever tasted. Substitute with ⅛ teaspoon of garlic powder and ⅛ teaspoon of onion powder.
- Turmeric - This spice gives the curry it's bold yellow color
- Serrano Pepper - Adds a bit of heat. Substitute with any green chili
- Dahi* - This is Dahi Arbi, so dahi is an essential ingredient to add creaminess and tang to the sabzi. Dahi is an Indian curd yogurt. Substitute dahi with plain yogurt or sour cream and a tiny bit of lemon juice.
How to make Dahi Wali Arbi Sabzi
Starting with the taro roots, boil them in hot water until they're tender when stuck with a fork. This can take up to 15 minutes depending on the size of the taro, or even faster with a pressure cooker. Make sure the fork easily goes all the way through the middle, otherwise the taro root is still raw in the middle.
Once the taro root is tender, you'll see the skin is already loose and lifting from the vegetable. Pour the hot water out and rinse the taro root in cold water to stop the cooking, until it's cool enough to handle. Remove the skin and discard it. If it's been boiled long enough, the peel will almost fall off from the vegetable itself with a bit of assistance. No peeler necessary.
Once the taro root has been peeled to reveal the white root vegetable, cut it down the middle lengthwise. If it's still raw in the middle, add it back into a bowl with a tiny bit of water at the bottom. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and pop it into the microwave for a few minutes until cooked through. Then, cut the taro into semi-circles.
Add ghee into a pot on medium heat. Once warm, add the taro. Pan fry the taro in the ghee until it's golden. Be careful not to over fry, otherwise the taro can become slimy. Once the taro is golden brown, add in the ajwain, turmeric, sliced serrano pepper, and salt. Give the spices a minute to temper, then add the dahi and water.
Give everything a really good stir in the pot. Simmer the sabzi until the dahi-based gravy thickens and coats the arbi. Add more water if it thickens too much, but it should be a thick gravy and not too watery like a soup.
Garnish the arbi with chopped cilantro and it's ready to serve while warm.
What to Serve with Arbi Sabzi
Dahi Arbi Sabzi is best served with an Indian bread like roti, naan, or stuffed paratha. Ideally, it would be served as part of a whole meal. It's great when paired with another sabzi, preferably one that's not potato or yam based. It's also great when paired with dal, like Whole Masoor Dal.
More Indian Main Dishes to try
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Dahi Wali Arbi Sabzi
- Boil the taro root in a pot until it's fork tender all the way through to the middle, about 10-15 minutes depending on the size. Rinse the taro roots in cold water until it's cool enough to handle.
- Peel the taro root and discard the skin. Cut it lengthwise down the middle. Then cut it into ¼ - ½" thick semi-circles.
- Add ghee into a pot on medium heat. Once the ghee is hot, add the taro and pan fry until it's golden brown. Don't over fry, otherwise it'll become slimy.
- Slice the serrano pepper into fourths lengthwise. Then, add the ajwain, asafoetida, salt, and turmeric. Allow the spices to temper for about a minute, then add the dahi and water.
- Give everything a really good stir together in the pot. Simmer the gravy until it thickens up to coat the taro. Add in chopped cilantro.
- Serve while warm with roti or stuffed paratha.
- Make sure to salt the sabzi well, just as you may salt a potato, otherwise the sabzi will be bland.
- Substitute the asafoetida with equal amounts of onion powder and garlic powder to make this dish gluten-free.