Mama’s Punjabi Recipes – Arbi ki Chaat (Eddoe Root Spicy Salad)


Arbi ki Chaat (Eddoe Root Spicy Salad) 

In the heat of the summer, when Punjabis want to snack, but not necessarily eat fried foods or potatoes, they reach out for arbi ki chaat which has a cool, spicy and tangy taste and is low in calories as it is not made with any oil. It is a simple and quick dish to make and is very satisfying. Many road food vendors make it for the people who go out for evening strolls.

All arbi (eddoe root) dishes should be made with ajwain (bishop’s weed, carom seeds, ajowan caraway) as the spice coats the arbi to give it a unique taste and also makes it easier to digest.

Ajwain is often taken with a pinch of salt (to cut the spice’s bitterness) for stomach ache or indigestion and swallow with a glass of water. Ajwain is a seed that smells almost exactly like thyme but is more aromatic, slightly bitter and pungent and stronger in taste. A favorite in many Punjabi households is a crispy, hot, namak-mirch-ajwain parontha (flaky bread) eaten with a small wad of homemade white makhan (butter).

Arbi is closely related to the taro root but is smaller and has an acrid taste that requires careful cooking. It can be grown in poorer soils and drier climates than the taro root.

Mamas 2


•   1 kg arbi (small to medium eddoe root)

•   2 large nimbu (lemons) – cutin halves

•   1 large piyaaz (onion) –   peeled and chopped into  small pieces

•   1 medium adrak (ginger root) peeled and chopped  into small pieces

•   2 large hari mirch (green chillies) – chopped into small pieces

•   1 teaspoon ajwain (bishop’s  weed or carom seeds)

•   1 teaspoon amchoor (dry mango powder)

•   Spices (to taste): namak  (salt), mirch (red pepper), garam masala 


1. Wash the arbi then place it in a pot and boil. Remove when still hard but not too tender.

2.  Peel the arbi and cut into small pieces.

3. Throw the arbi in a large bowl, then add the onions, ginger, chillies and all the spices. Squeeze the juice out of the lemons over the mixture. You can also use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemons.

4.   Stir the mixture thoroughly and then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

5.  Some people enjoy this dish with some imbli (tamarind) chutney.

Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.