The tuber known as koorka or Chinese potato in Kerala — botanical name Coleus rotundifolius — is a perennial herb native to Africa. I remember my mother making it occasionally and revelling in the delicious taste and firm texture of the dish. The Chinese potato is neither from China nor is it a potato. It belongs to the mint family.
I rarely cook it as it is difficult to clean and peel and leaves ugly black stains on the fingers. In Kerala, however, now you can get it delivered cleaned, peeled and sliced. So I cooked it and enjoyed both the cooking and the eating.
Koorka or Chinese potato 200 g, sliced
Garlic cloves 3, crushed
Onion 1 medium, sliced
Curry leaves, a few sprigs
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Chilli flakes 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Coconut oil 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Steam the koorka with salt and turmeric powder in 1/2 cup water in a pressure cooker for two whistles. Let the cooker cool naturally and open it. Continue to cook till the water evaporates.
Heat the coconut oil in a wok and add the mustard seeds.
When they stop sputtering, add the onions.
Add the garlic and curry leaves.
Add the cooked koorka and the chilli flakes.
Cook on low heat till the koorka is slightly crisp on the outside.
Serve with chapatis or rice.