Elephant foot yam, or chena, is an extensively used tuber in Kerala. You will find it in vegetarian dishes like aviyal and koottu curry, and you will also find it turned into chips. Parboiled and fried in coconut oil, it makes for a delicious and crunchy treat.

  • Serves


  • Cook Time



  • 2 cups yam, clean and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups coconut oil
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/6 tsp asafoetida powder
  • 15 garlic cloves with skin, crushed
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat water in a vessel, add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, coriander powder, salt and yam cubes. Boil for 15 minutes.
  2. Drain off the water. Sprinkle a pinch of salt, asafoetida, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp of chilli powder, crushed garlic and curry leaves onto the yam and mix.
  3. Shallow fry in coconut oil and transfer onto absorbent paper.
  4. Serve hot as a snack or as an accompaniment with rice.
Regi Mathew

Regi Mathew

Regi Mathew, co-owner and culinary director of Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Chennai and Bengaluru, is Scroll Food’s Chef of the Month for September. His culinary career, which began with the Taj Group of Hotels, has taken him to several countries, where he has learnt many cuisines. After 25 years in the F&B industry, he decided to closely explore the cuisine of his home state, Kerala. For three years, he travelled through the state, researching its food, and working with 265 housewives and 70 toddy shops, some of whom are now part of the restaurant’s kitchen. He has won several accolades in his career, including being adjudged the Chef of the Year at the Times Food Awards, Chennai, in 2018.

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