Elephant foot yam or Kanda or Suran or Zimmikanda is a tropical tuber cash crop that is cultivated extensively in India, Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the tropical Pacific islands. A staple in Indian kitchens, Kanda was earlier considered as a native to India but a recent genetic study in 2017 proved that Indian variety of elephant foot yams (that go with the botanical name Amorphophallus paeoniifolius) possess lower genetic diversity when compared to those in Island Southeast Asia. Thus, it is now believed that this heavy root vegetable first originated there, before making its entry into India and Thailand.
Native to India or not, there is no denying that this huge, root vegetable that often represents an elephant foot yam is a powerhouse of nutrients. Looks are deceptive, mind you and in this article, we will tell you, why you should make some considerable space in your kitchens for this super delicious, nutrient rich vegetable, for it to be a part of your regular diet.
The Kanda plant is an annual plant that grows in the rainy season. The dormancy period of this plant is around 2 months and the whole corms are used for planting in and around April-May, allowing it sprout by the pre-monsoon period. Since it is a rainfed crop, it is mostly cultivated in regions that receive ample rainfall, however, excessive stagnation of water is harmful for its growth.
In India, Elephant foot yam goes with various names. While it is referred as Suran in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, it is known as Zimmikanda in Chhattisgarh. In South, Kannadigas call it Suvarnagadde, Tamilians refer it to as Kaara Kuranai Kizhangu, in Telugu it is Kanda Gadda and for Malayalis, it is Chena. In West Bengal, Assam, Nepal and Bangladesh, it is goes with the name Oal or Ol.
Kanda is a versatile root vegetable and can be cooked in various forms including curries, fried, mashed, in stews and even as a pickle. In North-eastern states of India, the leaves and stems of Elephant foot yam also form a part of staple diet.
Elephant Foot Yam/Kanda Nutrition:
Kanda is a carb and protein rich vegetable, loaded with zinc, phosphorous, potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin A and calcium. It also constitutes phenols, alkaloids, flavonoids which play a major role in proper body functions. It also contains negligible amounts of fat and is water rich.
Nutrition Per 100 grams
Calories: 118 calories
Carbohydrates: 25 grams
Fat: 1.5 grams
Protein: 9.81 grams
Dietary fiber: 5.7 grams
Potassium: 1208 mg
Calcium: 20 mg
Iron: 1.8 mg
Magnesium: 82 mg
Sodium: 14.2 mg
Zinc: 2 mg
Copper: 0.3 mg
Vitamin C: 12.1 mg
Vitamin A: 1221U
Vitamin K: 2.3 mcg
Thiamin: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B6: 60.2 mg
Elephant Foot Yam In Ayurveda:
Kanda is an integral part of traditional Indian medicinal practices including Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani.
Ayurveda describes Elephant Foot yam as pungent and astringent to taste, which triggers ushna or heat in the body and reduces the doshas of Kapha and Vaata. The mention of Suran is found in ancient Ayurvedic text Bhojana Kuthuhalam and is described as an excellent remedy for promoting digestion, treating haemorrhoids, abdominal pain and blood disorders.
Also Read: Vata Diet: All You Need To Know About This Dosha And A Regime To Pacify The Imbalance
- The tubers of Surana have various medicinal and therapeutic properties and serve as home remedies for various ailments
- Crush the tubers of Elephant Foot yam, mix it with ghee and apply it on swollen joints for immediate relief from pain
- Clean, cut the pieces of Suran, crush it into juice and consume 10 ml for relief from hemarrhoids, indigestion, tapeworms and enlarged liver
- Add pieces of Kanda to hot water and steam it for instant relief from cough and cold
- Sundry Suran pieces, crush them into powder, mix it with buttermilk and consume for treating piles
Benefits of Kanda/Elephant Foot Yam/Suran:
Regular consumption of Kanda vegetable brings down to the levels of LDL or bad cholesterol, thanks to the presence of Omega-3 fatty acids. This tuber also increases the levels of good cholesterol and since it is very low on fat, it can be consumed regularly by heart patients.
Brings Down Inflammation:
Suran works excellent in bringing down inflammation within the body. The anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory properties of this vegetable prevent clots in arteries, reduces high blood pressure, thus protecting heart from various health conditions.
Slows Down Ageing:
Suran is a powerhouse of antioxidants that are crucial down the process of aging. Elephan yam is rich in Vitamin C, which provides natural glow to the skin from within, preventing sudden breakout of acne, keeping it blemish and wrinkle-free.
Regulates Blood Sugar:
The lower glycemic index is just 51, making it an ideal food choice for those suffering from diabetes. Including recipes made out of Suran prevent sudden spike in blood levels, promote insulin production in the body.
Flushes Out Toxins:
The presence of high digestive fibre serves as an excellent detoxifier, uplifting liver health. Known for its hepatoprotective properties, it flushes out toxins, from gut, intestine, stomach thus preventing tapeworms and other parasites.
Improves Cognitive Functioning:
A powerhouse of Omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, selenium, magnesium, phosphorous, Kanda vegetable improves functioning of the brain, memory, focus and concentration. Eat it as a part of your regular diet plan if you are battling depression, anxiety and also for preventing neurodegenerative disorders.
Elephant Foot yam is a natural probiotic that safeguards gut’s flora and fauna. The antibacterial components in this vegetable fight with infections, clean toxins and other pathogens that cause issues of the digestive tract.
Maintains Hormonal Balance:
Hormonal imbalances are common among women, especially those above 40. If you are battling severe Premenstrual symptoms, nibble on Kanda chips or sip on the stew for instant relief from anxiety, mood swings, abdominal cramps.
Kanda is a versatile vegetable which can be cooked in the forms of soups, stews, curries, pickles and even chips. It is a common practice to serve recipes made out of this tuber, often mixed with green leafy vegetables or a dash of aromatic tadka.
Here we bring two traditional Kanda recipes.
250 grams Kanda/Suran, cut into cubes
150 grams Malabar Spinach
1 tsp cumin or jeera
1 tsp urad dal
1 tsp channa dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
5 dry red chillies
1 inch ginger piece
1 sprig of curry leaves
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp hing
Lemon size tamarind
Salt to taste
In a pan, heat oil on medium flame. Add urad dal, channa dal, mustard, cumin seeds and red chillies
Let it splutter, add hing. Give it a stir. Add ginger, green chillies, curry leaves and fry for couple of minutes
Wash and chop Malabar spinach leaves. Add it to the tadka. Give it a stir
Let the leaves wilt and add washed, cut Kanda pieces. Add turmeric, salt, cover and cook on low flame till the raw smell goes away
Add tamarind juice, little bit of water. Mash it with a ladle till it forms thick consistency
Serve hot with rice
Kanda is an amazing source of good carbs, protein, dietary fibre, Vitamin A, Vitamin C for maintaining healthy heart, lower the levels of bad cholesterol, improve digestion, prevent sudden spikes in blood sugar levels and even maintain hormonal balance. Spinach leaves are powerhouse of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Calcium, Potassium and zinc and other essential nutrients for proper functioning of the body. Adding ginger, cumin to this dish makes it easily digestible and can be consumed by all age groups.
Yam Fry/Suran Fry:
250 grams of Elephant yam, cut into large slices
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp sambar powder
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp red chilli powder
Tamarind, soaked in water
Salt to taste
Oil for shallow frying
In a pan, boil water, add salt and turmeric. Add Kanda slices and let it cook until it is 90% done
Take a bowl and squeeze thick extract of tamarind juice. Add all spice powders to it including turmeric, salt, chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and sambar powder
Marinate cooked Kanda pieces in this mixture and let it sit for 10 minutes
In a pan, heat oil and add these pieces gently. Flip it on both sides carefully until fried
Serve hot as a snack or with rice
Kanda or Suran fry is a healthy midday snack. A mix of various ground spices, this recipe keeps you satiated for longer hours, preventing sudden hunger spikes. It can be made by using very little oil. While Suran helps in digestion and weight loss, spice powders regulate digestion, trigger metabolic activity.
Side Effects Of Kanda:
If you are suffering from cold, asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis or any other pulmonary infection, stay away Suran as it further cools down the body, thus aggravating the symptoms. If not cooked properly, Elephant foot yam can cause itchy tongue and throat. Make sure to clean the outer layer of the vegetable properly and wash away all the dirt. There are no other significant side effects of this tuber.
Call it Kanda, Elephant Foot Yam, Suran or Jimikanda, this huge, rock like looking tuber is a powerhouse of various nutrients. Often a regular in Indian kitchens, it is loaded with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, zinc, potassium, carbohydrates, protein and negligible amounts of fat. Cultivated extensively in India and other Asian countries, Elephant Foot Yam is a rain fed crop which is available throughout the year. Consuming this vegetable safeguards heart, brain function, triggers immunity and is good for diabetics too. However, make sure to clean the vegetable properly before cooking. Do not eat this if you are suffering from pulmonary issues.