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The Suran root is a large dark brown tuber that has heavily textured skin and a round squat shape with a depression in the top-center of the tuber. The flesh of the Suran root can range in color from white to golden yellow, and is starchy in feel. The Suran flesh can be eaten once the skin is peeled and tastes earthy, nutty, and slightly sweet. The Suran plant starts out as an exotic-looking perennial flower with a big singular petal that wraps around and has dark purple-brown frilly edges; from the center of the petal sprouts a green column with a dark brown or red bulbous appendage at the top. The flower produces a spike from which bright red fruit grow; this spike emits an odor of carrion to attract pollinating flies and beetles. Once the flower dies, the Suran corm is produced and a light green stem with lighter blotches of color grows to look like a small tree with green leaves.
Suran root, as with other roots, can be unearthed throughout the year but they are best picked at their peak season in late fall.
The Suran root is a versatile plant that is cultivated not only for its edible tubers but also for its medicinal properties and for its striking appearance. The scientific name for Suran root is Amorphophallus Paeoniifolius. The Suran root is known by many different names because it grows wild along secondary forests in Asia and is grown in many other places as well; some names include elephant foot yam, whitespot giant arum, stink lily, telinga potato, suram, jimmikand, buk, suweg, walur, and eles. The Suran root flower spike emits a carrion-like odor in order to attract pollinating flies and beetles; that is likely where its nickname “stink lily” originated.
The Suran root is considered a type of yam. Yams are a great source of fiber and offer vitamins C, B6, manganese, and potassium.
The Suran root can be baked, boiled, fried, or pickled like other yams. A creative way to use Suran root is to ground it down and make a flour with which to make bread. The Suran root is highly acrid and MUST BE COOKED THOROUGHLY as it contains calcium oxalate crystals which can cause irritation to the mouth and throat if eaten fresh or not fully cooked. Young shoots and young petioles (the leaf stems) of the Suran root plant are also edible when cooked. It is best to choose Suran roots that are firm and free of cracks, bruises or soft spots. Yams in general that are refrigerated should be avoided because cold temperature affects their flavor.
Suran root has been cultivated in Asia for centuries and is a common staple of cuisine along with rice and maize. Outside of Asia, India and Sri Lanka, however the Suran root is only eaten when other starches are not available. Suran root is used in homeopathic Indian medicine including Ayurveda, Siddham and Unani to treat a long list of ailments.
The Suran root grows natively wild along secondary forest in Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and other Southeast Asian countries. It can now be found growing or cultivated in India, southern China, New Guinea, northern Australia, Polynesia, and sold in markets in the United Kingdom. The Suran root grows easily in tropical humid climates and prefers temperatures between 77 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The leaves of the Suran plant grow well under humid conditions while the roots favor dry weather. Any part of the Suran plant including the seeds, stem cuttings, root cuttings, leaf cuttings, and leaf fragments can be used to grow another plant. To store a Suran root properly, keep them loose in a cool, dark, area for up to ten days, never in the fridge or in direct sunlight. Nematodes are the main pests that disturb the Suran root.
Recipes that include Suran Root. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Spark Recipes||Suran Spicy Curry|
|Bawarchi||Suran Masala Curry|