The culinary culture, the ingredients and the food items in Kerala has undergone mammoth change that the only tuber that would probably be available in a regular vegetable store is the good old potato. The youngsters may be familiar with sweet potato as well. Nevertheless, there are many who ask whether yams and tapioca belong to the family of tubers. There was a time when the local cuisine of Kerala had countless dishes prepared with tubers like neendi (sarapilla), kaachil (greater yam) and nana kizhangu (lesser yam).
However, the tribal communities in Kerala are still aware about lots of varieties of tubers and use them in their daily diet. The neduvan kizhangu which looks and tastes similar to the greater yam is one of the most common tubers consumed by the tribal people. This tuber spreads wide into the soil and is commonly available. It is cooked along with 'parandakka', the kernel of the 'entada' nuts, which is a regular ingredient that is used in the dishes cooked by the various tribal communities around the world.
The 'neduvan kizhangu' is peeled and cut into small pieces before cooking it. Black pepper corns, bird eye chillies, cumin and 'parandakka' are ground into paste and added when the 'nedu kizhangu' begins to boil. This dish is usually had with special spicy water made by mixing ground chillies.
Many elderly people in the tribal communities, however, complain that the young generation does not possess enough knowledge about the various tubers that are grown in the wilderness.