Synonyms: Dioscorea nummularifolia, Dioscorea glabra.
Common name :Ruiding
Local name: Taradi (तरडी)
Taradi is a very slender vine that grows wild, mostly in forests of mid-hill region of Western Himalayas upto an altitude of 1800 m . Though it is a very slender vine, which remains active only during the warm growing season, but it produces a long tuber, which is mucilaginous when raw, but looses its mucilage after it is boiled.
Taradi tubers are usually harvested around Shivratri festival in Mandi area of Himachal Pradesh, which falls during February – March. As the tubers have a tendency to go deep into the soil, so it is a quite laborious task to dig tardi root tubers. Probably that is the reason that it is sold at Mandi from 150 – 200 rupees a kilo.
Taradi is quite important food plant from economic point of view. Every year taradi tubers worth several lakh rupees are sold in the market. But surprisingly, this plant has remained unnoticed by botanists. I have not found its mention in any of the botanical floras and also encyclopedic works like CSIR’s “Wealth of India”. No botanical name seems to have been assigned to this food plant.
Taradi is a very slender climbing vine, about 5 mm thick and with heart shaped leaves. It grows on slopes under the trees in forests. Taradi plant prefers shady locations and loose soil rich in organic matter. The vines climb on small tree and bushes.
A vine of taradi
Taradi plants shed their leaves during winter and remain dormant. The growth starts again in March and continues till October. The vines flower during April-May. These bear small round, fruit like structures which are called tardoloo (तरडोलु) in local dialect.
Tardoloos are, however, not real fruits. When these structures are planted in the soil, new vines emerge from them. In fact, that is how new plants of taradi can be raised.
Tardi tubers are best harvested in winter season. As the edible plant parts are either ariel bulbils or underground tubers. Both of these are means of future prorogation.So, meed to be harvested in sustainable manner like habitat rotation and keeping some tardolu (bubils) on parent plant for further regeneration. However villagers are skilled enough in this practice of harvesting and regeneration without affecting tardi natural population growth in forests. They normally cut tuber few centimeter from the main radical and left rest of tuber with vine to grow.. To ensure sustainable development plant need to be brought into large scale cultivation.
The edible portion of taradi vine is the underground flattened tuberous roots. Though the size and shape of the tubers vary with age and soil profile, mostly these are about 8 cm wide and 5 cm thick. The thickening of roots starts after about 50 cm from the ground level. The roots have a tendency to grow straight down into the soil and if not obstructed by rock or stone, can easily go 2 to 3 metres deep. Due to this habit, digging out taradi tubers is quite a laborious job and is the only cost involved.
Tardoloos borne by taradi vines which can can be sown for raising new plants.
The tubers are brittle milky white and a little slimy from inside. They are crisp and taste starchy when eaten raw. Tubers are roasted and eaten with salt. Cooked taradi is eaten or served as a phalahar (फलाहार) (non-cereal diet),during shivratri fast. A variety of traditional dishes can be prepared from taradi tubers like ‘bhale‘, ‘dahin bhale’ and ‘kachouri’ etc Tubers are also pickled to preserve for off season. Vegetable is also prepared like a potato vegetable in the following way.
Taradi tubers, 1 kg; mustard oil, 3-4 table spoons; coriander powder 1 table spoon; fenugreek powder, ½ table spoon; cumin seed, 1 tea spoon; turmeric powder, 1/2 table spoon; red chillies; 2-3 medium sized chopped onions, 2-4; garlic, 4-5 cloves; ginger paste, ½ table spoon; 1 cup amount chopped green coriander leaves and salt according to taste.
For preparing sabji, the tubers are first boiled and brown peel is taken off. Then these are cut into small pieces and fried in hot oil along with spice listed before in sequence, as is done with potatoes. Garnish the recipe with chopped coriander leaves and serve with chapatis. The preparation tastes very good. If it is to be taken with rice, then add 4 cups of water or curd and cook for another 5 minutes to serve with rice.
To serve as non-cereal food during fasting, simply sauté boiled chopped tubers with coriander powder, red chillies and cumin seed in cow ghee. Then garnish with green chopped coriander leaves and serve.
Taradi tubers, 1 kg; mustard oil, 1/2 liter; fenugreek powder, 1/2 table spoon; cumin seed, 1 tea spoon; turmeric powder, 1-3 table spoon; red chilies; 10-15; garlic, 250 g; grated ginger , 250 g; mustard seed powder, 3-4 table spoon, Chopped green coriander, tirmir (Zanthoxylum armatum), mint (Mentha piperita) and curry (Murraya koeingii) leaves, 2-3 cup amount and salt according to taste.
Boil tubers till they are soft. Mesh them manually and make paste of mashed tubers and spices listed above in same sequence Now make small round breadspread with a hole in center with this paste. Put oil in a fry pan and deep fry these breadspread with hole called as bhalla traditionally. Repeat this process till whole paste is over. Bhalle are ready to serve as snack.
Tardi Dahin Bhalle:
Tardi bhalle, 7-10; curd, 1/2 kg, black pepper powder, 1/4 tea spoon; chopped green coriander leaves, 1 cup amount, salt according to taste.
Split bhalle into small pieces and dip into the curd. Add to it black pepper powder, chopped green coriander leaves and salt according to taste, Mix well and serve.
Taradi tubers, 1 kg; wheat flour, 7-8 cup amount; yeast, 5-10 g; mustard oil, 1/2 liter; fenugreek powder, 1/2 table spoon; cumin seed, 1 tea spoon; turmeric powder, 1-3 table spoon; red chilies; 10-15; grated ginger , 250 g; , Chopped green coriander, tirmir (Zanthoxylum armatum), mint (Mentha piperita) and curry (Murraya koeingii) leaves, 2-3 cup amount and salt according to taste.
For preparing kachuri prepare dough of wheat, flour along with yeast. Allow to rest dough for 3-4 hour. Boil tardi tuber till these are soft. Mesh boiled tubers manually and add spices listed above. Mix well into fine paste. Roll dough already made into small disc or round breadspread and stuff it with paste . Give a deep fry to the stuffed disc in hot mustered oil and take them out. Repeat this for whole dough and paste, now kachuri is ready to serve.
Taradi tubers, 1 kg; wheat flour, 7-8 cup amount ; mustard oil, 1/2 liter; fenugreek powder, 1/2 table spoon; cumin seed, 1 tea spoon; turmeric powder, 1-3 table spoon; red chilies; 250 g; grated ginger , 250 g; ajwain (caraway seeds), 1 tea spoon; Chopped green coriander and curry (Murraya koeingii) leaves, 2-3 cup amount and salt according to taste.
Boiled tubers are meshed manually. Mix meshed tubers well with spices and make fine paste. This paste is now stuffed into the wheat flour dough and made into breadspread. Put oil on tawa (Flat fry pan) and cook both sides of stuffed breadspread by putting some oil. Repeat this process till whole paste and dough is over. Serve hot with pickle/butter/curd/chutney.
For preparing badiyan from tardi tubers dip 1kg gram pulse in water overnight, remove skin manually and ground to make fine paste. Add to it spices like ground chillies, black pepper, cumin seeds, ajwain (Caraway) etc. Now grate washed tardi tubers and mix well with grated tardi tubers. Make small round tablets (badiyan) from the paste and dry in full sun light. Badiyan prepared in this way are stored for off season in an air tight container. These can be used in famine period when vegetable supply is low like in extreme winter or summer. Tardi badiyan can be cooked like any other vegetable and eaten with rice or chapattis. Tardi badiyan can also becooked as palau with rice, vegetables and spices.
Taradi badiyan , 250 g; medium sized chopped potato, 2-3 potato, mustard oil, 3-4 table spoons; coriander powder 1 table spoon; fenugreek powder, ½ table spoon; cumin seed, 1 tea spoon; turmeric powder, 1/2 table spoon; red chillies; 2-3 medium sized chopped onions, 2-4; garlic, 4-5 cloves; ginger paste, ½ table spoon; 1 cup amount chopped green coriander leaves and salt according to taste.
Roast tardi badiyan in low flame . In hot mustard oils saute roasted tardi badiyan and chopped potato with spices listed above. Add some water to it and steam cook or cook till these are soft. Garnish with garam masala and green coriander leaves. Now recipe is ready serve. Serve with rice or chapattis.
Chopped taradi tubers, 1 kg; mustard oil, 1/2 liter; fenugreek powder, 3-4 table spoon; cumin seed, 1 tea spoon; turmeric powder, 1-3 table spoon; red chilies; 10-15; garlic, 250 g; grated ginger , 250 g; mustard seed powder, 3-4 table spoon and salt according to taste.
Wrap tubers in a rotten cloth to prepare a pauch. Boil this pauch containing tubers for 10-15 minutes by continuous rotating the pauch, so that all tubers get soft equally, Let them cool down and cut into small pieces. Dry tuber pieces in full sunlight for full day .
Saute tubers in hot mustard oil along with spices listed above . Add mustard powder to make pickle sour, mix well and put in a ceramic jar. After 10 to 15 days pickle is ready to eat. It can be preserved for 2 to 3 years.
Tuber Tuber juice with hot water is given to treat fever, malaria, headache, and dysentery 1.
Taradi, an ignored food plant:
Surprisingly, taradi seems to have skipped the attention of botanists and farm scientists. Even the precise taxonomic status of this plant, which is a member of the genus Dioscorea of the botanical family Dioscoraceae, is not clear. Practically no study has ever been carried out on this valuable food plant. It does not find any mention even in the multi-volume encyclopaedic treatise published by the CSIR, The Wealth of India, which contains detailed information on almost every Indian plant. Some plant scientists call it Dioscorea alata, but they seem to do it for convenience sake. Morphologically, taradi plant do not match the description of Dioscorea alata given in floras.
High price commanded by taradi makes it a very ideal candidate for domestication and to be developed as a new commercial crop. Plants of taradi are very easy to raise by planting those fruit-like structures. The only problem is the tendency of the roots to grow downwards deep in to the soil. This can easily be curbed by growing these in large pots like old coal tar drums or by growing in 40 to 24 cm deep beds, lined with some hard material like cement concrete. This will stop the roots from going down and the digging of tubers will be easy.
A few taradi enthusiasts at Mandi have already managed to grow it by adopting this technique. The tubers are ready to be harvested after two years. The results of these persons have been quite encouraging.
Taradi vines have also been successfully raised at the Botanical Garden of IIT, Kamand, Mandi Himachal Pradesh. However, these vines are too young to be harvested yet.
Taradi tubers being sold at Mandi town.
- Srivastava R. C., Nyishi C. (2010). Traditional knowledge of Nyishi (Daffla) tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. Indian J. Tradit. Know. 9, 26–37.