It is koorka season. Koorka in Malayalam, sirukizhangu in Tamil, sambrani gadde in Kannada, kook in Konkani, this winter tuber is available until the end of February. It’s much smaller in size than the potato. Given the thick layer of mud around its hairy skin, you can be sure it is not going to garner too many “likes” on Instagram. Fun fact: It’s known as Chinese potato—but it’s neither Chinese nor a potato.
Its origins can be traced back to Central and East Africa, from where it migrated to India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia. It is no longer commonly found in Africa though. In India, Chinese potatoes are used in dishes mainly in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and the Konkan belt.