Kuvale Saali Ani Kooka Upkari

Chinese potato (kooka-konkani, koorka-malayalam, sambrali-kannada) is a seasonal and very rare vegetable mostly available in South India. Unlike normal potato it is small and black in colour. Its black colour is due to the soil and dirt sticking on it. It is very tedious process to clean this vegetable, but you can really do that easily with a simple trick.

We are also using ash-gourd skin that is by product of other dish (kuvale sasam). Ash gourd is also called winter melon, it is actually a fruit but it is eaten as a vegetable. Ash gourd skin or peels are very low in calories; it is good for diabetic patients. It helps to improve digestive system, and it is very helpful cure for tapeworm.

Together this dish is packed with nutrition and lots of health benefits, let’s start cooking then.


  • Ash gourd skin (I used skin of ½ kg ash gourd which I used for another dish).
  • Kooka or Chinese potato ¼ kg.
  • Mustard seeds (raai) 1 tsp.
  • Urad daal (split black gram or white lentils) 1 tsp.
  • Curry leaves 1 stalk.
  • Dry red chillies – 3 pieces (we will use the flakes).
  • Coconut oil (most Konkani recipes are cooked in coconut oil) 3 tsp.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Grated coconut 1 tbsp. (this is used for garnishing).
  • Water 1½ cup.


Before we start with the step by step method we have one thing to do, cleaning the Chinese potato. Cleaning this vegetable is a tedious task. Don’t worry I have a trick for this task. Generally people avoid cooking this dish because of this problem; it is very hard to remove the black soil and dirt from this vegetable. You’ll need a sack or an old bag to clean it.

chinese potato plant or Coleus rotundifolius
Chinese Potato plants in our garden.

You can see the steps in the picture below. I put the vegetables in an old bag and then gently crush and rub them against the floor, this removes the skin as well as dirt from them without making your hands dirty. This is a simple solution that my mother thought me. Once the dirt is removed we can then remove excess dirt with the help of a peeler or knife. Then I wash them in water.

Now that our main ingredients are ready to be cooked we may now move ahead with our step by step guide 🙂

  1. Chop the Ash Gourd skin and Chinese potato.
  2. Heat 3 tsp. coconut oil in an iron wok or a kadhai.
  3. Put mustard seeds in the heated oil and wait till they start crackling.
  4. Now put Urad daal or white lentils in the wok, wait till it turns golden red in colour.
  5. Now put the curry leaves into the wok.
  6. Cut the red chillies in to flakes and put them in the wok.
  7. When the red chillies are blackish in colour put the chopped Ash-gourd skin and kooka into the wok.
  8. Now put 1½ cup water and allow it to cook.
  9. When the water starts boiling put some salt according to your taste. Cook it till the water in the wok is evaporated.
  10. Garnish with grated coconut and serve hot with rice and curry.

I am sure you will enjoy this dish. Please email me and tell me how you use Chinese potato to make something happening.

Note – If you don’t get Chinese potato in your local vegetable market you can use small potatoes for this dish.

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