Allarut is a tuber crop that is cultivated in shifting cultivation (jhum) fields in the state of Meghalaya in northeastern India. The tubers are small (less than 10 cm long), elongated and pointed at the ends. They are white in color. The above ground part of the allarut plant is about 30 cm tall and green in color, with small pointed leaves. To cultivate allarut, first the tubers are stored in a dry place for two to three months. In February and March, they are planted, and can be harvested in December and January.
Allarut tubers have a mild and slightly sweet taste and secrete a liquid that looks like milk. In the West Khasi Hills district, people have long used allarut in a method similar to chewing gum while working in the fields. The white liquid, which is collected by squeezing the tuber by hand, has also been used as a substitute for milk given to babies. The tubers can also be cooked in a fire and eaten as a snack often served with tea.
While these tubers were once found at local markets, now they are mainly grown only for personal consumption. Exact numbers are unknown, but local people have reported a general decline in allarut production and consumption. Younger generations are increasingly unfamiliar with this vegetable and only a few familes still grow it each season. Due to a lack of a commercial market for allarut, it is at high risk of being lost.