There are many variants of this dish across the West Coast… Parsis refer to these as Patrel. They’re called अळु वडी in Marathi and Patrode in Konkani.
All variants are essentially colocasia (or taro) leaves stuffed with a spiced besan filling and use tamarind to negate the toxic effects of the oxalates present in them (which may cause allergic reactions ranging from a minor throat itch to anaphylactic shock and seizures depending on the individual if eaten raw.
Yet this is a delicacy widely enjoyed by many across India… Cooking the leaves minimises the toxic effects and the use of tamarind renders them completely harmless.
Like all things #pathareprabhu these are non-veg and made with a stuffing of minced meat, deboned bombil or as in this recipe with prawns.
Warning: this is not a quick fix recipe. Needs some time and patience, not too difficult and simply delicious!
Ingredients: (for 1 roll)
Colocasia leaves – 5 nos (there are 2 variants commonly available in the markets, the tender green ones which are used to make a curry and the purple stemmed ones which are used in making these patwad)
Besan – 1 cup – traditionally one would use ground chana dal soaked overnight. I find that the coarse besan available in Marathi stores (used for laddoos) works really well and reduces effort significantly
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Dhania and Jeera powders – 1 tsp each
Red Chilli Powder and Parbhi Sambar – 1 heaped tbsp each
Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 tsp
Tamarind pulp – use a lime sized ball and extract pulp. You will need around 4 tbsp
Onion – 1 finely chopped
Coriander – 1 cup finely chopped
Karandi (tiny prawns) – 1/2 cup de-shelled and cleaned (if using large prawns, just chop them fine)
Oil – 1 tbsp for the dough and for deep frying
Salt to taste
Water as required
Mix all the masala powders (turmeric, dhania, jeera, red chilli, sambar) and add some water to make a stiff dough.
This needs to rest for a couple of hours (2 at least) so that the besan soaks well.
Add the onions, prawns, salt, a tbsp of oil and a tbsp of tamarind pulp and enough water to make a paste from the previously stiff dough. The paste has to be a spreading consistency (just slightly stiffer than say a kanda bhajia batter).
On a large flat surface use a rolling pin to flatten out the taro leaves. These have several prominent veins which may get in the way of rolling the ‘unda’ (patwad roll).
Use the largest leaf first – this should preferably not have any tears or cracks. Lay out the flattened leaf bright shiny side face-down on a flat working surface.
Splash the leaf surface with a tbsp of tamarind pulp and spread evenly (like you would butter a slice of bread).
Next spread out an even layer of around 2 tbsp of the besan-prawn paste over the leaf.
Use a smaller leaf and stick this on top of the first leaf. The second leaf (again shiny side face down, veiny side face up) needs to be inverted over the first leaf (you’ll now have tipped ends of the leaves on either side.
The next step is optional and I find it really helps in sealing the besan paste in the final roll.
Tear off one leaf and stick bits onto the exposed part of the first leaf (refer image below) till the entire exposed besan is covered with leaf.
Repeat the same ‘paste spreading’ procedure 2-3 times to yield a roll with 3-4 entire leaves and bits of the 4th or 5th leaf.
Now carefully fold in the open sides to ensure that there is no open edge at the sides.
Start folding the leaves with stuffing into a tight roll.
Steam this roll in a steamer for around 20 minutes. Insert a sharp knife into the centre- if it comes out clean – you know it’s done…
What you see in this image is a beautiful antique steamer (fully functional) which belonged to my Aaji and is at least 75 years old.
Let the steamed rolls cool completely before using them any further. If you try to cut them while they’re still warm, they tend to break.
Enjoy these crisp packets of goodness with some fresh green chutney and / or ketchup (the purists will kill me for the ketchup… But they really go quite well)
P.S. – you may notice that a lot of these images look professionally shot… Well they are. These images are courtesy APB cook studio where this batch was prepared as part of the buffet lunch catered by yours truly at their Culinary legacy series’ Maharashtrian Mejwani event, put together by their Chief Foodie – Ms. Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal and her team.
Please do visit the APB Cook Studio Facebook page for more pictures and details of the grand event held last week.
And last but not the least, the first image of the fried patwad were clicked by my dear friend and blogger Sassyfork, without whom I wouldn’t be part of this event… Do visit these pages for details on the event.