In my previous post on Jacfruit Seed Budna, I wrote about minimalist food traditions that make best use of limited ingredients and yet bring out distinct flavors. On the same lines, several traditional recipes showcase the art of processing ingredients differently to bring out a totally different flavor profile. I have always been deeply intrigued to see the same old three or four ingredients being used in recipes yet, producing dishes radically different from one another. Today, I want to write about a form cooking that uses leaves as container to hold the main ingredients. This is a very intelligent way to extract flavors from leaves and give the dish a very different flavor and texture and not to mention keeping the food natural and healthy. Having roots in coastal belt of Southern India, where this practice is very common, I have been lucky to taste several of these dishes and I hope to explore many such recipes from different parts of the world.
“Patrode” is a portmanteau word consisting of two words “Patra” and “Vade”. Patra in Sanskrit & several of it’s derivative languages means leaf and “Vade” in Kananda means a dumpling. Patrode is a steamed dumpling wrapped in a leaf.
Traditionally, Patrode is made using Colocasia leaves, but, this recipe taught by my mom uses much easily available Spinach.
- Large Spinach leaves – 10
- Uncooked Rice – 1 Cup
- Sprouted Green Gram – ½ Cup
- Chana Dal – ½ Cup
- Jaggery – 1 table spoon
- Tamarind Paste – 1 tea spoon
- Grated Coconut – 2 table spoon
- Dry Red Chili – 6
- Salt to taste
- For Seasoning:
- Oil – 1 table spoon
- Mustard – 1 tea spoon
- Urad Dal – 1 tea spoon
- Asafetida – 1 pinch
- Soak rice and Chana dal in water for 2 hours
- Drain water and mix with remaining ingredients and blend into a smooth paste
- Separate Spinach leaves, wash and pat dry with paper towel
- Spread the paste on upper surface of each leaf, stack the second one and spread again – you can stack up to 4 leaves on top of each other
- Slowly start folding leaves together from the tip towards stem
- Spread little bit of paste on folded surface if you like
- In a pressure cooker, place the leaves in a tray, close the lid and steam for 15 mins without the weight
- Heat the oil in a pan and add seasoning ingredients
- Cut the cooled leaves into 2 inch pieces and add into the seasoning mix slowly
Patrode mixture is made from grains such as rice and split chickpeas etc. In this recipe sprouted green gram helps it make softer and also helps cool the body. Traditionally, Patrode is made from Colocasia leaves which is considered to heat the body and sometimes can be itchy. To tackle both of these problems recipe incorporates green gram & tamarind. Tamarind is known in Indian cooking not only as a sour agent but also to neutralize itchy tendencies of some vegetables and leafs, such as some varieties of eggplant, Colocasia leaves and some roots. If you make this recipe using Colocasia leaves make sure you use double the amount of tamarind than listed in this recipe.
Rice, coconut, chili, lentils – all these ingredients are the most common ingredients used in South Indian cooking, what makes it delightfully different in taste is its treatment of Spinach leaves.
Spinach leaves are used as container for the paste and when steamed together adds the flavor to the ingredient also, adds an interesting texture while biting in.
Patrode can be eaten directly after steaming without any seasoning, but, seasoning always brings that added crunch to the leaves and added flavor from asafetida.
In coastal regions of Karnataka, a Southern Indian state, I have seen several varieties of leaf wrapped dishes and most of the times, the main ingredients are rice and coconut and it is amazing to see how different they taste from one another.
Patrode is one such brilliant recipe that showcases the brilliant use of natural ingredients. It is also one of those recipes that has very nostalgic effect to it being a grandma’s kitchen recipe and the one that is hardly made in modern kitchen.
Though takes a bit of a preparation, it is not very hard to make, try this recipe and enjoy!
If you know any other recipes in your culture that makes use of leaves to give that edge to the recipe write to me at email@example.com