I’ve been extremely quiet for over a month, as I was away on holiday in India.
It was the trip of a lifetime, where I had the opportunity to explore the region of Gujarat, which is the Western state and where my family are from. But funnily enough, it’s not a place many foreigners visit – since it’s so near to the more popular holiday destinations like Rajasthan and New Delhi. But I can’t emphasise just how beautiful and diverse this region is.
Gujarat is also home to some of the most beautiful vegetarian dishes around; from savoury cake, dhokla, to the almighty vegetarian thali. I will be sure to share more about the dishes I had in future blog posts as well as dishes I learnt to make. Which brings me to this post…
I’d like to share a special recipe for paatra, which is a savoury (colacasia) leaf with a filling that can range from tamarind to jaggery, and is steamed/fried then eaten as a snack. I learnt this from my Masi (Aunt from my Mum’s side) who is a fantastic cook and I was extremely lucky to be able to simply walk down the road to her house when I was in the village. This is just the start of quite a few dishes I learnt to make with her. 🙂
So you’ll need the list of ingredients below (though using the spices by eye is always best in my opinion!):
Mix for the paatra filling
1 cup gram (chickpea) flour
1tbsp chapatti flour
1/2tsp crushed ginger, garlic, green chilli
1/2tsp sugar (preferably brown)
2tsp turmeric, garam masala and cumin
pinch of asafoetida
tamarind water (mix concentrate with water till runny)
1/2tsp mustard seeds and cumin seeds plus a pinch of asafoetida
Mix all the ingredients for the paatra filling and make into a paste and ensure it has a thick consistency – see images above for reference.
Place your paatra leaves so their back is facing up with the stems up, and liberally spread some of the mix onto the leaves – using your fingers so you can control the amount of paste and not tear the leaves. You can use two paatra leaves (as I have in the 1st image) with one end facing the top and the other end facing the bottom; to make it slightly bigger and a more rounded shape. Fold the paatra leaves from the sides in, to make the ends meet in the middle (see the 2nd pic for reference). Then from the bottom up, roll the paatra and place aside.
From here, you can steam the paatra till it’s softened and cooked, make them into slices and then heat some oil, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida till they pop and place the paatra slices in and gently fry, till browned.
Masi, as you can see from the pics, goes straight into frying… It’s just as tasty though! You can then garnish them with coconut / coriander.
And that’s it. It’s a simple recipe that can be rustled up and served cold with chutneys or like me, in a wrap or chapatti with ketchup! I hope you get to try this and tell me what you think.
Thanks Masi for the cooking lesson. 🙂