Patra

This is an Indian vegetarian dish made from colocasia leaves. The leaves are spread with a spicy paste, stacked, rolled and finally steamed. The rolls are then sliced and shallow-fried before serving. The recipe for the filling varies from region to region; the one given here originates from the state of Gujarat. Serve this as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to any meal.

83_Patra

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients
10-12 medium colocasia leaves, stemmed
Vegetable oil for shallow-frying

For the filling
1 cup/155g besan (chickpea flour)
¼ cup/40g rice flour
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
2 teaspoons roasted and ground cumin seeds
3 teaspoons red chilli powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon asafoetida
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoons powdered jaggery

Method
1. Wash the colocasia leaves and wipe them dry. Using a knife, thinly slice the thick midribs and branching veins.

2. To make the filling, combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Gradually add water and mix to make a thick, smooth paste. Taste, and add more salt or spices if necessary, to suit your palate.

3. Place a leaf with its shiny surface facing down. Apply the paste evenly all over. Place another leaf over this and apply more paste over it. Repeat with the remaining leaves.

4. Fold the sides of the leaves inwards and apply the paste over it.

5. Roll the leaves into a tight roll.

6. Steam the roll in a steamer for 25-30 minutes, until cooked through.

7. Allow the roll to cool. Cut into ½-inch/1-cm thick slices.

8. Heat the oil in a pan and shallow-fry the slices until crisp and golden brown on both sides. Serve hot; you may squeeze fresh lime juice on each slice before serving.

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