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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Forgotten Recipes of India

It is two months since my mother died . My son remembers. He hugs me tight. My daughter also remembers. All her memories of the living and dead are centered around food and so she says, " nanu would make golgappas for me everytime I visited her."   " Not in the rainy season", my son says wisely. " Nanu would say that the golgappas turn soggy."  His sister continues, " and she would make raw banana vegetable,  delicious lotus stem  veg , churma ke laddoo  and ..." Here she trails off.  She is trying to fathom the cause of the disapproving look in her sibling's eyes .I am drawn into the conversation. I like this talk  of my mother's kitchen . My nostalgia gets a smiley face.  "Do you remember her patode (a snack made from colocacia leaves   and served with imli ki chutney)"? " Yes. Nanu would send two boxes - the deep fried ones would be for Atharv and me and the roasted ones would be for papa, so that his cholesterol levels would not shoot up. There is quiet in the room, our individual and collective memories of 'nanu', nanu's house, of her kitchen , enveloping us . ' Let's make Patode- just the right  monsoonish weather for it, " I say with a touch of over enthusiasm in my tone. Two  pairs of sceptical eyes swivel in my direction. "You know how to ?", they chorus. 

Mamma would make patode only in the rainy season. The onset of  the sawan month would see her telling the gardener  every other day to pluck the arbi  ( colocacia )  leaves from the  kitchen garden and deposit them outside the kitchen .The leaves would be washed and dried gently with a clean cotton cloth. Then she would take a big bowl and in this make a paste of  besan and ground channa dal . To the paste ,salt, red chilli powder, amchur powder, hing, garam masala powder,  finely chopped green chillies, chopped coriander leaves would be added.... But why am I telling it this way- hang on- let me be organized and give the actual recipe and the step by step procedure.

Ingredients: (Serves about six)
10-12  fresh colocacia leaves
approx 2 cups besan 
about 1 cup channa dal
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
2  tsp amchur powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp hing ( asafoetida)
2 green chillies finely chopped
2 Tbspn chopped coriander leaves
salt to taste

Soak the chana dal for 2 to 3 hours. Grind the dal . Keep aside. Wash the leaves properly.  Remove the stem from the leaves. Keep it aside.
In a bowl, mix besan, dal paste,  coriander leaves, green chillies and all the spices With a little water make a smooth and thick paste of dal mix.
Place the leaves upside down (the smooth side of the leaf facing down and the rough side up).Apply a layer of the  paste over the leaf. Place another leaf over this leaf upside down and apply a  thick layer of  paste over it. Arrange 2 more  leaves like this.Now roll the  leaves like swiss rolls. Repeat with the remaing leaves.  Steam the rolls in a steamer for about 20 minutes. Let the rolls  cool down and then  cut each roll into round  slices of  about ½” width.
Heat oil in a pan  Deep fry the slices  in hot oil till brown and crisp. Remove and sprinkle  some  chaat masala on the top or squeeze some lemon juice. Serve hot with  tamarind chutney .

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