Patholi / A sweet dish (dumplings) prepared on Turmeric Leaves .......... for today's Naivedyam ...........
Patholi is a sweet dish prepared by Konkani on festive occasion, especially during Nag Panchami, Ganesh Chaturti / Gowri Pooja, Krishnashtami. These are sweet dumplings similar to the Maharashtrian Modaks, but prepared on Turmeric Leaves. Turmeric leaves are very frangrant and have a lovely aroma which fills the whole house while being steamed. These are available in plenty during rainy season, may be this is the whole reason for it being prepared for Naivedyam during this particular season.
Patholi is prepared by applying finely ground rice paste on the leaves which is centered by Sweet coconut churnu / filling. The leaves are then folded over and steamed for some time till done. These patholi’s are thin and long in shape. The aroma of turmeric leaves get seeped in with the prepared patholi giving it a very different and awesome flavour.
Many dishes are prepared using Turmeric Leaves. Kheeri a dish which I have already posted is nothing but fine quality rice cooked in coconut milk to which turmeric leaves are added for fragrance. We can also prepared the cucumber idly on turmeric leaves. In case turmeric leaves are not available the same can be done on banana leaves. However it will not have the delicate flavour of turmeric leaves.
Cut the edges of 6-8 turmeric leaves, wash and wipe them clean. Keep this ready. If the turmeric leaves are too big in length, you can cut them horizontally into two pieces.
For the outer cover : Wash and soak one cup of rice in water for an hour or so. Strain and then grind to a fine paste with 3-4 tblsp of freshly grated coconut (this is for softness in outer cover) and a pinch of salt. This is the traditional method. However, in Mumbai we get a very good Rice flour ie. used for preparing Modak which is very similar to our patholi. So I just use that powder for the outer cover. The patholi not only comes out good, the texture and the aroma is also awesome. Just add a pinch of salt, 2-3 tblsp of coconut milk (I use ready made one available in tetra packs in the market) and water and combine it with 1 cup of rice flour to a very fine thick paste. You can add a tblsp of grated jaggery to the same and mix well so that there are no lumps in the batter. Usually this is not added, I have not, but then some find the outer cover a bit bland and they do add to. It is up to you. You can try both the methods by adding for some batter so that you can choose as to which one is to your liking. Prepare the batter and keep it aside ready.
For the filling : Heat a thick bottomed kadai with 1 tblsp of pure homemade ghee, when it melts add in one cup of grated jaggery. Keep the heat medium and melt it by sprinkling a few drops of water on the jaggery. Do not allow the jaggery to get burnt. Keep the fire low if you find it getting burnt. Once it melts and comes to a boil, add in 1.5 cups of grated coconut and mix well. Fry for about 5-7 minutes till it get thicker. If you find the jaggery still a bit watery you can add ¼ cup of grated coconut. This is because the thickness of the melted jaggery differs with different types of jaggery. Remove and add ½ tsp of cardamom powder and mix well. Let cool to room temperature. Now add in layee pitto (puffed rice powder) and mix well till you get a mixture that does not have much of moisture. This layee pitto is added to ensure that the mixture does not leave water as it soaks in the extra moisture. So just add how much is needed only, on your judgement. You may need about a cup or so.
Now keep the turmeric leaves in a row on a platform or table the darker inner side of the leaves should be facing on the top towards you. Take a large some rice flour paste on your hand (about a large tablespoon) and apply it on the turmeric leaves in one direction motion evenly leaving out 1 inch gap on all side of the outer edges of the leaves. Do not apply very thick nor too thin.
Now in a thin layer lengthwise at the centre of the applied rice paste, put in the prepared filling mixture neatly ensuring you leave some space towards the top and bottom. This is to ensure that when you fold over the leaves, into half moon type shapes, the center filling should get stuffed inside ie sealed within the outer rice flour paste. I have enclosed pictures for proper knowledge of the same.
Now fold over the leaves, and press gently so that they become compact. Do not apply excess pressure, which may then result in the paste coming out of the leaves.
Heat a pedavan or Idly steamer with plenty of water. When it comes to full boil, lower the heat and gently keep the patholi in a layer, seeing to it that they are kept with the opening leave side upwards. If there are more patholis made than in a single layer. Just steam first layer for 10 minutes and then place the second layer on top of the first one changing its angle a bit and then steam for 15-20 minutes. This is to ensure that all the patholis get evenly steamed. If you place them in rows all together in one go sometimes the center ones will not get proper steam due to which they may not get cooked properly.
When done remove and put them gently on a plate and allow to cool to room temperature. Serve patholi topped with fresh homemade ghee.