Patra in Gujarati or Alu Wadi in Marathi is a seasonal, crispy dish enjoyed by one and all. Colocasia originates from the family Araceae, which is native to Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. These are perennial plants that have a large corm (or Arbi as it is called in Hindi) just below the ground. Arbi too is a versatile vegetable that is enjoyed boiled, shallow fried, or in a curry. The leaves of the plant are usually used as crisps with gram flour and chili paste being applied onto them before they are rolled up and steamed. The leaves are usually large and also called the elephant’s ear plant as they are shaped like a large ear or shield. 

Also Read: 4 Pillars of Gujarati Food Culture

Preparation time: 25-30 minutes 

Cooking time: 25 minutes 

Servings: 12 servings 

Ingredients Mixture for Gujarati Patra / Maharashtrian Alu Wadi 

  • 1 cup gram flour 
  • Water
  • Salt To taste
  • 1 tsp red chili powder 
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder 
  • 1 tsp coriander powder 
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds (untoasted)
  • 1 tsp ginger-green chili paste
  • 4 tbsp tamarind pulp (Soaked for 10 mins)
  • 4 tbsp jaggery (Soaked in Little Water – enough to make it a liquidy paste)
  • Colocasia leaves/ alu Leaves / arbi Ke Patte (washed, dried, and stalks removed)

Ingredients for pan fry 

  • 1 tbsp refined oil 

Ingredients for tadka/ tempering

  • 1 tbsp any refined Oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp asafoetida  
  • 10 to 15 curry leaves

Method 

  • In a deep bowl, take gram flour and mix red chili powder, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, white sesame seeds and salt, mix well
  • Add the wet ingredients to this mix – ginger-green chili paste, tamarind pulp (soaked) jaggery (soaked) and a bit of water to mix it well. Remove all the lumps. Consistency has to be like a spread
  • Take the colocasia leaves and remove their stalks. Arrange the leaves from the smallest to the biggest in a pile, with the glossy side facing downwards. Take the first or the biggest leaf, keep the glossy side facing downwards and apply the gram flour mixture on the top side. Take the leaf smaller than the first, place it on the leaf which already has the mixture – with glossy side down as the first leaf - and again apply the mixture on top of the second leaf. Follow this process with about 4-5 leaves. 
  • Next, fold in the leaf bundle from the bottom side, and smear some mix onto the folds as well. 
  • Next fold in the leaf lengthwise from both sides and smear some mix on the folded sides again
  • Now start rolling the leaf bundle starting from the bottom and moving to the top. Smear some more gram flour mixture on the entire roll and keep aside. 
  • Follow through the same process with the second leaf bundle too
  • Once both rolls are ready, prepare the steamer and put in both for steaming. 
  • Steam the leaf rolls for 15 minutes, turn off the heat and let them cool down completely. 
  • Once cool, cut the rolls as roundels into equal parts. And keep aside
  • In a frying pan, heat some oil and start putting in the roundels of colocasia leaves / patra and fry until golden brown on both sides.

Method for tempering

  • In a small pan add oil and mustard seeds. Let them splutter; add sesame seeds and a bit of asafoetida and curry leaves. Let the mix splutter. Once it is ready, pour it over the patra.
  • Add some freshly chopped coriander and grated coconut over the same
  • Serve as a side dish with the main course of dal-rice or chicken rice

The plant’s leaves can cause irritation, which is why it must be processed by cooking, soaking, or fermenting, sometimes using lime or tamarind.