You cannot imagine south Indian cuisine without the banana leaf, can you? Even if you haven’t attended a quintessential ‘Sadya’ in your life, you know that a traditional Malayali spread is served on a banana leaf and not on a plate. The tradition is common in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh too. It is laid out with its tip pointing to the left and sprinkled with a splash of water before a range of chutneys, pickles, curries, breads, papads occupy their designated place, one after the other. When the banana leaf is not being used as a plate, it is used in several other aspects of cooking, like steaming. Kizhi Parotta, is a Malabar parotta that is laced with hot, vegetable-chicken-based masala and placed inside a banana leaf before it is steamed.  

To make the paratha, a masala is prepared in advance. If it is a loaded Kizhi paratha, chopped onions, tomatoes, chillies are tossed and shallow-fried on a hot tawa. Some shredded meat is added next and tossed up with other veggies, along with powdered masalas like red chilli powder, turmeric, dhaniya etc. Once the veggies and meat are nicely cooked, they are transferred on to another plate. The masala is whipped up with eggs and some more spices or gravy, to make it extra rich. Further, the leaves are heated slightly, so that they turn soft and pliable, else there is greater chances of the leaf breaking. On the same hot pan, the egg-meat-veggie masala is cooked like an omelette, on top of which a flaky Malabar parotta is placed gently. The masala mixture is again poured on top of the paratha and spread out evenly along the rim of the paratha. The loaded Malabar parotta is tossed on both sides and then placed on the heated banana leaves. Some left-over dry masala (without the egg) is further added to the paratha, followed by some gravy or salan. The Parotta is wrapped loosely in banana leaves until all open edges are sealed, it is a good idea to take big sized- leaves, take two if required. The leaves are tied together and placed on hot surface to steam. Once it is nicely steamed, the leaves are removed and the Kizhi Parotta is served.  

Steaming softens the parotta, and ensures the spices are well-blended with the parotta. The natural flavour of the banana leaves also seeps into the parotta.  

Kizhi parotta is also known as Kozhi Potlam. Kizhi in Malayalam refers to a healing, herbal bundle that is commonly used in massages and spas. When the parotta is wrapped in banana leaves, the bundle appears just like a Kizhi.  

Have you tried Kizhi Parotta? Let us know how you liked it.