5 Different Types Of Leaves Used In Bengali Paturi Dishes

In the traditional Bengali cuisine paturi, fish or vegetables are wrapped in different types of leaves and marinated in a mixture of spices, coconut, and mustard paste before being steamed or grilled. The meal has a little earthiness and a delicate scent from the different types of leaves used. Its flavour profile is rich, with a well-balanced mix of spicy, sour, and smokey undertones, and its texture is soft and moist, almost melting in your tongue. Paturi's cooking method leaves the ingredients encased in layers of moisture and flavour, creating a dish that is loved for its mouthwatering texture and flavour.

Here are 5 different options of leaves for paturi:

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1. Elephant-Ear Leaf: 

A traditional Bengali dish, paturi, is made from different leaves, elephant ear leaves are one of the typical ones used in this dish. While cooking, these big leaves impart flavour to food as they have a unique taste and aroma. These leaves are not only responsible for that nice and fresh look, but they also retain moisture, making ingredients stay delicious and soft. The marinated fish or vegetables are wrapped in the leaf and steamed in a shallow fry; this step helps the leaf to impart all its flavour to the dish.  In Bengali cuisine, bhetki paturi and prawn paturi represent two really traditional dishes made using elephant ear leaves that generally embody the Bengali culinary mood.

2. Banana Leaves: 

One of the most commonly used leaf for paturi, is banana leaf. In the cooking process, the leaves impart all its flavour to the dish, with a light taste of grass and a soft, smoky smell. They are the best option, as the firm components can be wrapped well with them. The softened banana leaves are cleaned and then processed to enclose the item (fish or vegetable) that has been seasoned and cooked. The natural flavours of the ingredients are empowered by the aroma of the banana leaves in these recipes made with delicate spices and clever but simple ingredients to create Chingri Paturi (Prawn Paturi) and Hilsa Paturi (Ilish Paturi).

3. Lau Pata: 

The name "Lau Pata '' identifies the vegetable bottle gourd leaves used in paturi to reward the supporters of cultural cooking. These leaves, which can be used instead of foil and glass lids, also offer a light and natural flavour of green. Lau pata is mild and slightly bitter in taste and smooth textured. For preparation, wash the bottle gourd leaves, and use them to wrap fish or veggies, then marinate spices and coconut; after that, they can be grilled or steam-cooked. Lau pata bhapa Ilish (hilsa fish) and Lau pata bhapa Chingri (prawns) are the other traditional dishes known for their inclusion of Lau pata in Bengal.

4. Kumro Pata: 

The Bengali meal paturi staple is quite a popular dish. This leaf has a mild flavour of bitterness with an earthy note, which is what makes meal taste unique. The fish and vegetables are wrapped in leaves and then dressed with mustard-based paste, coconut, and spices. The dish is then shallow-fried, and this process imparts a great flavour to the dish. Among other dishes, Bengali delicacies that incorporate Kumro Pata (pumpkin leaves) are Kumror Pata (mash pumpkin leaves), kumro pata diye bhetki paturi and more.

5. Alpina: 

The Alpina leaf, carrying a fragrance of  Alpinia Calcarata, is included in Paturi and other dishes. It has a profile of peppery and spicy taste amid the citrusy flavours. That is why it can be used for a variety of purposes, like adding flavour and wrapping food. A paste of the mustard plant is made by mashing it, letting it dry, and then using it to cover strips of fish or vegetables that have been wrapped up in the leaves. The cuisine native to the Bengal state of India includes fish wrapped in alpina leaf called Ilish Paturi (hilsa fish) and Chingri Paturi (prawns). These flavorful leaves are also used for preparing pithas in Assam.