Spicy Taro Leaves (a.k.a. Patra)

By: Esther Vasa

Taro Leaves – 1 bunch or about 15-20 leaves
Water to steam
Oil Spray to bake (preferably Olive oil)

Spice Mix:
Pearl Millet Flour – ½ cup
Bajra Flour (another type of millet flour)– ½ cup
Chickpea flour – 1/4th cup
Red Chilli Powder – 1/4th tsp
Cayenne Pepper – 2 or 3 pinches
Salt to taste
Brown Sugar – 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder – 1/4th tsp
Clove and Cinnamon crushed – 2 pinches
Cumin Powder – 1/4th tsp
Water – About a cup
Juice of one Lemon

For Garnishing:
Onion – 1 diced finely
Green Chillies – 2 chopped finely
Mustard seeds – 1/4th tsp
Ginger – 1 inch piece crushed
Garlic – 4 cloves crushed
Curry Leaves – 6 chopped
Cilantro – 2 tbsp
Oil – 1 tbsp

Mix all the ingredients from the spice mix except water. Use a little water at a time and mix well until a thick paste is formed. Set the paste aside.

Heat up water in a steel wok where you will position your steamer rack.

Clean the taro leaves and remove the stems and thick veins. On a flat cutting board or a plate, place one taro leaf and apply a thin layer of paste prepared in the previous step. Put the next leaf on top of the first leaf and smear a thin layer of spice mix again. Repeat this step for the next four leaves. Roll the six leaves together and cut in the middle to make two halves.

Repeat the step above for six leaves at a time. After this, you should have about six rolls ready to be steamed. Put the six rolls on the steamer rack and let the leaves steam for about 30 minutes at low heat. Take out the steamed rolls and cut them into ½ inch pieces.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray some cooking spray on a baking tray and arrange the steamed pieces. Bake it for 10 minutes.

In a steel pan, heat up a tablespoon of oil and put the mustard seeds. Allow them to splutter. Next, add the curry leaves and let them heat up for 30 seconds. Then add the onions and stir them for a minute. Then add the crushed ginger and garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add the steamed taro leaves and stir lightly for a minute. Finally garnish with cilantro leaves and put this in a serving plate. Enjoy your spicy entrée with a cup of hot chamomile tea.

Preparation Time: 1 hour

Serves: 4