Taro leaves are either bright or deep green in colour and are heart shaped. Cooked Taro leaves are easily digestible, are very good for the eyes as they contain loads of Vitamin A. They also contain VitaminC, they help in controlling cholesterol levels, are heart friendly, and are great for anaemics, they contain a lot of iron. Please note they should be consumed in cooked state only. Never consume it raw as it contains a natural toxic substance, calcium oxalate that causes itching, which diminishes once cooked and is safe to eat. Hence taro leaves need to be cooked properly. I always buy colocasia leaves from my regular vegetable vendor. The leaves that are used to prepare the gravied veg are smaller than those used to prepare alu vadi. Some leaves may cause throat irritation or itchiness hence a souring agent is always added to recipes with colocasia leaves. 

Taro leaves are called alu in marathi and alu chi patal bhaji is a delicious, sweet, sour and spicy gravy recipe that is a must on festive occassions. Today I'm posting alu chi patal bhaji with a tempering of crushed garlic. The same recipe can be prepared on no onion no garlic days without adding garlic tempering.

RECIPE :

Ingredients

  • 16 leaves of taro/alu( these leaves are much smaller than the ones used to prepare taro fritters)
  • 5 tbsp freshly boiled peanuts
  • 2 tbsp gram dal/ chana dal
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida
  • A pinch of turmeric powder
  • 5 green chillies( adjust to spice required)
  • 1 tbsp tamarind pulp  OR as per tang required
  • 1 tbsp gram flour/ besan mixed in a little water to a smooth paste
  • 5 thinly sliced coconut pieces
  • Jaggery to taste
  • Salt to taste

Added Tempering

  • 2 tsp oil
  • 6 pods of crushed garlic 

METHOD :

  • Let the chana dal, soak in water for 20 minutes. Boil it and keep it aside. 
  • Wash the taro leaves well even though they look clean. Soak them in water for a while, rinse them well under tap water. Apply oil or tamarind pulp to your hands as the sap of colocassia/ taro leaves contains calcium oxalate that can cause itchiness. If there are any visible veins on the back of the leaves, scrape them off with a knife. Cut the taro leaves finely and pressure cook the leaves,till pressure is released 4 times. Once the pressure settles down, dispose the excess water from the taro leaves. Blend it to a fine paste along with green chillies and tamarind.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, when they splutter add asafoetida, turmeric powder, add the fine paste of taro leaves. Add a little water to clean the mixer jar and add it to the pan. Add cooked bengal gram, peanuts, coconut slices and jaggery and stir well. Add the gram flour paste,salt, a little water to get the desired consistency and bring to a boil. 
  • In a seasoning pan, heat oil, add, add crushed garlic and pour it over the gravy. Mix well so that the garlic flavour sinks into the gravy.
  • Serve hot as a side dish with polis/ chapatis or even as an accompaniment with steaming hot rice.

Variations to the recipe : Minor variations give different but awesome taste to the same vegetable.

  • You can skip adding the garlic tempering on no onion no garlic days. Tastes great without the tempering too.
  • You can add 1 1/2 to 2 tsp goda masala, reduce the number of chillies to 3 as goda masala is pungent, for a change. Tastes awesome too. 

NOTE : 

  • The taro leaves need to be cooked well. The leaves used for cooking the gravy are smaller in size than the ones used for preparing Alu vadi/ taro fritters.
  • Select fresh,green, crisp leaves, do not use mature, yellow leaves.