Turmeric leaves are very fragrant and they impart an awesome aroma and flavour to the dish that’s cooked in it. Available during monsoons and the onset of the festive season right from mid July till Navratri, these turmeric leaves are used to prepare naivedyam recipes. One such aromatic and flavourful naivedyam recipe is Patholi. Patholis are sweet, rice dumplings steamed in turmeric leaves. There are different variations in preparing the rice batter. I find the one posted below to be the easiest. Traditionally, rice is soaked in water and then ground to a thick batter, but these days modak flour is easily available, hence I skip soaking the rice, instead I make a thick paste out of the basmati rice flour. You need to use modak flour only for best results as it gets steamed perfectly. Posting my version of patholis below which is also offered as naivedyam.
- Approximately 10 turmeric leaves
- Ghee to grease the leaves
- Ghee to be used while serving the patholis
To prepare the batter
- Approximately 1 1/2 cups basmati rice flour / modak flour OR as required
- 1 tsp oil
- Water as required to make a thick paste
- Salt to taste
To prepare the filling
- 1 cup freshly grated coconut
- 1/2 cup grated jaggery OR as per individual sweetness required
- 1/4th tsp cardamom powder
- A generous pinch of nutmeg powder
Rinse the turmeric leaves well, wipe them using a soft cloth taking care not to tear them and keep aside. In case the turmeric leaves are longer than the width of the steamer cut off the stem portion of the leaves, so that you can place the patholis properly.
To prepare the batter :
- Add water to the rice flour a little at a time to make a thick paste. You should be able to spread the batter on the turmeric leaf well. The batter should not be runny. Add salt, oil, mix well and keep aside. Adding a tsp of oil gives a smoothness to the batter and helps to spread it easily onto the leaf.
To prepare the inner coconut filling :
- Heat a flat pan and combine coconut, jaggery and cook it on low flame. The mix will first liquify and then start thickening. Cook till the mix thickens a bit, but it should be soft and moist(the mix should NOT be dry). Add cardamom powder, nutmeg powder, mix well and switch off the flame. Let the mix cool.
To prepare the patholis :
- On a clean surface place a turmeric leaf, lightly grease it with ghee, then spread a small ladle of the batter/ thick paste a little away from one end of the leaf and gently spread it using a flat spoon towards the other end( a little away from the other end too). Do not spread the batter along the edges, if not the batter will spill out when the leaf is folded. The spread batter should’nt be thick, try to spread a thin, even layer.
- Place the inner filling on one side of the leaf vertically, leaving a little space along the edge, so that you can fold the patholi. The more the filling the sweeter the patholi will be. Fold the other half of the leaf vertically over it and press it gently. You could even fold the leaf horizontally. If you want to fold it horizontally, place the filling on one half of the leaf and fold the leaf horizontally.
- Repeat the same with the rest of the leaves. Each time you spread the batter, stir the batter well and then spread it onto the leaf.
- Place a steamer with enough water, and let the water boil. Once the water boils, place the patholis on a plate inside the steamer. Cover and steam for 18 to 20 minutes on high flame. Once cooked, remove the hot patholis, gently peel the turmeric leaves and serve hot patholis with a generous amount of ghee on top.
- Greasing the turmeric leaves with ghee before applying the rice batter helps in easy removal of the leaves after the patholis are cooked.