Patholi is a sweet rice dumpling steamed in turmeric leaves. Patholi is a savory dumpling with sweet coconut filling inside a thin rice batter coating. A thin, flat & long rice cake packed in a slender, delicate and fragrant turmeric leaf. Patholi in Konkani means a steamed ‘pudding’ or ‘dumpling’. Turmeric leaves are called haldi paan in konkani. Patholi is delicious and fragrant due to the turmeric leaves. A sweet dish that delights everyone!
Patholi is prepared for gowri pooja, chauti(ganesh festival), nagarpanchami festivals. With the onset of monsoon the turmeric leaves start to grow. These festivals fall during the rainy season and thus patholi is a must for these festivals.
The characteristic fragrance of patholi comes from the turmeric leaves. It smells heavenly when your cooking these patholis. If you do not find turmeric leaves, you can cook them in banana leaves but you’ll miss the taste and flavour of turmeric leaves. If you have few turmeric leaves then you can cut them into pieces and keep them inside the banana leaves holding the patholi batter and filling so that it imparts its smell, flavour and taste to the patholis.
To make patholi we need to prepare two things: rice batter and choornu(the konkani word for inner, sweet coconut filling).
10-12 Turmeric leaves
1 cup rice
Salt to taste
Jaggery to taste
1/2 cup beaten rice/poha
1/2 cup grated coconut
For the filling (choornu):
1/2 cup powdered or grated jaggery
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup broken puffed paddy (optional) (laya pitto in konkani)
A pinch of cardamom powder
Soak rice for atleast half an hour and grind in a mixer along with grated coconut, poha, salt and jaggery into a smooth paste without using lots of water.
Use as little water as possible while grinding or else your peet/the dough will flow off the turmeric leaves. Keep the thick dough aside.
Wash the turmeric leaves carefully, drain and wipe them dry using a cloth. Take care not to tear them. Keep them aside. If the turmeric leaves are longer than the size of your steamer then chop the stem portion of the leaf or else its a hassle while placing the patholis inside the steamer for steaming.
In a bowl mix together the freshly grated coconut, grated jaggery and cardamom powder and blend them well. Then add laya pitto (broken puffed paddy) to the mixture and mix well. The sweetness of the patholi depends on the amount of jaggery you have used while preparing the choornu(the filling). So, adjust the amount of jaggery you use in the filling, depending on how sweet you want your patholi.
On a clean working surface place a leaf and place a small portion of thick rice paste at the end of the stem and spread it across the length of the leaf using your fingers (all fingers except the thumb). Leave out the edges to avoid spilling of the batter when you press them closed. The rice paste should be applied as thin a layer as possible.
Place the coconut & jaggery mixture along the spine of the leaf (right in the centre, the middle of the leaf). Patholi’s sweetness also depends on the amount of choornu you place inside each patholi. So, if you want your patholi very sweet then place lots of choornu in the centre of the leaf.
Fold the leaf into half, along the spine (vertically). Continue this process until all the leaves/rice paste is used up.
Place a steaming vessel with sufficient water on a high flame. When the water comes to boil, place the patholis on the plate inside the steamer. You can stack them up or place them evenly so that all of them get steamed evenly. Cover and steam for 12-15 minutes on full flame.
Once cooked, remove, peel off the turmeric leaves and serve hot patholis with ghee.
P.S: If you can’t find turmeric leaves in plenty, you can make patholis in banana leaf (or parchment paper) and keep small pieces of turmeric leaf inside for the great smell and taste of turmeric leaves. Make pieces of banana leaf/parchment paper, apply rice dough and filling, fold the banana leaf, parchment paper into half and steam it.
If the turmeric leaves are too thin and small to hold the rice dough and coconut filling, then you can place them inside another bigger sized turmeric leaves or wrap them with banana leaves that been cut into required size. The fresh banana leaves break and tear so you have to place them uniformly on the gas flame for 30 seconds. The process makes the banana leaves soft and remove their brittleness.
If you do not have a steaming vessel, you can use a cooker, add water into it. Keep a plate with holes at the bottom. Place patholis on it, close and steam for 15 minutes.
Makes 12-14 patholis.