Steaming up a tradition

Steaming up a tradition

Down foodpath

Steaming up a tradition

I grew up in a community where food was a big part of my life. I believe that the culinary culture of any community is a pointer towards its geographic, social and even economic evolution. It defines their habits, preferences and nutritional standards to a great extent.

We are best known for making the best use of any part of a plant or tree like shoots, roots, flowers, leaves, seeds or even the skin of vegetables. We have a wide variety of traditional dishes which are prepared extensively for festivals like ‘Ugadi’, ‘Ganesha Chaturthi’, ‘Deepavali’ and others.

One of the signature delicacies is ‘Patrodo’ which is a traditional speciality that is served during festivals. It is one of my all-time favourite dishes.

The preparation uses colocasia leaves along with pulses, cereals, coconut and spices.
Though there is not too much information about the history of the dish, the easy availability of the ingredients that go into it and the versatility of the dish is well known.

Colocasia Esculenta, a perennial plant that thrives in the tropical climate has invasive growth which needs very little care — all this must have contributed to its popularity.

The leaves, besides being rich in iron, are a good laxative and contribute to the dietary fibre content. 

The leftovers of this dish and the by-products too could turn out to be tasty dishes. While the steamed dish could be the main item on the menu, the leftover slices could be shallow or deep fried rolling each slice in rice flour or ‘suji’ to form a crispy side dish or a spicy bite with tea.

Alternatively, the leftover ‘Patrodo’ could be crushed into crumbs, seasoned with mustard, ‘urad dal’, ‘methi’, onion or any other spices of one’s choice and can be served after garnishing it with freshly grated coconut.

Chopped onions, greens like ‘methi’, shredded cabbage etc. could be added to the leftover paste to make delicious ‘dosas’.  Thus, no portion of the dish is wasted. This versatility adds to its popularity.




Colocasia leaves, 10 to 12 (preferably tender and cleaned)
Rice, 3 cups
Tur dal, 2 cups
Grated coconut, 2 cups
 Red chillis, 8 or 10
Tamarind, 1 marble sized lump
Salt to taste
Hing for flavour


Carefully remove the thick veins in leaves, wash them well and keep them for draining. 
Soak the rice and dal together for two to three hours.
Grind the coconut along with the tamarind and chillis into a fine paste.
Add the dal and rice,  grind into a thick paste. 
Add salt and hing, mix well.
Spread the largest leaf on a board and smear it with the paste covering it fully.  
Keep another one over it covering 3/4 of it with the tail portion of one leaf facing the head portion of the previous to give a rounded shape to the roll. 
Smear the second leaf too with the paste. Finish the other leaves similarly and roll the bed of leaves into a tight roll.  
Smear the roll with paste.
Steam the roll in a steamer or cooker (with the whistle on) for half an hour. 
Cut into slices of required size. Serve hot sprinkled with coconut oil.