Patholi (in Konkani) is a traditional dessert made during festivals or special occasions. Dumpling made of rice flour is stuffed with coconut jaggery mixture and steamed in turmeric eaves. The key component while making this are the special turmeric leaves. The flavor of the turmeric leaf is infused into the patholi while it is steaming, giving the dish a flavorful aroma.
As I understand it is referred to as Hoorulu kadabu or Arasina Yele kadabu in Kannada and Ilayada in Malayalam. This is not to be confused with the crumbled daal curry referred to as Patoli or Usli in South Indian homes.
Kadabu/patholi is considered a favorite of Lord Ganapathi and it is therefore prepared that day along with plethora of other delicious traditional items.
This special dish was prepared when we were in India (of course). We landed on the day of Gowri/ Ganesha Pooja celebrations and got to be part of the festivities. Imagine the joy in our hearts that day! We not only got to see our parents and family, we got to be part of a festival and of course most importantly we got to eat foods that are not available here or difficult to make here.
I know this is a long recipe and the process is time consuming as well. First the coconut mixture needs to be prepared, followed by rice flour dough. This needs to be applied to turmeric leaves and then steamed. But trust me the effort is worth every bit of it. The taste and the heavenly aroma when you bite into it is totally indescribable.
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It has only been few years ago when I learnt that even Black Chana/ Kala Chana are referred to as Chickpeas. I had assumed that only Kabuli Chana was referred to as Chickpeas. I make the usual Chana Masala with the Kabuli Chana and Saaru and upkari (Konkani for Curry) using the Black Chana.
This is a simple dry curry and rasam made with minimal ingredients from the pantry. Kala chana is first soaked, cooked and then finally seasoned. The cooked water is used to make the rasam by flavoring with seasoning of garlic. This is my younger brother’s favorite food to have for lunch or dinner. We love this at home too, but we prefer the Lima Beans Curry or the Black Eyed Bean Saar upkari better.
It is also helpful to note that chickpeas are a helpful source of zinc, folate and protein. They are also very high in dietary fiber and hence a healthy source of carbohydrates for persons with insulin sensitivity or diabetes. (Source).
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It is not often that one would find me in the kitchen preparing something as elaborate as this dish. Most of the dishes I make are quick ones, which do not involve too many steps and gets done in a jiffy. Even though I cite the excuse of lack of time, the real reason is I am lazy to cook something that takes a long time.
But this one is an exception as it has a warmth and tradition marked on it. This recipe of Konkani Chitranna Gojju was my husband’s maternal grandmother’s “Amamma” trademark recipe. She had passed this along with so many others on to her daughters including my MIL. I had noted down this recipe and had seen my MIL making it once. Amamma a warm and wonderful lady passed away recently. So I wanted to make this in her memory and save it for years to come. It is a small way of paying respect and also cherishing her much loved traditional recipe.
So what is a Gojju? For those unfamiliar with the name, Gojju is a Kannada name and is a spice paste/concentrate consisting of tamarind, jaggery, dry coconut, sesame, oil and plethora of spices. It has a balanced taste of sweet, sour, spicy and salty, but in concentrated form. This is treated more like a pickle and is eaten only in spoonfuls. The common way to eat this is by mixing a spoonful of Gojju along with warm cooked rice. Even though it is a time consuming process, the end result is worth every bit of it. Needless to say this is a favorite one at our house.
The complete preparation takes about an hour to make. But keep in mind a little goes a long way for this. Keep the Gojju in an air tight container and it lasts for a month without any problem.
Off this goes to Jaya’s Back to Basics Event an event hosted by a warm and witty Desi Soccer Mom.
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