Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Aluchi wadi (Alu wadi / Arabi leaf cutlets / patra)

Aluchi wadi is a Maharashtrian delicacy. The alu leaves are coated with spiced besan and steamed. Instead of alu you can use cabbage to make kobi wadi or cilantro to make kothimbir wadi.

My mother used to make all three and I remember helping her as a child. My mother would insist on the black stalked alu for these wadis. But here where I live I cannot be so picky so I used the green stalked alu. I could not really tell the difference.

The Alu plant like the banana plant requires a lot of water. Alu leaves are heart shaped. Each stalk grows directly from the root. You will get about 8 wadis with two leaves. I used four leaves.

You will need
4 alu leaves

For the besan paste
1 cup besan
1 tbsp. rice flour
2 tbsp. tamarind extract
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. red chili powder
1 tsp. powdered roasted coriander and cumin seeds
salt to taste

For the final step
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1/4 tsp. asafoetida
1 tbsp. olive oil

Make the besan paste first. Mix all the ingredients together. Add a little water and whisk together. Add more water if needed.

Continue adding water and whisking until you have a thick paste. Keep aside.

Now prep the leaves. Wash them clean and dry them using a cloth. Be careful not to tear them.

Spread one leaf on a flat work surface with stalk side up. Trim the stalk. Coat completely with the prepared basan paste. This can get messy.

Now place a second leaf stalk side down over the first. Coat it with the paste. Have fun getting your fingers dirty.

Starting from the side of the stalk roll the leaves into a tight roll. When you get to the stalk you may have to snap it for the first couple of rolls.

Apply paste as you roll. Continue rolling till the end. I cut the rolls in half to fit into my steamer. I used a pressure cooker. I allowed the pressure to build, turned off the heat and allowed the pressure to go down. You can use any steamer you want. Grease the bottom to prevent sticking.

Transfer the rolls to a cutting board. They should be quite firm now. Cut them to the desired size.

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they crackle add turmeric powder and asafoetida. Put all the cooked and cut alu wadis into the pan.

Saute until they turn brownish in color and the tops are crisp. Serve hot.

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