Stuffed Greens ha… Forgive Me, but I could'nt think of any other description. You know what these are. Patra in gujarati, alu wadi in Marathi and pathrado in konkani. Well, that just about ends my vocabulary regarding these.
So, how do you go about stuffing greens? By layering them, of course. Layer them and then roll them like you would a Swiss roll and voila….stuffed greens.
Before we move on to making these, let me clarify. These are traditionally made with colocasia leaves. However, these are not available in my part of the world. I made do without them for quite a while and then a little thing called "pregnancy-craving" kicked in. I just had to have them. On an inspired and desperate shopping expedition, I visited my local grocery store and came out with the greens with the biggest leaves. My find, Collard Greens. I made these with them and they tasted really good. And after binging on fries and pizza in the name of pregnancy-cravings, I felt really healthy after having them. After the whole pregnancy thing passed me by, I made these with collard greens again. Just to make sure, it was not the pregnancy playing tricks on me. And yep, they tasted just as good. And at 99 cents per pound, they are more affordable than the actual taro leaves that I get from my occasional trip to NJ. I have continued making these with collard greens, just as I have today.
I made the traditional konkani stuffing/paste, that is applied on the leaves, as follows,
2 cups Whole Green Moong,soaked overnight
1/2 cup Coconut Gratings
a fistful of Roasted Dry Red Chillies
1/2 tsp tamarind
1/2 tsp Asafoetida
Yes, you read right. A fistful of chillies. You would'nt believe how much bland a bunch of greens and green moong Dal could be. You could substitute the red chillies with fresh green chillies, again a fistful. You could substitute the 2 cups of green moong Dal with 1 cup rice + 1 cup green moong Dal or just 2 cups rice. Grind the coconut gratings, chillies and tamarind together coarsely using very little water. Add the other ingredients and grind together into a fine paste. Use water very sparingly. Taste it. It should taste more saltier and more spicier than you like. That's when it would be perfect when rolled together with the leaves.
So, lets roll. :) oh, I kill myself with my humor. Sorry. Back to business. I use one bunch of leaves for one roll, about 10 leaves. First prep the leaves. Clean the leaves as you would any greens and then wipe each one dry. Cut the thick veins on the leaves, by folding them and cutting them off. Like so.
The trick to a perfectly rolled pathrado is to not get all the thick veins on top of each other. That makes the rolling that much more difficult. So you alternate it. Start with one leaf. Apply a thin layer of the paste on it. And oh, you always apply the paste on the side that is lighter in color. That's the side that the paste can adhere to. The other side rolls off the water, remember. Now, layer 2 more leaves on that first leaf, as below.
Apply the paste. You have got a good base now. Keep layering the rest of the leaves taking care to see that you have equal layers on all side and that you are not putting the veins right on top of each other. Keep doing it till you have used all the leaves. Now, roll it up like you would a burrito. Fold the sides in first, then the bottom. Apply paste on each part that is does not have it yet. Then keep rolling, tucking the sides in with every roll till you reach the end and end up with a Swiss roll of sorts. Tuck some paste in from the sides after you finish rolling.
Cut them carefully, preferably with a bread knife without pressing the roll. Let the knife do the cutting. Cut them into 4 pieces and steam them till it smells like pathrado. If you don't know what its supposed to smell like, just steam it for about 12-15 mins. Don't open the steamer yet. Let it stay as is for another 10 mins.
There is another way to cook it. Heat a 12 inch cast iron pan.(Yes, a cast iron pan. A non-stick pan would do in its absence, I guess). Heat Oil, add mustard seeds. When they sputter, add a pinch of asafoetida pwd. Place each cross section of the roll on the hot oil. You should hear a searing sound. That's the sound of good things. You want to sear a side of it like you would a piece of meat. Place all four pieces in the pan, pour water (about 1/2 cup) from around the pieces into the pan. Avoid putting the water over the rolls. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 15 mins. Remove from flame and keep covered for another 10 mins.
Slice into thin slices, about 1/2" thick, before serving. We serve them with a few drops of coconut oil poured on it and the piece with the seared side is the prize cut in our home. Delicious.