The Patholi Pictorial.

This summer I finally did what I had been planning for a long time. I pushed some fresh turmeric root into a pot of soil and prayed. In a classic manifestation of “ask and ye shall receive”, I received. Each of the root turned into a beautiful plant, having at least 10 leaves each. Though the leaves were nowhere near the size that one would get in an Indian market during this season, it didn’t matter because I had the leaves and that means that I could finally make some Paan Patholi.

Patholi is essentially Coconut+Jaggery mixture in rice+coconut paste steamed in turmeric leaves. It is a Konkani specialty and is usually made during Nagpanchami which is when I made these. The magic in this comes from the leaves. It is all about the leaves in fact. They are not just the pot holder here. They impart a very subtle taste to the rice paste during the steaming process that cannot be replicated by any alternative. Well, Banana leaves can be used but it would be a different taste. Good, but not the same. And the aroma, Oh the aroma, to die for. Not before eating a steaming hot patholi, though.



Turmeric Plants in my patio Garden

For the past four years, I made the patholi in parchment papers in the absence of the turmeric leaves. Shilpa has a great post on that.


Leaves washed and wiped clean


Trimmed and lined for the magic

And the magic happens so.

For the rice paste,


1 cup raw rice

for 1-2 hours. Grind the rice with

1 cup poha/flattened rice
2-3 tbsp of grated fresh coconut
1/2 tsp of Jaggery, grated
salt, a pinch

with as little water as possible,till it forms a smooth paste. With my blender the way it is, I had to add more water and ended up making it more watery than it is upposed to be. It didn’t hurt the end product, but it was messy applying it to the leaf. This paste needs to be not runny at all. You should be able to scoop it up with your fingers and smear it on the leaf, in the leaf’s shape without the paste running over. Once done, keep aside.

For the stuffing,

Mix, slightly crushing it to release the coconut and jaggery juices,

1 cup Fresh coconut gratings
3/4 cup Jaggery gratings
2-3 Cardamom Pods, crushed and powdered

Let the stuffing begin. Line the leaves on a clean table/counter top. Hold the tip of the leaf with your left hand, scoop some of the paste with your right hand and apply the rice paste, starting at the mid vein of the leaf. Start working outwards to follow the shape of the leaves. The hand instructions reverse if you are left-handed, of course. The paste should be applied in as thin a layer as possible without the green of the leaf coming through.Repeat for all leaves.

Wash hands. Have the steamer ready with the water boiling. Scoop the stuffing and put it on the mid-vein of the leaf in a thin line. This is so that when the leaf is folded over, the stuffing is exactly in the middle and the thin line makes sure that the stuffing does not overflow. When the jaggery melts during the steaming, it will start spreading towards a wider surface area.

Fold one side of the leaf over the other length-wise. Press ever so lightly around the periphery of the leaf, so that paste sticks together. Steam for 10-12 minutes till the kitchen smells of all things wonderful. You will know, you will just know.


Paste applied and stuffing layered on the leaf.


The leaves folded over the stuffing and ready for steaming


The patholis steaming away to glory in a traditonal steamer. This is called the ‘peDavaNa’ and was a gift from my mother. A more traditional steamer would have been made of ‘pithili’ (brass, I think).


A Patholi uncovered and ready to be devoured.

Believe what I say and don’t believe my camera. The photograph does not do justice to the magic that is patholi.

My entry to JFI-Rice, over at Sharmi’s Neivedyam, and RCI-Karnataka at Asha’a Foodies Hope.

Turns out to be a excellent entry to Green Blog project-Summer 2007 over at Deepz, too.

UPDATE Aug 31 :

Just wanted to clarify that you do not eat the actual leaf. You peel the leaf off a steamed patholi, and just eat whats inside. At this point, the leaf has already given all of its magic to the patholi. The actual dish is the steamed rice + coconut paste with the sweet stuffing inside.

The different names for this sweet in various regional cuisines,

Konkani – Patholi
Kannadiga – Genesale
? – Paangi


44 thoughts on “The Patholi Pictorial.

  1. You mean these are the leaves of the turmeric plant? the haldi that we use in cooking? I never knew! I’ve only seen the root before.
    Oh and is this a game where we have to guess the recipe? 😉

    Yes, the same turmeric. I sowed the fresh root that have become available at the Indian Stores nowadays. And you happened to visit before i had the chance to hit publish on the recipe. 🙂
    It’s here now. No guessing games.

  2. Wow you got a lovely new template.

    And also one more WOW becaus you got the turmeric plants, had never seen one before

    They are lovely, Sandeepa. Though, I am not expecting to actually harvest some roots. It is the leaves I am after. 🙂

  3. vee, u surely gonna get to see some green faces today 😉 how i miss genasale as we call. i have posted the recipe long bk when i visited india last yr and i cant wait to have it again. i am with u, the aroma and taste of patholi cooked in turmeric is to die for. i didn’t like the genesale cooked in turmeric leaves when i was a kid but what fool i was. it took me 18 yrs of my life to apprecite it.
    plz send me some patholies n i will halp myself with sour mango+cocnut chutney 😀

    O, so you call it genasale, is it? I wasn’t a fan when I was kid, too. Kids are stupid, aren’t they? 😀 No, they aren’t. I think we just take it for granted when we are kids and when we have to jump through hoops to get it, then we appreciate it more. Defintely, the case with me.

    I would have sent you some, if I had any leftovers. I don’t. The rest of the leaves will probably be harvested for patholi at Vaina/Gauri pooja. Do you have this pooja a day before Ganesh Chaturthi?

  4. I love patholi. We ( in goa) make it for nag panchami n chavath ( ganesh chaturthi). I love the smell of fresh turmeric leaves. hats off to you for growing it at home.

    The smell is wonderful. We make it for nagpanchami and Vaina/Gauri pooja which is a day before chavath. I plan to make some then, too. Hopefully will get better pictures , then.

  5. what a beautiful recipe!! I want to try this. I love such delicacies. but dont have turmeric leaf!!
    BTW how to plant them:) please do let me know. I have dry haldi pods. will that work?

    I don’t think the dry pods will work. I used the fresh roots, they are called haldi roots in my regular Indian store and are different from the Mango Haldi roots. I pushed them lengthwise into the soil until they were barely visible at the top. They are pretty easy to grow. Even in my green thumb challenged world , they came up pretty good. 😀

  6. Vee sweetie….. you are the tops!!!
    My mil and I made patholis in banana leaves. Frozen. From the oriental store. And here is your post. Sob

    aww, I didn’t want to make you cry. Yes, I have been there too with frozen banana leaves. They are Ok, even impart the sweet fruit flavor, somewhat. But see, that tephal thing on your latest post is enough to actually make me salivate for a tephal ghashi….

  7. Wow…you grew turmeric leaves??? thats great….
    Ohh I miss them now….Parchment paper patholis cannot come even near the actual haldi panna patholi. Wish I lived somewhere near your home….
    Beautiful pics as usual…

    ah, Shilpa, You would not believe how many times I wish I stayed somewhere near you, especially when your Mom was here 😀 It was very easy growing the leaves. I just put the fresh turmeric roots, which have popped up at the Indian stores of my area, into a pot of soil. 3 weeks later I was seeing sprouts. 2 months later, I had enough leaves to make patholi!

  8. I never knew that turmeric could be grown at home like this…the recipe is simply wonderful!

    I am not sure whether I would be able to harvest actual roots what with it being in a pot and all. I don’t expect to do that anyway. For me, it is more about the leaves since they are something that are not available in the US yet.

  9. wow! i have never eaten turmeric leaves before.. this is really something new! thanks for sharing…

    Rajitha, you do not eat the leaves. Let me say that again, YOU DO NOT EAT THE LEAVES. You just steam it in them to get all the good stuff, then you peel off the leaves to get to the patholi inside. The leaves at that point are just like a plate.

  10. Hmm… patholyo 🙂 I love them… we have them at Gauri Pooja… I will try to plant some… want to make narla kheeri as well 🙂


    That narla Kheeri sounds wonderful. Do you mean the kheer where coconut milk is used instead of the milk? If not, I would love the recipe.

  11. we call them paangi….they were recently posted on one of the blog as well

    Hi Bhags. Paangi, is that the Maharashtrian name for it? If so, its a wonder I haven’t heard of it before, living in Bombay with maharashtrian neighbors. I am going to update the post with the different names for it in various cuisines.

  12. yes, we have gouri pooja a day before ganesha chauthi. thats a time other than nagarapanchami we make patholi in turmeric leaves.
    i have seen some fresh turmeric roots in indian stores. vee, is it easy to grow turmeric plant? if so i am gonna do it prettry soon.

    It was very easy, Sia. I Just pushed them, literally pushed them into a pot of soil length-wise, till I could see only the tip of it. They took their time , sprouting, but sprout they did. I watered them every other day and thats about all I had to do to grow them.

  13. Banana leaves, turmeric leaved, pandan leaves…there is a lot to be said for living on the coast. Or in America!

    I will remember when I make a trip to Belgaum next month!

    Don’t forget the seafood. 😀 If you have fresh turmeric roots available in your local markets, you don’t have to wait for belgaum to plant it. You could also try those markets in your area where most South Indians shop. Chances are you will find the leaves there right now. It is the season for them in India.

  14. OMG! patholi is one of my favorites. We still make it at home during Ganesh Chaturthi – haaai, I’ll be missing it this year.

    Hmmm, I should follow your experience and try growing the leaves at home. On my last visit, I actually brought here a few leaves from India – but they don’t compare to the fresh leaves.

    and you are right, the aroma of the leaves from the cooked patholi is intoxicating.

    May I add – you have to serve the warm patholi with a dollop of home made tuup! 🙂

    yes, we are hardcore konkanis in Boston. Don’t have a lot of Konkani recipes, but you may like the one for Dill Idlis – A Konkani Recipe.

    Oh, Yes. How could I forget? A Patholi without the toop topping just wouldn’t do. I can assure you that the tuup wasn’t forgotten when we were eating, just while blogging. The dill Idlis look nice. they remind me of the tavshe idli/sannan that my bapama used to make. Sadly, I am not so much a dill fan. I love your blog.

  15. Hi Vee,
    How I miss the pattoli my mother makes, of course served wt home made toopa.hmmm..u made me pretty nostalgic!! Lovely pics..great efforts for growing one at home, that too in nick of time for Naagpanchami, Chaturthi!!! Great planning!
    How did ur Kids enjoy them?? do let us all know. Tc.

    The kids are not as excited as we are about the haldi paan. For them, it just another sweet. I guess they wouldn’t appreciate it until they grew up, too. Quite like their parents, I am afraid. 😀

  16. THis looks so delicious, reminded me of ukadiche modak.

    It is quite like the ukadiche modak except that there is no cooking of the rice flour prior to the steaming. The turmeric leaves, though change the taste of it to be much different than the ukadiche modak.

  17. Hey

    I have a turmeric plant & home & never knew this was possible. In kerala we make something like this banana leaves & call it “Adda”. I will try making this with turmeric leaves.


    Hi Shella,

    You will love it with the turmeric leaves. What do you use your turmeric plant for? I would be very interested in your “Adda”…

  18. This is a regular item for goans in the ganesh chaturti season..
    felt nice to see them on your blog so well written..

    Yes. With the festival season going on, it is going to be great to watch all the blogs bring out the traditional specials. I look forward to some great goan recipes from you.

  19. Thank you Vee! Love the step by step pics, yuM!
    Still recovering from Lasik surgery, saying a quick thanks to RCI entries.hugs:)

    Asha, I have been wondering where you were. You know some blogs actually sent out SOS calls to send a virtual search team to find you. We have missed you. I hope all is good after the Lasik…

  20. Hi Vee..i wd like to answer your query regarding Ada.
    I m married into a Mallu family, hence wd b glad to tell u that I make pattoli for them and they make Ada. First banana leaf has to b cut into squares,center dentu kaanu. tandla peet todey ruchey takeet meet saakhar ghalunu thick consistency koruka. spread that out on the leaf, second layer to sprinkle is scraped fresh coconut, not only in center like our pattoli, but throughout leaving half cm border of tandla peet, grated jaggery to b sprinkled on this coconut layer..fold it and steam it..jhalyari still makka amgeli pattoli itli ruchi laggana! Haanve megele maaiyeke yeh korchyaka help kella monu gottassa 😉
    Tc! hv a nice wk end!

  21. Vee

    Though I couldnt understand a word from Purnima’s explanation in some alien language, I guess the instructions about the cutting of the banana leaf is just right. And you could use the same method into the banana leaves. Voila, you have ada. I have never made it though, my mom does make it often. I guess its the flavors from the leaves, that will be different

    😀 No alien language, just Konkani, our Mother tongue. I have but some frozen banana leaves. I might try some. Lets see.

  22. Vee,
    That is great way to demonstrate the Patholi recipe! This time we are also lucky that we have plenty Patholi Paan and my wife is going to cook on Ganesh Chaturthi day which is this Saturday. (My Vanhi makes similar Patholi tradition in Mumbai during Chavathi parab, this Saturday also !). Hustonian Konkanis grow a lot because of Texas weather. Even in Mumbai when I was growing up, we were at the mercy of Vasaiwala when he used to bring Haldi Paan. Now it is available everywhere in Dadar-Matunga during this season (and Faagila Phodi, hooom!). I will enjoy this weekend in So. Calif. those delicious Patholi and will bring back some here in No Calif also.
    btw in the past I have used same cooked paan for second batch of Patholi and excess patholis were frozen for eating few days after. As you said, toop(Ghee) brings another taste to it when you apply it on slightly warm Patholi.

    hmmm…curious. Did the second batch of Patholis have the same taste as the first? Frozen Patholis is a great Idea. With winter looming, I am not sure my plants would survive.

  23. Hi Vee,
    Lovely post and pictures…Yeah i too love his dish but its been ages since i ate it 🙂

    Been so long since I had the authentic one, too. which is why I forced the issue. Am enjoying every minute of it. Happy Chavath!

  24. hi dear,
    Its been long long time i visited ur blog……….
    Love to see ur blog & Receipe…which i am familiar with & miss them lot….OHOOO I am hungry typeing this comment…
    Can i use Banana Leaf instead to make this Genesale…?


  25. Hi Dear, Surprise, surprise..this is also made in Oriya houses and it is called Haldi Patra Pitha (Haldi meaning turmeric and Patra meaning leaf :)) It is made customarily for a festival named “Prathamastami” which usually falls in November and is meant to celebrate the first child of the house. All this while, I used to think this is one of the authentic Oriya dishes 🙂

  26. Hi Vee

    After seeing your post When I found some fresh turmeric roots I bought a few and put them in a pot of soil( this was way back in feb) I went to India in march and came back april and then I didnt see any activity so I dug it up and checked. The roots were still fresh so i let it sit
    a may came in and still no activity I took them out and put them in another pot( they were coexisting with a neem tree in a pot ) and when I replanted them there were no roots. I barely saw any growth activity but I didnt feel like throwing it out I planted them june came july came and I lost my patience. I wanted to reuse the pot if the roots had rotten so I dug it up and guess what I see some more growth. they havent come out yet I am hesitant to dig it up again but I dont have any patience left. I will give it a few more weeks and see if anything is really happening. I water it every other day or once in 3 days. I am not sure why its taking such a long time….. can you please comment?

    Thanks for your time

  27. I am thrilled i chanced upon your website. My mouth was watering the moment i lay my eyes on the yummy patholis. This is inspiration enough for me to plant some turmeric and wait for them to sprout some leaves.

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