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Gourmet's Adventures with Ruth: Season One: Julie Sahni's New York

Serves6 to 8 as a side dish
  • Active time:40 min
  • Start to finish:2 1/2 hr
December 2009
Watch a preview of this Gourmet's Adventures with Ruth episode and it view its accompanying recipes. Plus, explore all episodes and more recipes from the show.

For stuffing

  • 1 cup chana dal (yellow split peas; black chickpeas skinned and split), picked over
  • 2 to 3 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon asafoetida or 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (3/4 tsp fine salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 (10- by 12-inch) fresh taro leaves (elephant ears), or a 1 lb package fresh taro leaves

For tarka (seasoned oil)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh or frozen grated unsweetened coconut, or (well-rinsed packaged sweetened flaked coconut, patted dry)

Make stuffing

  • Rinse chana dal in a bowl with several changes of cold water until water runs clear as it is poured off. Soak chana dal with enough cold water to cover by 1 inch for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Drain chana dal, then put in a food processor with 1/2 cup water and process to a grainy puree, stopping to scrape down sides and adding a little more water, if necessary, to help process. (Do not over grind and turn batter into a paste).
  • Transfer puree to a bowl and stir in pepper flakes, cumin, coriander, tumeric, asafoetida, salt, and baking powder.

Prepare taro leaves

  • Cut out stem and center ribs from leaves to make 12 halves. If leaves from a package vary greatly in size, make 3 groups of 4 like-size halves (very large leaves, up to 20 inches, can be halved again crosswise so that one leaf is enough for all four layers) and divide chana dal stuffing into 3 amounts accordingly.

Make rolls

  • Working with one group at a time and roughly 1/3 of stuffing, turn leaves dull side up and spread a spoonful of filling over each, then stack leaves and roll up loosely from one narrow end to another. Place roll, seam side down, in basket of a steamer. Repeat procedure with remaining leaves and stuffing so that you have a total of three rolls (possibly of varying sizes) in steamer basket. Bring 1-inch of water to a boil in steamer, and steam rolls 15 minutes.
  • Transfer rolls to a cutting board and cut crosswise into scant 1/2-inch pinwheel slices. Arrange slices, a cut side up, on a serving platter.

Make tarka

  • Heat oil in a small skillet or very small saucepan over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add mustard seeds, then cover skillet while seeds pop, about 1 minute. Uncover and add sesame seeds, then immediately pour oil with seeds over pinwheels. Squeeze lime juice over pinwheels then sprinkle with cilantro and coconut and serve.