Patholi is a rice-flour dumpling stuffed with a fudgy mix of jaggery and coconut, steamed between fresh turmeric leaves that impart a distinctive aroma. Patholis are made by many communities across the Konkan belt. Goans make them on the Feast of the Assumption on 15th of August, while Saraswats in Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra make them for Gauri and Ganpati Puja, and Nagapanchami.
All these festivals tend to coincide with the tail end of the monsoons, when turmeric leaves sprout in abundance. It is likely the leaves also have medicinal properties similar to, if not as potent as the turmeric rhizomes themselves, which is why they are so sought-after during the rains.
For the filling
1 tsp ghee
2 cups fresh grated coconut
1 ½ - 2 cups grated jaggery (to taste)
1 tsp cardamom powder
For the batter
1 tsp ghee
2 cups fine rice flour
1 ½ cups water (or more, if needed)
10-12 medium turmeric leaves
To make the filling
Heat 1 teaspoon of ghee in a non-stick pan
Add coconut and fry on medium heat, until it gets warm
Add jaggery and mix, until it has completely melted
Stir in the cardamom powder
Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely
To make the batter
In a bowl, mix the rice flour and ghee
Add enough water and mix to make a smooth batter of spreading consistency.
Set a double decker steamer to boil
Wipe the turmeric leaves clean with a damp cloth. On the inner face of the leaf, spread one or two generous spoonfuls of rice flour batter. Spoon some of the coconut and jaggery filling in the centre. Fold the leaf in half across its width, and gently press together.
Assemble only as many as you can fit in the steamer at once
Cover and steam on the rack for about 10 minutes, until the turmeric leaves have discoloured to a deep olive green. Remove and then steam the next batch, until all are done.
Enjoy the warm patholis by peeling away the turmeric leaf and topping with a generous glug of ghee.
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