My mother in law was an expert in making what is called Alu Vadi in Marathi! You could call it Taro leaf roll. In Kannada it is called Shavi yelli.
MIL used to grow her own alu for making this dish. Once I remember asking/telling her that one of the leaves leaf was big and why was she not cutting it. She told me that she was waiting for the other 2 to become a bit bigger so that she could make Alu Vadi and not to worry this one would not wither off before they were sizable. She was correct they were exactly the same size when she finally cut them.
At my request she showed me the method of making them. I try to imitate her but “Abhi Deli bhout door hai”!
I do not grow the Alu needed to make this and I buy them. Rains are the time you get them aplenty and after a long time I have tried making these.
Apparently you get 2 kinds of Alu one with a green stem and one with reddish stem. I used the latter to make these as Kaku-my MIL used these.
As far as possible choose big untorn leaves (put the torn leaf inside the roll). These leaves are very delicate so have to be handled carefully. Wash them. I love the way the water forms a big droplet and runs off the leaf leaving you no need to wipe them but you do so anyway for you are a creature of habit. It is a good idea to put the leaves face down and run a rolling pin over the veins. This enables you to easily roll the leaf this step is optional.
You use something sour with Alu. Do you know why? My first intro to this question was in Std.VIII, IX or X. Our science teacher named Krishna, but we all called her Bitti teacher asked us this question and went on to explain about the plant storing oxalic acid crystals. These crystals cause an itch she said but humans being humans found a way to negate this, we use tamarind juice. This was something of a surprise to me for I never expected Bitti teacher know anything about cooking and it hit me like a bolt of lightening that she cooked! She was a teacher after all!! God how naïve I was …J
3 leaves, washed and dried (you can use more leaves but I did not want tempt fate 3 leaves)
½ cup tamarind juice
¾ cup besan/kadli hit/chana daal atta
½ cup jaggery cut in fine pieces (adjust as per taste)
½ tsp chilli powder (this year I have mixed Guntur and badgyi chilli powders so it is quite pungent)
1 tsp hing/asafoetida
1 pinch of cooking soda
1 tblspn til/sesame seeds (optional)
1. Mix the jaggery in the tamarind and wait till it dissolves. You could crush the jaggery with your fingers.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and make a thick batter, batata wada batter consistency. Adjust the seasoning.
3. On a clean surface lay the alu leaf face down or should I say the veins should be facing you.
4. Spread a thin layer of the batter. Lay another leaf on the batter surface and spread the batter again covering the entire leaf. Repeat with the third leaf.
5. Fold the sides of the leaf and the curved edges from the top so that you get a rectangle.
6. Now make a tight roll of the leaf. Cover the leaf with the remaining batter from all sides.
7. In the pressure cooker on a metal sieve place a plate upside down now transfer the roll in the cooker and steam for 20 minutes.
8. Remove from the cooker cool it
9. slice the roll so that you get pin-wheels. These can be eaten just like this or shallow fried.
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