Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Arbi ke Patte/ Colocasia leaf rolls

Have you ever heard of Colocasia leaves? Well I have eaten it since forever, but never knew it was called so.We call is patwalia. In hindi its called Arvi, Arabi, Arbi, Alvi, Chaama, Ghuiya, Patra, Mukh . Generally  they are called Taro or Elephant ears leaves. It comes from a  root vegetable and all its parts roots, stems and leaves can be used in cooking. What we make is quiet close to the Gujarati version of colocasia leaf rolls called Patra, but as it is with most Indian recipes, every region has slight variations. Since my hometown is in Rajasthan bordering Gujarat, most recipes have Gujarati influences.

I remember how my mother would keep screaming while she fried the rolls, as I ate them right out of the oil before she could add them to the stew. I love them so much, I never listened (but then I didn't for everything).

 I found it quiet intriguing to make whenever I thought of going through the whole washing, rolling and frying process. But I learned that its not complicated but it sure is time consuming. It took me more than an hour to roll them up but then I did make a whole lot of extra rolls and freezed them for future use.Considering how much I used for this recipe (and how much I eat along the way) it will take around an hour or less. Perfect thing for a weekend.

Arvi Gosht/ Colocasia leaf rolls with Mutton Stew
As a snack serves 3, With the stew serves 4

5 Colocasia leaves*
1 cup besan/chickpeas/gram flour (available in Indian/south asian stores)
3-4 lemons/ 6 tbsp? **
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
3 cloves garlic (finely minced)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup water
1 tsp Fenugreek seeds
Vegetable oil for deep frying

Click here for the Indian Mutton Stew Recipe


* Colocasia leaves  which to my surprise is used world wide.Try buying medium sized leaves which are almost the size of your arms. The larger ones are stalky, which will make it a bit difficult to roll while the small ones will be difficult to roll because of the size. I had a mix of the right size and the rather large ones because they came in a pre packed package and no I could not tell the guy at the counter to open it and give me the ones I like which I was quiet tempted to do.

**4 lemons might sound like a lot. But besan and lemon compliment each other perfectly and you won't feel the sourness as much. Will taste as sour as a tangy vinaigrette. You can reduce the lemons to your liking (taste the paste ) and substitute the juice with water to attain the same consistency. You also use tamarind paste and omit lemon all together. If using tamarind, start with  2 tbsp of paste and check the sourness.


Prepare the paste by mixing the besan, spices, garlic, lemon juice and water to form a lump less paste. Season with salt and season it well.

The consistency should be that of a pakora/bhajia batter. What other way do I have to explain this. Let me try again. The consistency is such that it coats the whisker but still flows down. Thick enough to coat but thin enough to flow. I know I did a lousy job and yeah you can tell me I did. I shall try to explain it with the picture below and if still doesn't make sense give up (don't)  on me .

Wash the leaves with cold water and pat dry. Fold it into two from the center stalk that divides them.

Keeping your knife at an angle, chop off the starting stalk.

Keeping the knife vertical, chop the stalk part as you see the the picture below.

Now your have almost (not so) symmetrical looking parts of the leaf.

There might be some rather large leaves which have rough stalks well beyond the center. Keeping the knife flat try to remove as much as you can. The other option is running a rolling pin on the leaves to flatten the stalk.

On the opposite side of the leaf, with a spatula or knife spread the besan paste. It is thinner than a spread so I'm not sure using the word spread still implies.

Now starting from the start point of the leaf (not the pointed part, the fatter part), fold the edges like this.

And start rolling towards the tip making sure you keep folding the edges so the paste doesn't flow out.

When you reach the tip, it will just stick due to the besan.

You will end up with 10 such rolls. Do the math.

Yes, we are almost done. Phewww!

Now the real bad part. Deep frying. I hate it. I despise it to the end of eternity. The grease, the waste, the smell that lingers your house for days, and then it isn't good for you. I have eaten steamed colocasia leaves and I like it. Just that I don't love them as much as I do when they are deep fried. When deep fried they are crisp and considering the fact that more than what I put them in the stew, I have more as a snack, steamed didn't feel like the brightest of options. So deep fried it is.

In a kadai aka wok,  take oil and put it on medium high heat. Add the fenugreek seeds in the oil. Now if you wondering why we are doing this its because of the aroma that it will give to the leaves and the house (its a good thing I realized).

When the oil is hot, add 2-3 rolls at a time depending on the size of your wok. Don't over crowd it. As it is, they do take a while to fry. It will take around 15 minutes for each batch. They will turn from the beautiful green to a dark olive brownish.That might not be as pretty to the sight but a treat for your taste buds.

Also helps to remove whatever toxin they have. Don't panic! No its not like I purposely didn't tell you about toxicity. Once cooked in any form, the leaves are completely safe.

Ten rolls were reduced to seven by the time it got the mutton stew (someone ate them).
Follow the same recipe as Indian mutton stew  with the same quantity that is about 1/2 kg of mutton for 7-10 leaf rolls. Chop the rolls into bite size. Add it to the stew and serve. I had guest knocking on the door when I added the rolls to the mutton stew, so you see I rushed and well never took the picture.

But if mutton stew is not what's on your mind for the day, they irresistible on there own. Don't they look magnificent?
 Sending this over to Akila's Event -Dish name starts with A.


  1. Wow, what a labor of love! They look amazing.

  2. Wow this sounds interesting .I have seen it but do not know that it is edible .I have also posted
    colocasia roast only but cooking the leaf sounds new .I will try this next time

  3. I dont blame your mom, who would want to eat up these delicious rolls right out of the kitchen! they look very yummy!

  4. Yum!!! These look fantastic, Kulsum! I wish I'd been at your house when they came out of the wok! But sadly, like you, I hate frying food, so I'll probably stick with the frozen ones. Thank goodness I can buy them here!

  5. My mouth is watering after seeing your clicks.
    I really wish i could lay my hand on them here in USA!

  6. Hi,

    First of all thanks for sending your entry to my event.

    When i come here to view your post, wow... how much patience you have to take the step by step photos of your work abd the clear procedure, really fantastic... i really appreciate that dear...

    added yours to my blog list....

  7. @ Karen
    It is. But its all worth it. Thank you for visiting :)

    @ Padhu
    I saw your Arbi Roast recipe and have it on my do list. Arbi leaves are also used as ornamental leaves, so it does make people wonder if it is to be eaten. But it is. And it is used in various cuisines world wide.

    @Veggie Belly
    I understand my mom's screaming now. She used to spend hours making this ( for a family of 6 and guests). Thank you for stopping by.

    @Silence Dogood
    Aww!Thank you for visiting. Despite the fact they I hate frying, I would still insist that you make them if you can. The store bought are not half as good as they really should be. It is one time labor. They freeze up pretty well, so make a lot of them. A lot. Following you.

    Thank you so much. Are you sure you can't find them in USA ? May be you can find them in Chinese localities, because Chinese do make extensive use of it. By the way you have a beautiful blog.
    @ Akila
    I don't deserve all that appreciation. The fact is I don't post as much as other fellow bloggers. And try to do the best with the little posting that I do. Thank you so much for your kind words.

  8. So beautifully done! See how neat yours are? cabbage leaves don't work half as good as these. I have never fried them whole this way. I bet they are sinfully good.

  9. These leaf rolls would be perfect for the appetizer portion of the Get Grillin' event I am hosting with Cookin' Canuck. Please submit this and any two others if you wish :)

  10. sonu said
    This Arbi Patra is wonderful for snacks time.I prepared it to tea time. Everything is absolute fine and full proportionate taste was also very delicious.But after ate i felt stroking in my throat and very itching Why?

  11. Hi Sonu

    Thank you for trying the recipe and glad you enjoyed it :-) As for the itching part - this is a common symptom when the leaves are not cooked properly. This specially happens if the leaves are thicker so they don't cook as well as the thin ones do.

    Since we mostly add the leaves to the stew, it gets cooked again ensuring its perfectly cooked. If you are having them as a snack you can try lightly frying them again once they are cut. Also having it with a glass of buttermilk will reduce the itching if any.

  12. hey,

    loved ur recipe and decided to ask my nani for her version. We don't use arbi but Kachalu (Colo cassia)instead since they are free of oxalates and there is no danger of itching or such... Arbi is botanically Alocassia from what I found out from my agriculturist uncle. Hope you can check out my recipe too at

  13. I steam them before frying, otherwise they catch the throat. I also add ajwain to the batter

  14. My Mom used to steam them, cut them about 1/2" and then fry.

  15. Nice blog!! Looks delicious, feel like grabbing the roll right away. Thank you Mutton Roll


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