Taro Leaves Curry

Loaded Colocasia and green sorrel leaves curry. These leaves are also known as ‘Arbi,’ ‘Taro,’ and ‘Alu’ leaves. This lip-smacking curry contains many goodies such as peanuts, cashews, thinly sliced fresh coconut, split baby chickpeas, and sliced white radish, hence the adjective loaded. The sweet and tangy delicacy is a part of many festive fares and wedding celebrations in India’s western region, aka the state of Maharashra. It’s popularly known as ‘Aluchi chi Patal Bhaji.’ Tamarind and Green sorrel leaves ( ‘Aambat Chukka’ in Marathi) play an essential role in the recipe to add a tangy taste. Jaggery, aka unrefined Indian palm sugar, complements the sour taste and makes the curry incredibly tasty. Maharashtrian Goda masala and green chili will spice up the ‘bhaji’ and balance the flavors appropriately.

I like to pair Taro leaves curry with Maharashtrian masala rice, potato vada/pakora, cucumber Koshimbeer (raita), dry Matki Usal, and roti. It is one of my favorite festive preparations that take me down to the memory lane of Ganpati’s and Gauri festive celebrations back in India.

INGREDIENS

  • 7 to 8 medium-sized Arbi leaves.
    (Don’t discard the stems, peel the skin of the stems and boil them with the leaves).
  • A handful of Green sorrel leaves.
    (Green sorrel is known as ‘Aambat Chukka’ in Maharashtra, India, and ‘Chukka Keerai’ in India’s southern part. If green sorrel leaves are not easily accessible, you can increase the proportion of tamarind. )
  • 2 tbsp gram flour, aka, besan.
  • 1/4th cup raw peanuts
  • 1/4th cup slices of fresh coconut.
  • 3 tbsp Chana dal, aka split baby chickpeas.
  • 7-8 raw unsalted cashews.
    (Split the cashews into halves.)
  • 3 Thai green chilies.
  • 8-10 curry leaves.
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds.
  • 4 to 5 tbsp Jaggery, aka unrefined Indiam palm sugar.
    (I prefer to use Kolhapuri jaggery for the recipe. This curry is sweet and tangy, so adjust jaggery as per your preference. I like it to be on the sweeter side.)
  • 2 tsp Maharashtrian Goda masala.
  • 1/4th tsp turmeric.
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds.
  • 1 tsp tamarind pulp.
  • 1 small radish, thinly sliced.
  • Salt as per your taste.

RECIPE

(Serves 3 to 4 with a side of raita/stir-fry)

  • Chop Taro leaves, peel the skim of the stems and cut them, as shown in picture #2, and boil it for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Finely chop green sorrel leaves and blanch them. Keep it aside. Skip this step if the leaves are not available and increase tamarind pulp’s proportion to 3 tsp.
  • Transfer boiled Arbi leaves, green chilies, and gram flour into a jar. Add one cup of room temperature water.
  • Blend the boiled leaves, chilies, and gram flour to a fine paste, as shown in picture #4. I prefer the texture of blended leaves, it makes curry smooth, and it tastes delicious with crunchies such as peanuts and coconuts that we will add to it.
    ( Alternatively, you can skip the blending step and directly cook the boiled leaves in a wok. I prefer and recommend blending the leaves for the smooth texture.)
  • Next, heat oil in a wok.
  • Add mustard seeds, let it splutter, and then add fenugreek seeds. Fry it until golden brown.
  • Add curry leaves, turmeric, and Goda masala. Stir them for a few seconds.
  • Next, transfer the blended mixture and the boiled sorrel leaves in the wok. Mix everything well.
  • Add 2 cups of warm water, soaked peanuts, coconut slices, soaked chana dal, sliced radish pieces, and cashews in the wok, as shown in picture #3.
  • Sprinkle salt as per your taste and cover the wok with a lid. Let the curry cook for 18-20 minutes on a medium to low flame. Keep stirring occasionally.
  • Next, add tamarind & jaggery and let it cook for another couple of minutes. Adjust consistency as per your preference by adding warm water.
  • Serve the piping hot curry with masala rice, potato stir-fry, and roti.

The curry pairs well with Maharashtrian style masala rice, cucumber raita, potato stir-fry, or potato vada. I prefer to use homemade ‘Goda masala,’ mixed with freshly ground dry coconut, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds. The traditional curry tastes scrumptious and lasts for 3-4 days in a refrigerator. I love the taste of this curry on another day of the preparation.

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