Say ‘Pathrode’ to someone from Mangalore and you will watch a miraculous transformation. The wrinkles and frowns will disappear, replaced by a faraway look of beatific contentment. Pathrode, made using Colocosia leaves, is a fond food memory for many of us from South Kanara. Pathrode is a classic example of how humble ingredients are elevated to godhood in South Kanara cooking with a little ingenuity and a lot of elbow grease.
Briefly, a paste of rice and spices is rolled up in colocosia leaves and steamed. The steamed rolls are cut into ½ inch thick slices, then sautéed to crispy perfection, served with a generous dollop of homemade butter. Pathrode is one of my father’s favorite foods. Never fails to make him feel special and in a moment, you will see why.
The making of pathrode is fraught with the possibility of disaster. For starters, the leaves could be tough or not tender enough. That means, when you eat the delectable end-product, your throat scratches. All that effort to naught! Next the rice paste has to be the ground just right, not too fine, not too coarse. Then of course, there is the matter of spices. It’s a fine balance between mellow coriander, fiery chilies, creamy coconut, tart tamarind and sweet jaggery. Not to mention all the effort involved in grinding, rolling, steaming, sautéing!!
Making pathrode can be quite an undertaking. When someone makes pathrode for you, they like you! (My parents are probably giggling by now, but I digress!)
Last week, I was hit by a craving for the gentle yet robust, spicy yet mellow taste of pathrode. I marveled at the persistence of my South Kanara genes! No trace of colocosia leaves yet in Upstate New York, so I decided to make a humbler version, cabbage pathrode.
You can see the end product in the picture. The reason I don’t have more than a couple pieces in the photo is that by the time I get to the part when I can finally sauté the pathrode, the anticipation is killing me!
Pathrode brought back warm memories, of loving aunts slaving over skillets in hot kitchens, of my mother watching over us as little hands tried messily to roll up errant leaves, and of course, of the smile on my father’s face!
Indira, may I send this to you for JFI-WBB JFI-WBB: Green Leafy Vegetables? Amazing to see how JFI has grown in popularity and creativity!
1. Colocasia info for the botanically inclined
2. Mind boggling history about good old colocasia.
3. Shilpa of Aayi's Recipes has a recipe for the Konkani version here. Hands down the best pictures and tutorial!
4. Vee of Past, Present and me shares a recipe using collard greens - ingenious!
5. Also, a couple recipes from Baawarchi , Yakshagana.com and a website called Mangalore Delicacy