One of the best things I love about food blogging is the chance to come across so many different food bloggers and their recipes. One such blogger, Archana (who blogs at Ministry of Curry )and her recipe attracted me a few weeks ago when she posted the recipe for the traditional Maharashtrian delicacy of Alu wadi using Swiss Chard leaves. I was so excited to see that since ‘Alu Wadi’ is traditionally made using Colocasia leaves and they are available in our Indian grocers only seasonally plus they are usually not of good quality. Plus Colocasia leaves have to be carefully picked otherwise they can cause itchiness in the throat. That happened to me once when I bought the leaves once to make ‘Alu wadi’ in the early days of our marriage and after that I never again experimented with them 🙂
So anyways, seeing Archana’s post made me want to try this recipe once again since Swiss Chard is so readily available here plus there is no issue of choosing the leaves carefully! Plus Archana did such a fabulous job of showing the detailed steps pictorially. Archana blogs at Ministry of Curry and judging by her lovely and detailed recipes, she definitely can be called an authority in Maharashtrian cuisine as well as in other Indian cuisines as well. Thank you Archana for this wonderful idea. I am going to be making Alu wadi ..oops Swiss chard wadi quite often now!
I made a couple variations to the batter mainly because of my health issues. Since I am on a Paleo diet and don’t eat any legumes, I used cassava flour and chestnut flour for the batter . And replaced the tamarind (as that’s a big no for my arthritis) with lemon juice. And oh yes, replaced the jaggery with some maple syrup. The end result was so good…the kids and the Mr. loved it a lot. Since I had made a small ‘experimental batch’ it was all over too soon! Now that’s what I call a ‘super duper hit’ recipe!
Here’s my version of the recipe.
- 10-12 Swiss Chard leaves or Colocasia (Taro) leaves
- For the batter:
- 5 tbsp cassava flour plus 2 tbsp chest nut flour (singoda atta)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp red chilli powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp ajwain seeds (optional)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp maple syrup (or honey)
- about ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp water
- Olive oil for light frying
- sesame seeds for topping
- Clean the swiss chard leaves and cut the stems off. Fold each leaf vertically in the center and trim off the bulging vein in the center slightly. This will help in rolling the leaves
- Pat dry the leaves using paper towels and keep aside.
- Mix all the batter ingredients together adding the water slowly to form a thick paste - it should have a spreadable consistency but should not be too thin.
- Now take the leaves one at a time and spread a thick layer of the batter (paste) on each leaf. Place a second leaf on top and repeat the same thing until you have a stack of 5-6 leaves. Now roll the stack of leaves as you would roll a towel rolling tightly as you go.
- Repeat with the remaining leaves so that you have two rolled stacks.
- Place a steamer on the stove to heat (Or you can make a steamer using a large cooking pot and a dish on the bottom. Fill this large pot with a little water. And place a small pan on top of the dish.)
- Once the steamer is ready, place the rolled up stacks on the steamer (or in the small pan inside the large pot). Cover the steamer and cook for about 15 minutes on medium heat once the water in the steamer starts boiling. Turn heat off and let cool for 10 minutes before taking the rolls out and cutting them into ½ inch rolls.
- Finally, place a frying pan on the stove with a little bit of oil (about 2 tbsp ). Top the cut rolls with sesame seeds and carefully place them sesame seed side down one by one in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat until crispy on the bottom. Sprinkle sesame seeds on the top and then turn the rolls to cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes. carefully take them out on paper towels to catch the excess oil. Serve the rolls warm!