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 🙂
Gujarati cuisine also has a similar dish and it is called as patra however I always liked the Maharashtrian version better since the Gujarati version is a little too sweet for my palate.
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!
Steamed Swiss Chard Roll ups || Alu Wadi using Swiss Chard leaves || (Paleo, Vegan)
Author: Indira Shyju
Recipe type: Appetizer
A paleo version of the Indian 'Alu Wadi' , which are savory and scrumptious roll ups using Swiss Chard leaves (or Colocasia leaves) stuffed with cassava batter mixed with spices, steamed and then lightly fried!
10-12 Swiss Chard leaves or Colocasia (Taro) leaves
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!
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. right? Then what do you do when you have left over rotis? Simple, do what the Gujjus do – make Khakhras 🙂 And I have found a super easy way to make them too. Just spread the rotis with some butter / ghee and pop them in the oven for a few minutes and you have crispy Khakhras for your evening chai 🙂
When I was a kid growing up in Mumbai, we had a Gujarati neighbor next door and I would frequently be seen in their house since that aunty’s kids were older and she loved having me around. I must have been around 9-10 years old and I used to be a non-stop chatter box 🙂 This aunty wanted to learn english and so she would ask me to recite my poems from school or tell her stories in english while she did her daily chores. One of the things I frequently saw her doing in the evenings was making khakhras with left over rotis from the previous day. She would stack them up together and then place the stack on a pan on low heat and press them using a towel adding ghee frequently. As the bottom roti would get crispy, she would remove it and continue with the rest of the stack. I loved watching her and of course eating those piping hot khakhras dripping with ghee:)
Fast forward to my kitchen – I never like to waste any food, period. And rotis, gosh never! They take an effort to make as it is. So I used to try and do my neighbor aunty’s method sometimes but that seemed too laborious! So one day I thought why not bake them in the oven?. Thus I started experimenting with various oven temps and finally figured out the best temperature and time to get the best khakhras. At least the best Khakhras from left over rotis:) Khakhras are in itself a big category in Gujarati cuisine and there are many varieties of khakhras that are made. Will explore those later. For now, i am happy with my easy instant ones. Crunch. Yum Yum:)
Line a large baking tray with Al foil and liberally coat the foil with melted butter or ghee. Place cooked rotis in a single layer on the pan and do not overlap. Brush their tops with ghee/butter and place the tray in the oven on medium rack.
Bake at 400 Deg F (200 deg C) for about 4 minutes on each side. (Remove tray after 4 minutes to flip the rotis to other side and bake again for 4 minutes).
I don’t know about you but I cannot help but feel amazed by the ‘food information explosion’ that we have been witnessing in the past 2-3 years. And of course I don’t mean that in a bad light at all. I just feel that over the last years there has been such a phenomenal increase in the awareness of global foods and cuisines owing to internet food bloggers (like us 🙂 ) and by the innumerable social media ‘foodie’ groups. A single week does not go by when I am not seeing (and consequently pinning) a new recipe! How wonderful is this right! No need to wait for your grandma or your aunt to write the recipes down for you! This incredible cyber world comprising of foodies and food lovers has made all recipes within your reach…you are just one click away from making a new dish!
OK so one such dish that I have seen floating around in several foodie groups and other fellow blogger sites has been of this ‘instant microwave version of Khaman dhokla’. Khaman Dhokla is a famous snack in Gujarati cuisine that is made of ‘besan’ or chickpea flour that is delightfully light, healthy and delicious! I had been meaning to try this recipe for several months now. Finally I did make it a couple weeks ago and was thrilled with the results! I did try steaming it in the microwave and it came out fabulous. You could also just steam it in a small shallow dish inside a steamer pan which is how it’s cooked traditionally. Either way its great – but the microwave method saves you a few minutes for sure.! This is one fabulous and easy appetizer for your parties and definitely one recipe that you can make when you have guests at short notice! 🙂
I am bringing this western Indian snack dish to Fiesta Friday which is another great foodie forum started by Angie where we learn about so many new dishes every week!
2 tbsp fresh grated coconut (or frozen grated coconut that has been thawed to room temp)
Take a large mixing bowl and add the besan and the yoghurt. Whisk using a whisk or large spoon to blend the besan well without any lumps. Now slowly add the water and continue whisking until you get a smooth and creamy batter. Add all the rest of the ingredients and blend well.
Take a glass bowl or a microwave safe container and grease it well using some olive oil. Now pour half of the batter into the bowl and place in the microwave covering it with a lid such that you leave a small opening for steam to escape. Microwave for 4 minutes (on full power). Take the bowl carefully out of the microwave and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Slowly run a knife around the inside edge of the bowl to loosen the ‘dhokla’ and then place a large plate on top of the bowl. Now carefully flip the bowl to get the dhokla out of the bowl. Let cool for another 5 minutes before cutting it into small squares.
Repeat the same process with the rest of the batter.
For the garnish:
Heat the oil in a small cooking pot and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, add the sesame seeds and lower the heat to low. Add the asafetida powder and the curry leaves. Add the water and bring to a boil. Heat for about 2 minutes and then turn heat off. Pour this seasoning mixture on top of the dhoklas. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and grated coconut!