Traditional Rural Food: a Colocasia Leaves’ Recipe in Pathrodu, India

Theme: Rural Cultural Food Tourism

by Ms. Barjesh Kumari
HeritageForAll Intern (Call 2019) from Bilaspur, India
Internship Program “Rural Heritage and Traditional Food”
M.A. in Tourism Administration, Himachal Pradesh University

Abstract

There are end numbers of different recipes of different traditional food being cooked in rural homes even today. The nutritious value and taste has kept these delicacies alive among rural people. This article focuses on status and significance of traditional rural food and their heritage value and authenticity.

Culinary Heritage and Food Tourism

“Food tourism is the act of traveling for a taste of place in order to get a sense of place.”- Erik Wolf, Executive Director, World Food Travel Association. Culinary tourism refers to adventurous eating, eating out of curiosity, exploring other cultures through food, intentionally participating in the food ways of another, and the development of food as a tourist destination and attraction. (Long, 2012) World Food Travel Association (WFTA) defines culinary tourism as: the pursuit and enjoyment of unique and memorable food and drink experiences.

From the above definitions it is quite clear that food tourism is tourism with food as the major attraction. Now the question is why would people travel to taste a particular food? It is the authenticity, uniqueness, heritage value associated with it that attracts people to experience it. There are many destinations where tourists are provided with some unique food experiences that are rich in gastronomy and culinary heritage. The traditional food served in traditional way can really be so filling for one’s soul as a tourist seeks in a destination what is unusual and not habitual for him. Something that is new and adventurous he never ever had. Local food at a destination can be the most authentic experience a tourist can have. Through food one can experience how beautiful the culture is, how rich the traditions are.

Patrode: a Colocasia Leaves Recipe

‘Patrode’ is a vegetarian dish that is cooked, served, and consumed in different styles in different regions with different names. Even the name ‘Patrode’ as called in Himachal is pronounced and spelled as ‘Pated’, ‘Patrodu’, ‘Patedu’, ‘Patru’ etc. The word ‘Patredu’ comes up from two words- ‘Pat’ and ‘Redu’ where pat signifies the leaves of Colocasia and Redu is a particular style of cooking in lower Himachal that can be seen in dishes like ‘Redu of curd and green garlic’, ‘Redu of buttermilk’ etc. And these leaves are Colocasia leaves or ‘Taro’ in English.

Taro originates from humid tropical rain-forest regions of Southeast Asia including India. (Temesgen, 2015)The species is now found throughout the Pacific islands and worldwide. (Temesgen, 2015) It is a beautiful broad-leafed plant drooped and pointed downward. This plant can enhance the look of your garden if grown in ground or container provided with water and fertilizers. It can also grow in ponds and streams. These plants have yellow green stems and large wide green leaves. Roots are light brown in color and are edible. They are very rich in nutritious value.

Taro can be consumed as boiled, baked, roasted or fried and in conjunction with fish, and coconut preparations (Jane, J.,, 1992). Taro flour in precooked forms may find good uses in pastry filling, binder in sausage and as emulsifier in food systems (Fagbemi and Olaofe, 1998). In Asia/ Pacific regions, for instance, the leaves are usually boiled and or prepared in various ways mixed with other seasoners. (Temesgen, 2015) Tropical and sub-tropical climate is suitable for this plant to grow. That is the region it is found in India and so there are many dishes that you can taste here of different styles, spices, and tastes of Colocasia or Taro leaves and roots from the long coastline of Indian peninsula and from its subtropical hills of north.

Plant in its raw form is toxic that is why if dishes made from its leaves or roots are not cooked well they cause itching due to presence of calcium oxalate in it. Otherwise plant is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Fiber, Minerals making it beneficial for human body for better vision, immunity, maintaining blood pressure, and cholesterol control. They are an ideal choice for diabetic patients, and those who are on weight control.

Fig. 1 Colocasia Plant Leaves

Ingredients

  • Taro/ Colocasia leaves: for one person for one time three leaves are enough but for more you can take more. Pluck them fresh. Avoid taking damaged leaves. These are an elephant eared or heart shaped.
  • Gram flour/ Maize flour: people can use both gram flour and corn flour. Gram flour is high in fiber, protein and low in carbohydrates. It is widely used in Indian, Srilankan, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi cuisines. Maize flour is also rich in iron, calcium, protein and low in fat and salt.
  • Coriander powder: when coriander plant dries and turns brown, its seeds can be collected and that are widely used in cooking. Coriander powder gives aroma.
  • Turmeric powder: it really has many healing properties. It is orange-yellow in color and has amazing health benefits.
  • Salt: a little of for taste.
  • Oil: any type of oil for frying, and mustard oil for boiling.
  • Green Chillies’ paste: green chilies not only add taste but also make skin healthier and glowing. It also helps digestion.
Fig. 2 Different Ingredients: Basil Leaves, Onion, Fresh Green Chillies, Cumin seeds, Turmeric Powder, Salt, Red Chillies, Garma Masala Powder, Fenugreek Powder, Colocasia Leaves, Flour, and Crushed Onion
  • Garam Masala Powder: it is a whole mixture of Indian spices such as dried Chillies, Cardamom, Cinnamon, etc blended.
  • Onion paste: you need a crushed onion paste, make sure to separate water from the paste as onion leaves water when crushed.
  • Cumin powder: obtained from cumin seeds.
  • Bhbari leaves/ Basil: fresh leaves give aroma, taste as well as certain health benefits.
  • Ajwain powder: for adding flavor and health benefits.
  • Laung Masala / Chia seeds/leaves: to add taste and give aroma. It also has certain health benefits.
  • Garlic paste to add flavor.
  • Heeng / Devil’s Dung/Stinking Gum.
  • Fenugreek Powder/ Methi powder

Cooking Process

  1. Make a paste of all spices, herbs, and salt. Mix it with gram flour.
  2. Now take one leaf and put it on a clean surface.
  3. Put the paste all over its underside and then place another leaf over it. Repeat the process for three-four leaves.
  4. Roll the layered leaves to form a cylindrical shape or rolls and add paste on both sides of rolls.
  5. Make such more rolls of all the leaves and put them in pressure cooker with some oil and boil. We can also use momos’ steamer or turmeric leaves cover for effective cooking. But make sure you cook them well as they are itchy to mouth otherwise.
  6. After cooking, cool then cut into pieces, and fry.
  7. Pathrodu are ready to serve.
Fig. 2 3 Cooking Process: Fry the boiled rolls of colocasia leaves made using a paste of flour, salt, all spices and herbs

Meal option or even Snacks

Pathredu are preferred by some as snacks with tea or other drinks. While for others its’ a dish in meal eaten with Indian breads and curd or buttermilk. Black pepper and salt is added in buttermilk to make it a tastier and healthier drink. It is cooked more in monsoon season in Indian homes.

Conclusion

Food represents our culture and including food in tourism products can give a tourist whole authentic experience and new tastes at new places. Not only Pathredu but many dishes like these are limited to few homes even only in rural parts while they have a great potential to be included in menus of hotels and restaurants of area for tourists as well.

References

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