15th of August is Indian Independence Day & it coincides with the Feast of Our Lady of Assumption which is celebrated with great pomp & enthusiasm in Goan homes especially by the Goan Catholics. The favorite Goan delicacy “Patoleo is prepared on this feast day. Besides, it is also prepared on the day of Sao Joao (St. John’s Feast) & Konsachem Fest (Harvest Festival). Patoleos are also sent with vojem (trousseau) to the groom’s house, both by the Catholics & Hindus.
Patoleo is a simple, aromatic & steamed sweet. The base is made of rice paste & the filling is made of Goan Pyramid Jaggery & scraped fresh coconut which is encased in turmeric leaves & steamed in a steamer called “Komfro” in Konkannim. This sweet is steamed in turmeric leaves which impart its distinct aromatic flavor into the sweet pancake. While steaming, the entire house is enveloped with the fragrance of turmeric leaves.
I remember the times when my grandmother would also use jackfruit leaves which are called “Kholle” or “Dhonne” which is another variation of patoleo. Jackfruit leaves would be shaped into a cone instead of turmeric leaves. But the aroma of turmeric leaves was a must so she would place the cones on the turmeric leaves!
Though turmeric leaves are available in plenty in Goa, the vegetable markets in most states especially in the Konkan region are full of such leaves in August which is also the monsoon season. Turmeric is well known for its medicinal properties & the oil in the leaf is considered to be excellent for purifying blood. The patoleos which are steamed in these leaves help the oil to be absorbed into the sweet & hence adding health value to the patoleo.
Though patoleos are a little time consuming, I like to make a few as I love the mild tantalizing aroma of turmeric leaves, the delightfully pleasant flavor of green cardamom & this definitely makes me very nostalgic of my hometown Goa. It also brings back sweet & pleasant memories of my grandmother which linger for a very long time when I steam this wonderful & unique preparation which keeps reminding me of Goa. I’m sure many of you will also be experiencing a similar sentiment… so just go ahead & steam some patoleo!
This post of “Patoleo” is for you dear Fiona … my good friend. You have always encouraged & continue promoting my blog… Thank you Fiona… words are just not enough to express my gratitude to you.
Thank you for stopping by dear visitors, friends & well wishers… & here’s wishing you “A very Happy Feast & Independence Day.”
200 gms. Goa Red Rice or boiled rice
1 fresh Coconut (scraped)
2 cakes Goa Pyramid Jaggery (grated)
6 Green Cardamoms (peeled & powdered)
1 doz. Fresh Turmeric Leaves (Haldi ka Patta)
1/3 cup Water (optional)
1 tsp. Salt
Pick, winnow, wash the rice well & then allow to soak in water for about an hour.
Drain the water & grind using a little water as possible to a thick fine paste.
Transfer the rice paste to a thick bottomed pot.
Rinse the grinder with water & add this water to the rice paste.
Add salt & stir the mixture well.
Place the pot on a low flame & cook the rice paste till thick dough is formed.
The dough is ready when it starts leaving the sides of the pot.
Transfer to a plate & allow to cool.
Knead the dough well with your hands when the dough is lukewarm & when you are able to handle it.
Preparation of the Sweet Coconut Jaggery Filling :
In a sufficiently deep & thick bottomed pot/pan place the scraped coconut & grated jaggery.
Add water & let it cook till thick.
Keep stirring occasionally so that it does not stick to the bottom of the vessel.
When the mixture is thickened, add cardamom pwd.
Stir & cook for a minute.
Let the mixture cool down completely before filling.
Assembling & Steaming of the Patoleo :
Wash the turmeric leaves, wipe & dry completely. Trim the leaves & cut off the extra stalk.
If the leaves are large you may cut them into 2 to 3 pieces or depending on the size of your steamer.
Place the turmeric leaf with the plain surface facing upwards.
Then take a small ball of the prepared rice dough; start patting, flattening & spreading it with your fingers from the centre of the vein of the leaf to the edges.
Retain a small margin i.e. do not apply the dough right till the edges of the leaf.
Spread it out wards & cover the entire leaf uniformly.
Make sure the dough is spread thin enough to fill. The dough should not separate or break.
Stuff sufficiently with the prepared filling.
Carefully fold the leaf & gently press down to enclose the filling.
The main vein of the leaf is a perfect guide for this.
Prepare all patoleos like this making sure you seal the leaves especially the edges well.
Prepare your steamer as for idlis but you do not need the katoris or cups for steaming instead place the patoleos on a round plate or tray or arrange them directly in the steamer if your steamer has a vent tray.
Steam for about 20 to 25 mins.
The color of the leaves will change from fresh green to dull (olive) green.
Transfer the steamed patoleos on a plate. Serve without removing the leaves.
To eat, peel off the leaf & bite into the hot patoleo.
Always eat them fresh.. straight out of the steamer or keep them warm in a casserole.
Enjoy them hot or warm.