Friday, 9 March 2012




          ‘Vaali’ in Konkani or ‘Basala’ in Kannada or ‘Vashala Cheera’ in Malayalam is a creeper amaranthus with thick fleshy leaves which turn slippery when cooked. Vaali comes in green and red shades and is easily propagated through seeds and stem cuttings. Hardy and relatively free of pests, vaali can also be grown to adorn your garden for its ornamental beauty. The leaves and stems are used to create several delicious dishes; the most outstanding among them being vaali ambat (see my recipe). Vaali patrodo is a comparatively easy dish for patrodo lovers (see my other patrodo recipes – patrodo version ‘A’, patrodo version ‘B’ and mooga patrodo).


     1)    Freshly picked Vaali leaves – 400 gm.
     2)    Raw rice – 200 gm.
     3)    Tor dal (split pigeon pea lentils) – 200 gm.
     4)    Hot red chili powder – 4 teaspoons.
     5)    Asafoetida powder – ¼ teaspoon
     6)    Mature cucumber tree fruit – 4 nos.
     7)    Coconut – ½
     8)    Powdered salt – 2 teaspoons
     9)    Coconut oil – to grease the plate

To Cook:

          Soak the rice and the dal together in water for an hour. Soak the vaali leaves in a solution of 30 ml. of vinegar in 3 litres of water for half an hour. This will help dislodge any sticky grime from the leaves. Rinse in 2 or 3 changes of clear water and drain.

          Grate the coconut. Cut off and discard the stem tips of the cucumber tree fruit and chop the fruit roughly to pieces. Wash and drain the rice and the dal and transfer to a food processor. Tip in the cucumber tree fruit pieces and the grated coconut. Add just enough water to grind it to superfine paste. Now tip in the chili powder, the asafoetida powder and the powdered salt and blend for a few seconds. Transfer the paste to a bowl and set aside.

          Select a deep plate or tray which will fit into the steamer. Grease the plate with coconut oil. Arrange a layer of vaali leaves upside down at the base of the plate. Take some paste in your fingers and spread it thinly over the leaves. Now arrange a second layer of leaves and cover them likewise with the paste.
          Continue the process till all the leaves and the paste are used up.
Put the plate in the steamer (do ensure that you have poured adequate water at the base of the steamer). Cover with the lid and cook for an hour on high heat. At the end of that time, open the lid and insert the point of a knife into the patrodo. If the patrodo is cooked, the knife will come clean as you pull it out. If you hear a crunchy sound when the knife enters the patrodo or if the knife is covered with paste as it comes out, it means that the patrodo needs more steaming. The steaming time will vary in accordance with the thickness of the patrodo, the fleshiness of the leaves and the pressure and volume of the steam.

          Take out when well-cooked and serve hot either by itself or with rice. Dribble some coconut oil over the patrodo and it tastes still better.



1)    If vaali is not available, you can use other thick and large edible leaves at your disposal. It needs to be said that edible taro leaves (see my other patrodo recipes) are the best option but sadly, tender taro leaves are not available at many places around the world and moreover, it takes a lot of patient work to remove the veins from the leaves.

2)    While making this dish, I have placed a piece of banana leaf at the bottom of the plate before arrange the vaali leaves in order to:
·       prevent the leaves from sticking to the plate and
·       to incorporate the flavor of the banana leaf into the patrodo
    Try using a few turmeric leaves at the base for a different flavor!

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