Sunday, 28 August 2016




          The monsoon season is a time when nature blankets the earth green with tender leaves and herbs of all sorts. It leaves one in a dilemma as to what ingredient, so freely bestowed by nature, to choose to make a delicious dish to adorn one’s table, to bring a smile to the face of the eater – to fill oneself not merely with food, but with contentment.

Today, I choose the ubiquitous taro leaf, to prepare a curry enjoyed for untold generations by the Konkani people. ‘Gantiyé ghashi’ or 'ghantiya ghashi' in Konkani means ‘a curry of knots’. Do cook and enjoy!


     1)    Colocasia Esculenta / Taro tender leaves (Taal ela / Chembe ela in Malayalam, Tera pan / Alva pan in Konkani) – 200 gm. (see note)


     2)    Grated coconut – 135 gm.
     3)    Chickpeas (preferably small green or brown skinned) – 100 gm.


     4)    Peeled jackfruit seeds – 65 gm.

Fresh jackfruit seeds (not peeled)

     5)    Hog plums (Ambado in Konkani, Ambazhanga in Malayalam) – 6 Nos. OR Chopped raw mango – 65 gm.
     6)    Salted tender bamboo chunks (for more information, see my article, tender bamboo in Konkani cuisine) – 85 gm.

     7)    Dry Kashmiri chilies – 15 gm.
     8)    Water – 1 litre
     9)    Salt – 8 gm. (1½ teaspoons)
     10)    Coconut oil – 1 tablespoon
     11)    Mustard seeds – 4 gm. (1 teaspoon)
     12)    Curry leaves – 1 sprig

To prepare:

          Soak the chickpeas and the salted bamboo chunks in water, separately overnight. Rinse and drain the taro leaves. Use a small sharp knife to cut away the protruding veins from the underside of each leaf. Roll each leaf into a tight cylinder and bring the ends together to tie a simple knot. Set aside.


Cut each jackfruit seed lengthwise into halves and set aside. Wash and drain the soaked chickpeas.

To cook:

          Put the chickpeas into a pressure cooker together with 500 ml. of water. Set on high heat. As soon as you hear the first whistle, turn down the heat and let cook for 5 minutes. Switch off the heat and allow the cooker to cool naturally.

          Meanwhile, wash and drain the soaked bamboo chunks. Chop them to smaller chunks of around ½ inch to 1 inch (1 cm. to 3 cm.) size and set aside. Put the grated coconut and the dry chilies into a food processor. Pour in 250 ml. of water and grind to superfine paste.

Once the cooker is cool enough to open, pour the contents of the cooker into a suitable curry vessel. Tip in the cut jackfruit seeds, the taro leaf knots, the hog plums (or the chopped mango pieces) and the tender bamboo chunks. Set the curry vessel on high heat.

As soon as it comes to a boil, turn down the heat and cover partially with a lid. Stir occasionally so that the curry does not burn at the base. After 10 minutes of cooking, check the knots to see if they are well cooked. They should be soft as butter when done.

Now tip in the ground paste as well as the salt. Turn up the heat and stir. Taste and add more salt if necessary (this depends upon the residual salt in the soaked salted tender bamboo pieces). As the ghashi starts boiling again, switch off the heat.

Set a skillet or small pan on low heat. Pour in the oil and throw in the mustard seeds. As soon as the seeds are about to finish spluttering, pull the curry leaves off their sprig and put them in. Switch off the heat, stir once and pour the contents into the curry vessel.

Your delicious gantiye ghashi is ready. Let the curry rest for an hour. Serve hot with a pile of steaming hot rice and fried papads or odis (vadagams).



     1)    Pluck just one most tender leaf from each taro plant, around 200 gm. in all. This is because the more mature leaves may cause itching in the mouth even after cooking. After deveining, you need around 135 gm. of leaves to tie the knots.

     2)    Mature, sour hog plums accentuate the original traditional taste of gantiye ghashi. I have used a raw mango here as an effective substitute as hog plums were not readily available.

     3)    Generally, the wild taro leaves (Tera pan in Konkani, Velachappe or Taal ela in Malayalam) are used for gantiye ghashi. However, the leaves of the larger variety of taro (Alva pan in Konkani, Pal chembe in Malayalam) can also be used. Just tear the deveined leaves to smaller pieces when you roll them to tie the knots.

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