Tuesday, 13 September 2016





          Chittiye pan (spotted taro leaf plant / colocasia esculenta) grows wild all over the Konkan and Kerala coasts as well as on the Western Ghats. The magnificent green leaves adorned with red patches and white dots are a feast to one’s eyes. My paternal grandmother, who lived at Thalassery (I am named after her!) used to make this wonderful snack for her dear husband and nine children.

          She had to hand-grind the paste using rice, chilies and chickpea lentils in her time as modern kitchen appliances were unheard of. My father inherited her gourmet fingers and her ancient recipes. Lucky me and lucky you!


     1)    Deveined (see notes) tender spotted taro leaves (Chittiyé pan in Konkani, Pulli chembe in Malayalam) – 100 gm.

     2)    Chickpea flour (chena pite or besan in Konkani, kadalapodi in Malayalam) – 200 gm.
     3)    Rice flour – 50 gm.
     4)    Corn flour – 25 gm.
     5)    Asafoetida powder – 5 gm.
     6)    Kashmiri chili powder – 10 gm.
     7)    Hot red chili powder – 5 gm.
     8)    Powdered salt – 10 gm.
     9)    Water – 250 ml.
     10)    Cooking oil – to deep fry

To make:

          Put ingredient numbers 2 to 9 (all except the leaves and the cooking oil) into a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly with your fingers. Set a spotted leaf upside down on a platter. Smear the batter thinly all over the leaf. Put the next leaf likewise at a tangent to the first one and smear it too with the paste. Repeat until you have a rounded sandwich of 5 to 6 leaves.


Smear the top leaf with the batter. Lift up and fold the left and right edges of the leaf sandwich in straight lines so as to get it ready for rolling. Now lift the near edge and roll tightly with your fingers to make a beautiful cylinder (like a small patrodo or a dudni pana podi roll). Finish the rest of the leaves likewise.

          Set a deep wok or frying pan on high heat. Pour in the cooking oil. Use a sharp knife to slice each roll (lolo in Konkani) into 2 cm. (¾ inch) wide slices.

As soon as the oil is hot (it should not smoke), slip in the slices quickly and carefully, one after the other, until the wok or pan is full, but not crowded.

2 minutes later, turn the podis over. Fry them for 90 more seconds (a total of 3½ minutes) and lift them out, draining off the excess oil. Proceed with the next batch likewise. Your beautiful, delicious, spicy deep-fried chittiye panna podi can be served as a mouthwatering side dish to rice or cherupayar kanji or gruel or as a teatime snack.



     1)    Take care to collect only one youngest leaf from a plant as the more mature leaves may cause slight itching in the mouth.

     2)    Use a thin sharp knife to slice away the thicker veins from the undersides of the leaves, taking care not to tear the leaves.

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