"This recipe from Goa is one of the more unusual in this Food Safari Earth series – basically, a flat rice dumpling with a cardamom flavoured sweet coconut filling wrapped in a turmeric leaf and steamed, the warm aroma of turmeric filling the house as you cook and infusing the filling. It’s made to celebrate both Indian Independence Day on the 15th August and the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, an important date in the Catholic calendar. Goan par boiled rice is preferred for this recipe (its pre-cooked with the husk on before being dried again, conserving nutrients). Passionate home-cook Maryann Borges says her family waits all year for this delightful treat and enjoys it with a hot cup of tea." Maeve O'Meara, Food Safari Earth
An earthy turmeric leaf cake filled with coconut, rice, jaggery and cardamom, commonly found on Indian's west coast.
- 400 g (2 cups) red par-boiled Goan rice
- sea salt
- 12 fresh turmeric leaves
- 60 g (¼ cup) yellow split peas
- 200 g jaggery
- 2 cups grated fresh coconut
- 1 tbsp ground cardamom
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time overnight
Wash the rice and soak overnight in plenty of cold water. Drain, then place in a blender with a pinch of salt and process until a fine paste forms - you may need to add just a little water to help it blend – the paste should not be runny.
Meanwhile, for the filling, soak the split peas in cold water for 1 hour. Drain and place in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender but they should still have some crunch. Drain and set aside.
Place the jaggery in a saucepan with 125 ml (½ cup) water over low heat. Stir until the jaggery is completely dissolved. Add the grated coconut and stir over medium heat until all the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the cardamom, remove from the heat, then stir in the split peas and set aside to cool.
Gently wash the turmeric leaves and pat dry on paper towel. Using wet fingers, spread a large spoonful of the rice paste in a thin, even layer over the leaves. Top with a little jaggery mixture and fold each leaf in half to close. Trim around the patoleos mixture with a pair of scissors, leaving a small border around the edges. Place in a steamer, cover and steam for 20 minutes or until the leaves change colour to olive green or when the kitchen is filled with the aroma of turmeric leaves. Remove the leaves and enjoy when warm with a cup of black or sugarless tea.
Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Emma Warren. Creative concept by Belinda So.