They say:”The key to everything is patience”. That defines my recipe today which I prepared last weekend. A typical Mangalorean sweet dish, Sweet Rice Dumplings with turmeric leaves also commonly known as Haldikolyache Patholi in konkani language (mother-tongue in south-west coast of India). Its made with rice filled with Jaggery-coconut mixture, wrapped in turmeric leaves which makes it a special dish.
Patholi as we call it, was usually made at home when a patch of turmeric leaves were available in my grannies backyard during the monsoon season. In Singapore, I came across turmeric leaves in the supermarket and had this intense craving to eat them. The reason why these turmeric leaves are used is because the leaves have a distinct flavor with a lovely aroma. So, if you happen to have turmeric leaves in local supermarket I can assure you this recipe won’t disappoint you.
Let me tell you a little about this popular “superfood sweetener” commonly used in India. Our elders always prepared sweet dishes with a sweetener called ‘Jaggery‘, Gur in hindi, Bella in Kannada. Jaggery vary in colors ranging from golden brown, brown, dark brown which is known to have the ability to cleanse your body. Although jaggery and sugar both are obtained from the same source of sugarcane juice, jaggery is unrefined sugar where the sugarcane juice undergoes a boiling process. The syrup is boiled continuously until it forms a thick paste, which is then poured into molds to form solid blocks.
Why is jaggery a “healthy” replacement for sugar? Unlike sugar which is absorbed by the body quickly with a sudden burst of energy, jaggery is absorbed slowly and releases energy over an extended period of time.Now, this is just one form of jaggery. The others are jaggery from palm sugar and so on..which I haven’t used in my recipes yet.
Soaking time: 2.5 hrs
Preparation time: 30- 45 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes
Raw rice / Boiled Rice / Surai or Ponni rice – 3/4 cup or 180 g (preferably boiled rice ) (*EDIT)
White small grain / Idli rice – 3/4 cup or 180 g (‘mutambo’ rice in Konkani)
Medium size turmeric leaves / Haldi leaves – 15 to 17, stemmed, rinsed and wiped dry (*see notes)
For the filling:
Pounded jaggery – 150 g or 3/4 cup (as per sweetness)
Grated fresh coconut – 120 g (*see notes)
Cardamom – 4 pods, seeds powdered
First 2 steps are made a day in advance to divide the work.
1. First step soaking : Mix and wash the boiled/ponni rice and white small grain rice with water in a bowl once. Soak with enough water covered for 2.5 hours minimum.
2. Next is making a smooth batter: Using a blender, add the rice and 1/2 tsp of salt. With very less amount of water as possible make a thick smooth paste. I divided the rice into 2 batches to make it easier in grinding, to get a nice smooth paste and less grainy.
Transfer the batter into a bowl (If you make this in the evening, let the batter rest on the kitchen counter overnight or store it in the fridge to use anytime).
3. Preparing the filling: In a small bowl add powdered jaggery, coconut and cardamom powder. Mix well to combine together until no lumps are found.
4. Prepare the turmeric leaves (*see notes). Place tablespoon of batter or using your fingers just scoop the batter and spread it evenly (not too thick, not too thin) over the shiny part of the turmeric leaf, leaving 1-inch gap along the edges.
5. Using a teaspoon, add the jaggery-coconut mixture along the center-line of the leaf.
Fold the leaf in half starting from one end, gently pressing the edges along its length. Repeat the process of step 4 with the remaining leaves and place them on a plate.
6. Using a steamer or a wok. Pour 1 1/2 cup of water and place a small plate over steamer plate with holes that is at least an inch or two above the water level. Bring the water to a boil.
Place the leaves over the steamer plate in random angles (can be placed one over another). Cover with the lid and cook on high (induction 8) for 12 minutes.
7. The rice dumplings are ready when a toothpick inserted into it comes clean. Remove the leaves from the steamer using tongs and place it on a plate.
Peel the leaves from one end and discard. It tastes best when its piping hot. Hope you like it. Happy cooking.
*If your using fresh coconut that has been in the freezer. Place it out on the kitchen counter an hour in advance to thaw and soften.
*If the turmeric leaves are too long you can cut them into half first and then place the batter.
*Since I made this recipe for 2 servings, I used just half the batter and made 8 leaves one day and the rest another day. The coconut-jaggery filling can be stored in the fridge for a day or two to reuse later. Do not keep the filling stored too long as it will go bad.
In case your wondering how to pound jaggery, place the jaggery cubes in a ziplock bag and pound them with any object. Do the same with cardamom if you do not use a mortar and pestle.
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