One thing that came as a 'bundle' in our home was the dhokla-aLuwadi combination. Whenever my Mother went to Dadar Kabutar Khana area, she would stop over at Saurashtra snack shop and bring home goodies.
Sometimes kachoris (ping pong ball sized and deep fried, stuffed with a spicy-sweet moong daal filling that left you wanting one more), sometimes jilebi - sticky, orange spirals with a slight tang that were devoured even before she could transfer them to a bowl, but mostly she brought back dhokla and aLuwadi combo. The spongy square pieces of savory-pillowy goodness and the slightly spicy 'rolls' of colocassia /taro leaves rolled into a cylinder with a spiced besan paste inside was a treat.
These were rarely made at home, to my mind, these were complicated things, best left to experts.
But now, so far away from home, I cannot rely on the Indian store weekend supply of dhokla (sold at a ridiculous price ) or frozen packets or even packaged goodies to re-live those memories.
Once in a while, we get taro leaves in the store and I try to get them (they are limited in quantity and get sold quickly or they have insect eggs on the back of the leaf and need to be trashed).
One such day I was lucky to get a fresh supply of the leaves and clean ones at that, yay!
The only hitch was, these leaves were small and I did not get many, just 7-8.
The longing to eat aLuwadi is a strong one and not easily put away.
But instead of making the roulade, I made 'wadi', squares.
I found this recipe in Annapurna that I followed.
7 - 8 Taro / Colocassia/ ALu leaves
Lime sized Tamarind ball or 1 tsp Tamarind Concentrate (I used concentrate)
2 tsp Jaggery crumbled or substitute with dark brown sugar
1 tsp Red chillies powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
6 tbsp Rice Flour
1 Cup Gram Flour / Besan
1/4 cup shredded coconut
Hefty Pinch Asafetida
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
3 Tbsp Oil
Salt to taste ( about 1 tsp)
If using tamarind soak it in warm water for about 10-15 mins and extract the pulp and discard solids. If using concentrate, move on to the next step directly.
Wipe the Taro leaves with a moist tissue or napkin. Cut the stem and any tough veins.
Shred the leaves finely.
Mix all the ingredients given above in to a thick-ish batter.
IF you are using tamarind pulp you may not need extra water.
IF you use tamarind concentrate, you need to slowly add water to make the batter.
Grease a container or a 'thali' that can be used in a steamer or pressure cooker and pour the batter into it.
Cover and steam the mixture for about 25-30 mins in the cooker (without the whistle).
Once done, cool and then cut into squares.
Shallow or deep fry as preferred and serve.