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PATHRODE- A Tale of Culinary Masterpiece

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14 Oct '23
3 min read


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They say, the way to a person's heart is through his stomach. Food definitely is more than just a survival necessity. It was Beryl Shereshewsky, a popular food YouTuber and content creator, who made me realize that food is also something that can lead to development of a lot emotions in an individual, not only due to the chemical aspects but also the beautiful memories and stories it might be associated with. Over the years, food has brought people together and has reminded them of home and comfort. One such food for me is Pathrode. 

Being a person with Tulu background, I have Pathrode about four to five times a year. Pathrode is a dish made mainly in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi regions (the tulu speaking area) of Karnataka. It is made out of colocasia leaves, also known as elephant ears or taro leaves. The dish is a bit time consuming and requires prior preparation and work, but the end is definitely worth all the effort. 

The process begins with soaking the rice for atleast 3-4 hours during which colocasia leaves are cleaned and the stems are removed. Next, we dry roast urad dal, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. In a mixer jar, we grind the soaked rice along with some coconut, turmeric, cumin, red chillies, salt , tamarind,  jaggery and the dry roasted ingredients. This fine paste is then applied on the leaves and layered together. Then this structure is rolled and kept for steaming. This process is labour intensive and requires extreme precision. But all this work proves worth at the end. This steamed work of art can also be enjoyed by cutting it up into smaller pieces and shallow or deep frying. It can be enjoyed with fresh homemade butter, which is commonly known as benne in tulu and kannada or ghee or even curd. 

Colocasia leaves are in fact used diversely in our country. Even though the name of the leaves and the dish may differ from state to state and region to region, the basic structure remains the same- batter spread on the leaves and then steamed or fried, though the batter differs. It is quite popular in Gujrat under the name of Patra, Alu chi vadi in Maharashtra, where the batter is made of gram flour and spices. It is also known as Rikvach in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Patrodo in Goa, Chembila Appam in Kerela, Chamakura potlalu in Telangana, Patrodu in Himachal Pradesh and in many other states. It can also be used for making curries, like Alu chi patal bhaaji in Maharashtra and Arbi patta nu shaak in Gujarat. 

The high nutrition it provides is another reason why one should try it at least once in their lifetime. These leaves are rich in antioxidants, various vitamins, iron, folic acid, beta carotene and fibers. The leaves contain phenols, tannins, flavonoids, glycosides, and sterols, which help in reducing chronic inflammation such as rheumatoid arthritis. In July 2021, Pathrode was identified as one of the traditional food recipes from the AYUSH system of medicine by the Union Ministry of AYUSH. 

But the bottom line is foods like Pathrode also deserve the spotlight. Acting as the beautiful family recipe being handed down from one generation to the other, it is not only a joyful memory but also a bonding between two generations. The making of Pathrode brings people closer and the process becomes a memorable event.

Category : Food and Cooking


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Written by Varsha Rao