Colocasia, Taro, Eddo, or Arbi as it is generally known in India is a popular ingredient of a rainy season snack. In fact in western Uttar Pradesh it is known as “ghuinya”. On a visit to Andamans I saw the plant growing abundantly along the roads we traveled. I was surprised to see them growing wild and asked our driver the name of the plant. Imagine my amazement when he took the name “ghuinya”. Having completed my schooling and post graduation from Allahabad, eastern Uttar Pradesh and now settled in Delhi, I had not heard the word for so many years. The connect of the people of Andamans with Uttar Pradesh makes for another story. For now I am sharing my mothers’ recipe of making this tasty tea time snack. There are variation to the recipe, depending from which part of India it is namely Gujarat or Maharashtra. For me it is my childhood flavour going further back to my maternal grandmother’s house.
Bunch of Green fresh leaves of Arbi
250gms of Besan – Gram flour, also known as garbanzo bean flour, chickpea flour
Salt, dried coriander powder and red chilli powder to taste
Select, clean and wash green arbi leaves. cut out the stems and hard veins from the leaf
Also cut out the node where the stem joins the leaf. Add salt, coriander and red chilli powder to besan.
Mix with water into a paste of dropping consistency
Take a big plate or steel thali, invert it and place a big leaf on it
Apply the besan paste on the leaf with your fingers
Cover the whole leaf and apply more leaves on it
Again apply the besan paste
Keep applying 2 or 3 more layers in a similar manner. Now carefully roll the leaves trying not to squeeze the besan paste out.
Place the roll in a steel sieve as it has to be steamed. You can make more such rolls.
Place a rim of a tin in a big dish and put some water in it
Place the steel sieve in it
Cover and place on the gas with the flame on high
Check to see if the besan paste is cooked. It will no longer be wet. Remove from flame and it appears like this
When cool cut into 1 cm thick slices
Now shallow fry on a tava from both sides
Serve hot with green coriander chutney or tomato sauce.