Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Perils of Colocassia

My blog and FB friend Magiceye, recently posted a lip smacking visual of a snack made predominantly in Maharashtra and Gujarat, called Aluwadi, and Patra respectively in those regions.

Collocasia leaves, plucked, cleaned de-veined, are layered with a thick mixture of besan (garbanzo flour), spices, and a tangy tamarind sauce. Several leaves , layered one over the other, then rolled up nicely, and steamed in a colander. Cut into pinwheels, these slices are either deep fried, or tempered with a dressing of hot oil, mustard seeds, chillies, hing , shredded coconut, chopped coriander leaves and so on.

Probably gobbled up as a side dish at a Sunday lunch, or nibbled on with a masala chai, while watching, say, the Wimledon final 2013, which is happening right now.

But spare a thought for Ms. Colocassia. He name sounds as Greek as the tragedy that befalls her...

of the Arbi clan,
prospering greatly
in the wet earth of the monsoon,
and like all girls
she loved to put on makeup.

Everytime the experts came,
she raised herself
on her purple stockinged legs
and grabbed their attention.

And then one day,
she was taken away,
miles from her home,
cleaned up,
and a layer of
besan foundation
mixed with spices
and a tangy tamarind sauce
was applied all over .

Just when she thought
that was all,
she was rolled up,
and made to sit in a sauna
till she lost all her green innocence
and belief in makeup.

Cooled off,
and thinking calmly,
she bravely faces the cuts
of a knife,
as she is cut in pinwheels.

Like her mother said,
enjoy your childhood
with Mother Earth;
life is so unpredictable after that;
Its all hot oil,
and curling at the edges,
and then lying on a plate,
trying to brush off
the coconut,
mustard, and coriander hanger-ons..."


  1. Funny. Arbi is just not the leaves, the roots have their own story to tell. This is the first time I have seen a recipe being made into a poem. :)

    1. Madhu Bharadwaj, Thank you ! Just thought I should tell you that this blog is full of recipes made into peoms. Check the blog archives on the left, and click on anything "foody" . It is probably a recipe. :-)