Saturday, 10 March 2018

Dolma of Taro leaves or "Patroru"

Taro or Arbi was consumed by the early Romans in much the same way as the potatoes are being used today. They called this root vegetable colocasia. The Greek and the Roman historians described it as an important crop.
The plant of Colocasia esculenta or taro
Wikimedia Commons by Kahuroa
It is believed to be one of the earliest cultivated plants.
The plant has two species known as Colocasia esculenta and Colocasia antiquorum. In Latin the word esculenta, means edible. But these two varieties are considered to be the members of a single variable species namely Colocasia esculenta. 

The cultivated variety is known by several names like eddoes, dasheen, taro etc. This plant and its root are generally called taro, but it has different names in different countries. 

It is known as eddoe in Portugese, malangas in Spain, keladi or talas in Indonesia, Abi or Avi in Philipines. 

It is also native to Australia. In Turkey, it is known as Golevez and is mainly grown on the Mediterranean coast.
It is called Chinese eddoes in West Indies as it arrived there from China. It is widely used in Japan too.

But In South East USA the plant is termed to be an invasive species.

Nativity of Taro

It is probable that Taro was the first native to the lowland wetlands of Malaysia where they called it Taloes. 
As per records, Taro was cultivated in wet tropical India before 5000 BC, presumably after coming from Malaysia. From India, it was further transported to the west and reached in ancient Egypt. 

In India, it is known as "Gaderi", while the smaller ones are called "arbi" . The name "arvi" is more common and popular. 

As an Ornamental Plant
It is called "elephant ears" when grown as an ornamental plant like Xanthosoma and CaladiumIt is sold as an ornamental aquatic plant. 

Contents

The 100 gram of taro contains 42 gm calories which is much more than potato. Besides it contains 3.7 gm fiber, 5 gm protein, 648 gm potassium and other minerals like calcium and iron. It also contains rich amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C.

It is good for digestion and is easily digestible due to the presence of fiber in it. The presence of antioxidants makes it beneficial for healthy and supple skin.
The leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals. 

Taste

The cells of raw plant and corms are toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate, and the needle-shaped raphides. 
The acrid taste due to the toxin is reduced and made palatable by careful cooking or steeping it in cold water overnight.
The leaves lose their acrid taste in boiling and may be eaten as spinach after discarding the water. 

The juice of citrus fruits or vinegar can also be added to remove the acrid taste.


How to Grow Taro

The plant can be grown in the ground or in large containers throughout the year in subtropical and tropical areas.  


                    The corms of taro
           Wikimedia Commons by Forest & Kim Starr
It is planted in summers and dug up for the winters. It is stored in a dry place to save from fungal infection. 

It grows in all temperature zones. The growth is optimum between 20 to 30 °C, but if the temperature remains below 10 °C for few days, the plants get damaged and the corms do not develop fully.

The root tuber is typically planted close to the surface at a distance of one foot. The sprouts appear 2-3 weeks. The growth is the best in shade and moist compost-rich soil. Water the plants as the prolonged dryness wilt the leaves. Fortnightly use of regular plant fertilizer will increase the yield.

How to Eat Taro

As a root vegetable, this tropical plant is grown primarily for its edible corms. The thick and young leaves including the green stems are also very popular as a common diet and snacks. 

In Europe, the corms are taken quite hot preferably in roasted form.

The corms of the small round variety are peeled after boiling and are thereafter roasted.  
It is known as taro, eddoe, Chama Jhumpa, and dasheen in the South Pacific regions and is eaten like potatoes. 
An iron-rich soup is made by boiling the leaves in coconut milk.
In Hawai, a dish made by boiling the starchy underground plant stem is known as Poi.

Dolmathakia or Dolma 

Since old times the dishes were made by wrapping the cabbage or grape leaves around a filling. The ancient Greeks called them fyllas (leaf). At present these are called dolmadaki or yaprak dolma ('leaf dolma'), or simply dolma. Dolma is used to make sarma. Dolmathakia is a dish of stuffed grape leaves with rice, spices, and herbs.

Taro Dolma or Patroru

In Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh (a northern state in India), taro is known as ghandyali. In Shimla, a similar pancake-style dish, called patera or pater, is made.

Taro dolma locally called patrodu is made from the leaves of the taro.

How to Make Patroru

Prepare a paste of gram flour and add salt, black pepper, cumin seeds and freshly chopped onions to it. 
Wash the leaves with clean water. Put the leaves upside down and apply the paste apply the paste to the taro leaves.   Put another leaf and apply the paste again.

The process of making the taro dolma or patroru is explained stepwise in the following pictures.

Step 1- Wash the taro leaves
with clean water
Step 2- Put it upside down and
apply the paste
Step 3- Put another leaf and
apply the paste again


Step 4- Fold the leaves in half and
 apply the paste again




Step 5- Fold another side of
the leaves and apply the paste 




Step 6- Roll on the leaves and
put it in the steamer to be
cooked for 10-15 minutes.
Step 7- Remove from the steamer and cut into
pieces to be eaten as such or in fried form