Paturi is the name given to a dish or cooking method in which food, either vegetarian or non-vegetarian is wrapped in a leaf and cooked. The word paturi has been coined from the Bengali word ”Pata” meaning leaf. In this particular form of cooking the ingredients are wrapped in leaves and steamed or roasted on the griddle. The leaves used in paturi play an important role in the cooking since the leaves infuse their flavor to the dish. Paturi can be both vegetarian and non-vegetarian depending on the choice of key ingredients. The popular paturi dishes are Prawn paturi, ilish paturi, Bhetki-maach er paturi among the nonvegetarian dishes, and chhanar paturi, mochar paturi among the vegetarian options. The leaves used in this preparation can range from banana leaf to pumpkin leaf. When the paturi is made in banana leaf, the leaf is discarded while paturis made in pumpkin or bottle gourd leaves can be consumed along with the leaf.
Preparing Paturi is rather easy. It can be prepared in actually even less than an hour. For preparing chhanar paturi, I prefer using homemade chhana. However, you can also use the store bought ones. Yogurt here is basically used to soften the chhana. But, if you are using freshly prepared homemade moist chhana, it can be completely omitted.
- 300g of chhana/chhena preferably homemade (See Notes)
- ½ cup of grated coconut
- 3 tablespoons of mustard paste (See Notes)
- 3 tablespoons of plain yoghurt (See Notes)
- 7 green chilies slitted or whole
- 3 tablespoons of mustard oil
- Salt to taste
- 1-2 whole banana leaf
- Take the chhena/chhana in a bowl. To it add, salt, mustard paste, grated coconut and yogurt and mix them evenly.
- Wash and cut the banana leaves into rectangular sheets, about 20 cm by 20 cm works fine. Gently toast them on a pan set on low medium heat. This will increase the pliability of the banana leaves, ensuring that they don’t crack when folded. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Take one banana leaf. Sprinkle about ½ teaspoon of mustard oil at the centre of the banana leaf.
- Divide the chhana mixture into 7 equal parts. Take one part of the chhana and place it on the oiled banana leaf. With your fingers gently shape the chhana mixture into rectangular shape. Do not worry if it is not evenly shaped.
- Now place one green chili on the chhana mixture.
- Carefully wrap the chhana with the banana leaf making sure that it is fully covered. If you find that your leaf is torn, wrap another layer of leaf around it. Tie this parcel up securely with a cotton string (See Notes)
- Heat a frying pan or kadai, coat the pan with a little vegetable oil and cook the parcel(s) for about 5-6 minutes on each side.
- Remove the parcels from the kadai/frying pan. Serve.
- While preparing the chenna, you need not completely dry the chhana since some moisture is needed while mixing it later.
- Soak equal amounts of white and black mustard seeds in water for 20 minutes and then grind them to a fine paste along with salt. Let it sit for another 20-30 minutes. Letting the mustard paste sit for 30 minutes reduces the bitterness of mustard seeds.
- The amount of yogurt needed may vary according to the moisture in your chhana. If the chhana is completely moist, you can skip yogurt completely.
- Use cotton and white or light-colored cotton thread preferably to tie the parcels. The dark-colored thread might release color while synthetic thread tends to melt.
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