As I had explained in one of my old posts, the next day after Janmashtami is also very special for us. One of the special dishes offered to god on this day is this colocasia-chana cooked in coconut base. VenTi or aLva panna is the stem of colocasia. Some of the leaves are tied into knots and added to the dish. Others are chopped and added. When these leaves and chana are cooked, it gives and amazing taste and a unique aroma. Whenever I eat this dish, the picture of aayi cutting these leaves comes to my mind.
Almost all the festival foods are somehow associated with seasonal vegetables that are available at that time. Janmashtami comes in rainy season, when the colocasia leaves grow in abundance. So that might be one of the reasons for this dish being offered to god on this festival. In our Indian store here, we are finding colocasia leaves a lot these days. But for the first time, I saw some really tender parrot green leaves – which are assumed to be non-itchy. So I made this dish and once again, fell in love with it.
1/2 cup black chana
2-3 tender colocasia leaves with stems
3/4 cup fresh/frozen coconut
1/2 tea spn coriander seeds
1/4 tea spn tamarind extract
1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves
4-5 red chilies
A pinch asafoetida
Soak chana in water overnight.
Tie 4-5 long pieces of leaves into knots(I have no idea what these signifies). Cut all remaining leaves into pieces. Chop the tender stems into pieces (like you do with green beans, cut a small pieces and pull it down to remove the outer skin as much as possible).
Cook chana and leaves-stems separately in cooker. In cooker, use lowest vessel for chana and upper most one for the leaves & stems.
Heat a little oil and fry coriander seeds. Grind these with coconut, red chilies, tamarind into a paste.
Mix together chana, leaves-stems, paste and salt. Cook for about 7-8mins till the dish boils well.
Heat a little oil and add mustard seeds. When they start popping, add asafoetida, curry leaves. Pour this seasoning over the ready dish.
Serve as a side dish with rice. This goes very well with cheppi kheeri(sugerless rice pudding).
Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 30mins
Read more about colocasia leaves at Jugalbandi.