Published By: Jayati

Ever heard of Bengali ‘Paturi Dishes’? These four leaves are a hit in them!

In Bengal, it's totally possible to create delicious dishes using just simple leaves! 

In Bengali cooking, there's this amazing dish called "paturi"! So, what is paturi? It's basically when they wrap seafood or veggies in different leaves, then marinate them with spices, coconut, and mustard paste before steaming or grilling. It's got this subtle, earthy vibe and a lovely smell from all those leaves. And let us tell you, the flavour is out of this world! It's a perfect mix of spicy, sour, and smoky, with a texture that's super soft and moist, almost like it melts in your mouth. The way they cook it locks in all those juicy flavors, making it absolutely mouthwatering! So, let's explore the magic of some humble leaves that bring to life the amazing dish of "paturi" and embody the rich legacy of authentic Bengali cuisine!

Banana Leaves 

Banana leaves are a popular choice for making "paturi". When used in cooking, they impart a distinct flavour, offering a subtle grassy taste and a gentle, smoky aroma. Their sturdy nature makes them ideal for securely wrapping both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. After being softened and cleaned, banana leaves are wrapped around seasoned and cooked items. The natural flavors of the ingredients are elevated by the aroma of the banana leaves, resulting in a variety of delicious Bengali delicacies made with simple ingredients!

Elephant-Ear Leaf 

In Bengali cooking, a classic "paturi" dish just isn't the same without elephant ear leaves—they're a staple choice! These big leaves bring their own unique flavour and aroma to the mix as they cook. Not only do they give the dish a fresh look, but they also help keep everything moist and tender. When preparing, marinated seafood or veggies are wrapped in these leaves and then either steamed or shallow-fried. This process lets the leaf's flavour really shine through. In Bengali cuisine, elephant ear leaves, or “kochu pata,” are a key ingredient in many traditional "paturi" dishes, giving them that authentic taste.

Kumro Pata

Who would've guessed that something as ordinary as “kumro pata” could be the secret behind such amazing flavours in Bengali cuisine! This leaf truly works wonders, making it quite popular in Bengali cooking. The “kumro pata,” or pumpkin leaves, have a subtle bitterness with earthy undertones, which gives the dish its unique taste. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian ingredients are usually wrapped in these leaves and then coated with a mustard-based paste, coconut, and spices. They're then shallow-fried, infusing the dish with incredible flavor. There are many outstanding "paturi" dishes that use kumro pata, and you can easily substitute the non-vegetarian ingredients with paneer, tofu, or various seasonal vegetables. If you haven't tried it yet, any dish made with kumro pata will surely tantalize your taste buds!

Lau Pata 

The term "Lau Pata" refers to the leaves of the bottle gourd vegetable, used in paturi to honour the tradition of cultural cooking. Lau pata has a mild, slightly bitter taste with a smooth texture. To prepare, wash the bottle gourd leaves and use them to wrap seafood or vegetables. Then, spice them up with spices and coconut before grilling or steam-cooking. Various traditional paturi dishes made with lau pata not only offer amazing flavours but also tell you the story of the region's culinary heritage. They highlight Bengal's resourcefulness in using every part of the ingredients to come up with tasty dishes, way before zero-waste cooking became a thing!

Paturi is all about wrapping ingredients in leaves and cooking them up—a traditional method that's been around for ages. It's a versatile dish that works with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Mainly, these leaves add their own flavour to the mix, making paturi not just delicious but also packed with goodness. It's a must-have at any big Bengali gathering! So, if you're interested in trying something different, give it a go and discover the flavours of Bengal!