Patra … a green delicacy!

This is a wonderful tasty green dish from Gujarat in India that can be made easily with young spinach leaves (and kale) without consuming a lot of time … sounds good? Well, read on for more simpler recipe than the original one.

Traditionally, this is made with Colcasia leaves or affectionately known as Elephant ears due to their size and shape. These large leaves are washed and dried, their hard spines carefully removed, spread with the prepared batter and then rolled ready to be steamed. As my friend Jas suggested, I have cut out all these time consuming tasks from preparing this tasty dish by using young leaves of spinach and chard, especially as I have had a regular harvest this summer from my raised bed … and no I am not showing off, I am just so impressed! Of course, you can use the spinach leaves that are sold in supermarkets and shops. In my version, I have also added chopped young kale leaves from my garden.

The ingredients for the batter need to be mixed and ideally rested for an hour or so.

Place all flours in a bowl
Add the water, oil and yoghurt
Mix in the spices, unrefined sugar, salt and lime juice
Whisk the mixture so that there are no lumps
Add the spinach, chard leaves and fruit salt which acts as a raising agent
Pour the mixture into an oiled shallow pan
Cover with lid wrapped in a towel
Remove from the steamer after 35 minutes
Enjoy drizzled with a little olive oil and a squeeze of lime!

Patra …an Indian Green Delicacy

An easier and simpler way to make a traditional light dish wih fresh spinach, chard and kale in a spiced batter of mixed flours.

Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Healthy, Indian, Steamed, Vegetarian, Wholesome
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 4 Servings
Author Hema (


  • 1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
  • ¼ cup rice flour
  • ¼ cup wheat flour
  • ¼ cup sorghum (juwarflour or fine yellow cornmeal)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup yoghurt
  • 1 cup water
  • teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 1/3 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander cumin powder (dhana jeeru)
  • 3 teaspoons unrefined brown sugar (muscavado or demerera)
  • 1 teaspoon heaped minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon heaped minced fresh green chilli (more if you want it spicier)
  • 1/2 fresh lime (juice)
  • ½ teaspoon fruit salt (Eno fruit salt)
  • 150 grams young spinach/chard/chopped kale leaves washed and dried


  1. Mix all the flours in a bowl.
  2. Add the spices to the flour mixture and give it a quick mix.
  3. Then add the yogurt, oil and water to the bowl, whisking it well to give a smooth batter.
  4. Rest the batter for an hour or more.
  5. Add half a teaspoon of fruit salt (Eno) into the batter and mix before adding the young spinach/chard/ chopped kale leaves 

  6. Pour the mixture into a lightly oiled flat shallow pan like a cake tin. Level the surface of the mixture so that it cooks evenly

  7. Place in a steamer or you can adapt a deep pan/stock pot with a steamer basket in it

  8. Pour enough water into the pot so that it covers the bottom of the pot to about 2-3cm. Wrap and tie a clean dish towel on the lid to allow efficient steaming in the pot.

  9. Steam on a medium to gentle heat (not the lowest setting) for about 30-35 minutes 

  10. Remove from the steamer and allow to cool a little if you can wait that long!
  11. Slice into small narrow pieces and enjoy with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lime!

Recipe Notes

Although the kale leaves are young, I have removed the leaf stalk as I would like the final patra to be supple. You can use a mixture of leaves or only spinach or chard.

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