Fry-up: Maralva Leaf Fritters

Maralva Panna Podi

I have loved this dish since I was a kid; my Aunt always made this during the monsoons. However, I never bothered trying to make it since it looked complicated. When I saw this video made by another Aunt, explaining each step so well, that the entire process looked SO easy, I decided to try it. And the first attempt on Janmashtami day wasn't so bad. In fact, it turned out much better than what I'd expected.

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These leaves are similar to colocasia leaves, except that they grow on trees. Hence the name 'mara alva' leaves (mara = tree, in Kannada). Mara alva has somehow turned into marvala, maybe since the latter is easier to pronounce.

Here is the video that I'm referring to. As my Aunt explains it in Konkani, read the text below for the English version.

What you need for the masala:
*1 cup of black gram (urad dal), roasted dry
*1 cup of rice, soaked for about 2 hours
*Red chillies, dry roasted, a handful
*Asafoetida (hing), a big lump
*Tamarind, lemon sized lump
*Turmeric powder, a pinch
*Salt, as per taste

The above ingredients should be ground into a fine paste. Black gram adds to the stickiness of the masala, that helps the leaves to stick to each other, and the roll doesn't open. The tamarind should be more than what you usually add, as the leaves may cause some itching in the throat, and tamarind helps combat this. The raw masala should taste very spicy, and on the saltier side, as it neutralises when you fry it up.

Preparing the leaves:
The leaves should be washed and wiped dry on both sides. Once completely dry, the masala is applied on the rear of leaves. The largest ones are placed at the bottom. The masala is uniformly, neatly applied on the leaves. One stack would have anywhere between ten to fifteen leaves. The stack is then carefully, tightly rolled into a long-ish roll. Very carefully, the roll is cut into small pieces and tied with the string derived from the banana plant (vayu), so that it doesn't open up. If not available, simply use toothpicks for the same purpose. 

Deep fry as is, after dipping it in a mixture of rice flour + semolina, for that added crunchiness. Flip over a couple of times so that it is done well. This takes a little longer than the other usual pakodas. When completely done, it should be crunchy on the outside, but a little tender and juicy inside.

This makes for a lip-smacking tea time snack that tastes extra special if it's raining. Or goes perfectly with hot dalitoy (a version of Dal) and steaming hot rice.
Have you tried this recipe anytime?
How do you make it?

This was our dinner on Janmashtami day, a typical GSB thali consisting of chana (bengal gram) dry curry, gajbaje (a mixed vegetable curry with tender bamboo, jackfruit seeds and colocasia leaves being the major veggies), moong dal payasam (green gram dessert), rice and dal.


  1. In Bengal they make fry of pumpkin leaves. Tastes good.

    1. Yes, they fry the pumpkin flowers too, though I'm not a fan of the fried flowers!


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