295. Paan turia nu shaak

July 1, 2013mayurisjikoni
Blog post

No one makes it like Nunu

My sister in law sent me some huge arvi paan (taro, colocasia, elephant ears, arbi leaves) a few days ago. I made normal arvi paan bhajia with some and left 2 huge leaves to make a long forgotten shaak (curry). My mother in law Nunu, would make it whenever we had guests over and obviously everyone would pick out the arvi paan and leave the turia (ridge gourd). When I got married and came to Mombasa, there were endless rounds of lunches and dinners we were invited to. One such dinner was hosted by my hubby’s best man’s family. Since his wife (P) was a working woman, my mother in law volunteered to make one dish to help her out. So P suggested that Nunu makes some paan turia. Nunu made it, we took it to the best man’s house, heated it up and put it on the table. My hubby dear takes some, and was all praises telling P that she has made the most delicious shaak. It would have been good if he had stopped at that but no he had to continue and stated that Nunu never makes such a yummy shaak. Obviously Nunu was seething mad and P just couldn’t stop laughing. I was baffled and speechless. Finally P told him that his mum had made it.
I learnt how to make paan turia from Nunu. I made paan turia after a very long time. Normally, paan turia shaak is dry but our family loved the gravy version. Served with parathas, rotis or naan its definitely a gourmet dish. Its one of my favourite dishes.


4 Servings

2 big taro, arvi leaves or 6 small ones
400g turia (ridge gourd)
½ cup water
½ cup tomato puree
¼ to ½ cup coconut cream
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

For the paan paste:

½ cup chana flour (besan, chickpea flour)
1 tbsp wholewheat flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
¼ tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp ginger paste
½ to 1 tsp green chilli paste
½ tsp garlic paste
¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
¼ tsp carom seeds (ajmo)
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
¼ tsp clove powder
¼ tsp garam masala
½ tsp dhana jiru (coriander cumin powder)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp oil
¼ cup + 2 tbsp water

For tempering (vaghar):

1 tbsp oil
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2 tsp garlic paste
a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp green chilli paste
1 tsp ginger paste

Preparation of the paan paste:

  1. Add all the ingredients for the paste into a bowl.
  2. Mix it up well.
Preparation of the turia(ridge gourd):
  1. Trim the ends of the turia. Taste that it is not bitter. Make sure you buy tender turias.
  2. Peel the turias. I tend to leave the skin on some parts of the turia, but not too much.
  3. Wash the turias. Cut them into big cubes and leave on the side till required.
To prepare the paan(leaves):
  1. With a sharp knife, cut off the thick veins of the leaves. The sharp knife helps to slice of the vein easily.
  2. Wash the leaves thoroughly. Wipe them with a kitchen towel.
  3. Lay the leaf on the counter top or a flat baking sheet with the vein side facing you. The dark green part is at the bottom.
  4. Apply the paste all over it. If you taking 2 big leaves, divide the paste into 2. If you are taking 6 small leaves divide the paste into 6 parts.
  5. Roll the leaf with the paste tightly,starting from the tip to the top.
  6. Repeat with the other remaining leaf or leaves.
  7. For now leave the rolled leaves on the side.
To prepare the shaak (curry):
  1. Take a wide pan and put on medium heat.
  2. Add the oil.
  3. When it becomes hot, add first the fenugreek seeds and then the mustard and cumin seeds.
  4. Immediately add garlic paste. Stir fry for a few seconds till it begins to turn light pink.
  5. Add the ginger and chilli paste and stir fry for a few seconds.
  6. Add hing, turmeric powder and the chopped turia.
  7. Mix well. Reduce the heat to low.
  8. Cut the rolled arvi leaves into 1 inch slices and arrange them  over the turia.
  9. Add the water from the side of the pan. Sprinkle the salt all over the turia and paan.
  10. Cover the lid of the pan and let the vegetable cook for 7 to 10 minutes. Make sure its over low heat.
  11. Check to see if the turia and paan are done. Insert a knife into a paan piece. The paan is cooked if it can be pierced easily. Very gently mix the vegetable.
  12. Add sugar to the tomato puree and mix it well. Pour the puree over the cooked vegetable. Cover the pan and let it cook over low heat for 5 minutes only.
  13. Add the coconut cream and gently mix the vegetable.
  14. Sprinkle with chopped fresh coriander and serve.
  • Instead of coconut cream add fresh cream or add more tomato puree.
  • Add a handful of cooked sweet corn to the vegetable if you like.
  • Make sure the taro, arvi leaves are fresh and not old, dry and yellow.
  • Adjust the amount of spices used according to your taste.
  • Don’t cut the turias too small.
  • I always buy an extra turia in case on turns out bitter.
  • Left over turia can always be added to any vegetable, curry or khichdi you make.

You may want to check out the following:

Turia with cashew nut gravy


turia and peas shaak

Sending this recipe for the following events:


  • Corporate to Kitchen

    July 3, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    This is totally new to me. The dish sounds very interesting & I am not sure if this is available here in Singapore.

  • Akila

    July 3, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    looks lovely

  • Arthy shama

    August 5, 2013 at 6:40 am

    Thanks for the step-by-step tutorial, shaak looks delecious!

  • Nayna Kanabar

    January 15, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    I havn't had this in along time.It looks delicious.

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