This recipe has come from the lovely Steve : ) He cooked this for a housing co-op meeting the other week and it was delicious! Thanks Steve!
Patra is awesome stuff – it comes in a tin and basically consists of leaves curried and coated in gram flour, forming a sort of cylindrical loaf. Although I don’t think it is particularly “meat-like” in taste or texture, I’ve had several meat-eaters tell me after trying it that it was the best vegan “meat substitute” that they had ever tasted. It’s usually available from Indian grocery shops, and Unicorn in Manchester also sells it.
Ingredients 1 tin patra (sliced and chopped into ~2x2cm chunks), 1-2 onions, 3 garlic cloves, a chunk of ginger about the size of a thumb,vegetables – I used a courgette and a red pepper, but others that you could use include mushrooms, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc, 1 tin chopped tomatoes
Chop the onion (preferably not too small, say 2cm pieces) and put it in a wok or large pan with a fairly generous amount of vegetable oil (i prefer to use sunflower oil over olive oil for this sort of recipe, but your tastes may vary). Finely chop or grate the garlic and ginger, add to the onion and start frying over a fairly high heat, stirring frequently. While the onion is frying, chop the other vegetables to a similar size as the onion, and add to the pan when the onion has been frying for a few minutes. Fry for another few minutes and then add the chopped patra (if you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to resist munching a few pieces of the patra before you add it to the pan). Stir fry for another 5-10 minutes or so (until all the vegetables look fairly cooked, but don’t let anything burn or caramelise).
Add the tinned tomatoes, stir thoroughly, and turn down the heat so that it’s just staying hot rather than further cooking. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally (you can simmer for longer without harming it, as long as you don’t let it burn, although depending on your taste if you let it cook too long the vegetables might become overly soggy. I don’t usually time it too precisely, but if i’m serving it with rice simmer it until the rice is cooked, or if i’m serving it with something else while i wash up or some other non-cooking task). At the tomato stage you can add a splash of soy sauce, or chilli/hot pepper sauce if you like things really spicy, but as the patra itself contains a lot of spices, which the simmering allows to “soak” through the rest of the dish, i don’t usually add any other spices (which some people who hadn’t eaten patra before found hard to believe!) – with no other spices, it will be about as spicy as a mild to medium curry.
This amount serves about 4 fairly hungry people if you have some sort of carbohydrate thing with it. I think it goes best with rice, but can also be eaten with noodles or couscous.