I remember the days when I used to eat on Pattals at various religious gatherings in temples. As a kid, I was always mesmerized about how a leaf can be used to serve food.
Also, I have seen bowls that never leak any liquid. Various traditional temples offer food to devotees in these eco-friendly plates that are natural and have various health and environmental benefits.
They were slowly replaced by plastics, paper, or Thermocol made disposables but they are unhealthy for the body and also damage the mother earth.
It is a good thing that people have realized this and again have started using them. Nowadays many different types of leaf plates are available which are more durable and stylish as well as eco-friendly.
Patravali or Pattal is a traditional Indian plate made of leaves. Usually, the plate is made of Sal tree leaves, but the leaves of other trees like Banyan, Fodder, Jack fruit, etc are also common. It is still popular in traditional food offerings at temples and other religious festivals.
Southern regions of the country use Banana leaf plates to serve food. Not only banana leaves are easily available but also their large size is big enough to accommodate different food items.
How It’s Made:
8 to 10 Sal tree leaves depending upon their size are stitched using small wooden sticks.
Many women in various rural regions weave them at their homes in their spare time to earn some money.
Although they can be manually prepared, some mechanical means have been discovered to prepare them in large numbers in less time amount of time.
Many rural women are engaged in the production of these eco-friendly utensils that are used in India where festivals are never away and food offerings to devotees are an integral part of the rituals.
- Contain plant-based compounds called polyphenols epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). They are natural antioxidants that battle free radicals and prevent many health problems. The food absorbs the polyphenols from leaves and gets the benefit of the nutrition.
- Banana leaves have a wax coating which melts when hot food is served and adds a special flavor to it.
- They can be simply rinsed and are ready to use.