Watch the video on how to make jackfruit leaves basket here.
Jackfruit leaves are weaved into tiny baskets to steam idlis in them. These jackfruit leaves baskets are then filled with idli batter and are steamed to make hittu/khotto/khotte kadubu.
Idlis are steamed in jackfruit leaves for any special occasion, festivals in Konkani homes. These idlis made in jackfruit leaves are called khotto, hittu in Konkani and khotte kadubu in Kannada. Khotte are a very popular breakfast in Udupi, Mangalore, Kundapur regions of Karnataka. These idlis have a nice smell and taste from the jackfruit leaves and it also saves you time and effort involved in cleaning the idli moulds. :-)
These jackfruit leaves basket are used to steam idlis, horse gram idlis and spicy idlis for lunch called as sanna khotto in Konkani.
24 jackfruit leaves - makes 6 khotto, each basket needs 4 jackfruit leaves
Sticks - coconut leaves petioles or bamboo sticks or anything similar to them
Weaving time: 10 - 20 minutes depending on your expertise
Steps to weave a jackfruit leaf basket: (called as khotto topuche in Konkani)
Wash the jackfruit leaves well and dry them using a cloth. Jackfruit leaves are called as ponsa paan or khotte paan in Konkani.
Take 4 equal sized freshly plucked jackfruit leaves. If the leaves are dried they tend to tear off while weaving baskets and later on you’ll have baskets with holes. Batter then tends to drip out of them and makes your steamer messy.
Keep 2 jackfruit leaves facing each other and hold them together at their tips. Seal them together using a stick like in the picture below:
If you seal the leaves at the tips then you get spacious baskets or else you get tiny baskets. The size of the leaves also determines the size of the baskets you make. Tiny leaves make tiny baskets. Bigger leaves make bigger baskets.
If the sticks you use are too sturdy then it gets difficult to weave these baskets with them. They tend to tear off the delicate leaves. If the sticks are too thin and aren't strong enough then also you can't weave baskets with them as the sticks will tend to break off.
Keep another jackfruit leaf above the 2 sealed jackfruit leaves like in the picture below and seal them together.
Then keep the fourth jackfruit leaf and seal it. Four leaves joined together is called as pathravali in Konkani.
The other side looks like this:
Then fold the end of 2 jackfruit leaves to make a pocket. Fold all the leaves together like in this video to have a jackfruit leaves basket.
After the jackfruit leaves basket is weaved, make sure there aren’t any holes in the sides and on the bottom. Then the baskets will hold the batter in them. Tiny holes will make your steamer messy if the batter oozes out of them.
Similarly weave other jackfruit leaves to make baskets (khotto in Konkani, khotte in Kannada) and they are ready to be used to steam idlis.
The top of the jackfruit leaf basket should be narrow. If it's wide open then there are chances that the jackfruit leaves baskets won't stand steady once they are filled with batter and are placed in the steamer. They'll then tend to fall off if they aren't packed tightly inside your steamer.
When you fill these jackfruit leaves baskets with batter, fold one of the leaf outwards like in the picture above to get a wide enough opening to fill batter into these baskets.
Once the idlis are steamed in them, allow the idlis to cool for a minute to avoid the idli from breaking into pieces.
Then peel off the leaves one by one to remove out the steamed idlis.
Enjoy them steaming hot!
Traditionally women weave these jackfruit leaves baskets and then wash them. They then air dry them for few hours upside down so that there's no water remaining in the baskets. If there's any water remaining, it tends to dilute the batter. Personally I prefer to wash the leaves beforehand and wipe them dry to avoid all the trouble.