Types Of Colocasia Used In Konkani Cuisine (Alva Paan)

Types Of Colocasia Used In Konkani Cuisine (Alva Paan)

A variety of colocasia plants are used in Konkani cooking. All along the western ghats and coastal Karnataka we see a variety of colocasia plants. Some are available in abundance throughout the year, while some are available in abundance only during the monsoons.

With onset of monsoon, colocasia plants grow in abundance all along coastal Karnataka. All varieties of colocasia grow like weeds all around. These varieties of colocasia available along coastal Karnataka and that are used in Konkani cooking are listed below. The difference in texture, thickness of the leaves & stems of different varieties of colocasia which make them suitable for particular type of dish and for particular type of cooking.

Most common varieties of colocasia used in Konkani cooking in Udupi, Mangalore, Kundapur regions are:

  1. Pandalva paan in Konkani
  2. Tere paan in Konkani
  3. Marvala paan in Konkani
  4. Bombay alvo in Konkani 
  5. Chitte paan in Konkani 

Konkani’s have been using this family of plants for colocasia corms, colocasia leaves, colocasia stems over centuries now. Konkani's have adored colocasia unlike any other veggie & come up with such delicious recipes. They have come up with wonderful ways to use every part of colocasia to make a variety of delicacies. 

If there’s one thing that can drive the foodie in Konkani’s crazy, that’s luscious colocasia plants, called as alva paan in Konkani. On seeing colocasia plants, we have a great urge to make some delectable, spicy pathrado using colocasia leaves. Soft, steaming hot pathrode (colocasia leaves pinwheels) with loads of coconut oil on top are a real treat!! Konkani’s love for pathrado and colocasia leaves is undescribable! Pathrado is truly the KING of Konkani cuisine.

We also make a number of other delicacies using:

1. Colocasia leaves (alva paan in Konkani)

  • Alva panna sanna khotto - spicy rice idlis with colocasia leaves.
  • Alva panna pathrado/sijel pathrado - colocasia leaves pinwheels.
  • Alva panna gojju - colocasia leaves side dish.
  • Alvati - a delicious Konkani curry with colocasia leaves.
  • Bhajil pathrado - shallow fried colocasia leaves pinwheels.
  • Talel pathrado - deep fried colocasia leaves pinwheels.
  • Alva panna ganti sukke - a spicy side dish made using knots of colocasia leaves with jackfruit seeds and field marrow. 
  • Alva panna bhutti - a spicy, dry, side dish made using colocasia leaves.
  • Alva panna ambado - Spicy, colocasia leaves fritters.
  • Alva panna pathrade upakari/usli - a stir of colocasia leaves pinwheels.
  • Pathrade gashi - colocasia leaves pinwheels in a spicy coconut curry.
  • Colocasia leaves are used in coconut curries with chickpeas. Called as chane, alva panna randayi/gashi in Konkani. 

2. Colocasia stems (Alva panna dentu in Konkani)

Tender and mature colocasia stems are used to make:

  • Gajbaje ambat - colocasia stems are used in a spicy coconut curry along with other veggies. Colocasia stems are used along with other veggies in curries as they get too soft & lose their texture on cooking. They can't be used to make curries on their own.
  • Stir fry with colocasia stems & hog plums, called as alva panna denti upkari in Konkani.
  • Cooked colocasia stems in a coconut based side dish called as sasam in Konkani.
  • Cooked colacasia stems in a spicy, dry, side dish, called as alva panna denti sukke in Konkani.

3. Colocasia tubers/corms (maddi in Konkani)

  • Maddi phodi - colocasia tuber shallow fried and deep fried to make delicious fritters.
  • Maddi mand - colocasia tuber chips.
  • Maddi sukke/gona - a spicy, dry, side dish made using colocasia tubers.
  • Maddi tarmbut - spicy pickle made with shallow fried colocasia tuber.
  • Maddi koot - shallow fried colocasia tuber in a spicy coconut chutney.

4. Colocasia plant roots are also used to make spicy side dishes called as alva mula sukke or alva ganti sukke or kal alva ganti sukke in Konkani.

There are certain tips you need to follow while you forage for colocasia leaves and cook colocasia leaves & stems. Read them here.

Type 1 colocasia: Pandalva paan in Konkani

Scientific name: Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott


  1. This variety of colocasia has heart shaped colocasia leaves with green stems.
  2. This type of colocasia is seen throughout the year. 
  3. It grows in abundance in shady, damp places.
  4. This type of colocasia has soft leaves and you can use this variety of colocasia leaves to make any colocasia leaf dish.
  5. These colocasia leaves get super soft on cooking and a pleasure to eat on cooking. 
  6. This variety doesn't develop much veins, so you don't have to worry much about deveining the leaves before cooking them.

Dishes you can make using this variety of colocasia: 

Colcoasia leaves of this variety are perfect for making:

  1. Pathrado (sijel pathrado in Konkani)
  2. Alva panna gojju
  3. Shallow fried pathrado
  4. Alva panna ganti sukke

Type 2 colocasia: Tere paan in Konkani

Scientific name: Colocasia esculenta


  1. This variety of colocasia grows only in monsoon. They grow in abundance all around with the onset of monsoon.
  2. This variety of colocasia has elongated heart shaped leaves. 
  3. This variety of colocasia has the most tender and super soft colocasia leaves.
  4. These colocasia leaves cook fast and get super soft on cooking.
  5. Colocasia leaves of this variety are the best to be used in any colocasia dish.
  6. This variety of colocasia leaves are a real treat to eat when are cooked.
  7. This variety doesn't develop thick, hard veins at all, so you don't have to worry much about deveining the leaves before cooking.

Dishes you can make using this variety of colocasia: 

Colcoasia leaves of this variety are perfect for making:

  1. Alvati
  2. Pathrado
  3. Alva panna gojju
  4. Alva panna ganti sukke

Type 3 colocasia: Marvala paan in Konkani


  1. This variety of colocasia grows on trees. Hence, they are also called as rook alva paan in Konkani.
  2. This variety of colocasia grows only during the monsoon season. As this variety of colocasia is seasonal, they are pretty much sort after by the Konkani community.
  3. The leaves of this variety of colocasia are thick, dark green in colour, with light to dark pink pigmentation on the back of the leaves.

Dishes you can make with this variety of colocasia: 

  1. We make crispy, delicious, deep fried pathrado using this variety of colocasia leaves. Deep fried pathrado are amazingly delectable. And these thick colocasia leaves are perfect for deep frying.
  2. We Konkanis love steamed pathrado made from colocasia leaves of this variety. 

Type 4 colocasia: Bombay alvo in Konkani


  1. Bombay alvo is a variety of colocasia that are available throughout the year.
  2. This variety of colocasia has heart shaped leaves with a thin demarcation on the sides of the leaves. 
  3. The leaves of this variety of colocasia are thick hence they aren't best suited to make dishes like alva panna ganti sukke, alvati etc. 
  4. This variety colocasia leaves require proper cooking.

This variety of colocasia grows as two varieties: the white stemed and the black stemed colocasia plants.

White stemed colocasia plants:

The colocasia variety with white stems are called dhavi bombay alvo or dhavi bombay alva paan in Konkani. Pictures are below:

Black stemed colocasia plants:

This variety of colocasia with black stems are called kali bombay alva paan or kali bombay alvo in Konkani. Notice the colour of the stem in the pictures below:

Dishes you can make with the above varieties of colocasia: 

  1. This variety of colocasia plants have thick stems that are used in curries like gajbaje ambat.

Colocasia leaves of this variety are used to make:

  1. Steamed pathrode
  2. Alva panna gojju  

Type 5 colocasia: Chitte paan in Konkani

Scientific name: Caladium bicolor

Chitte paan is the Konkani name for pigmented colocasia leaves. They come in different colours and varieties.

You'll see a few different varities of Calladiums here.


  1. Leaves of this variety get a little rubbery on cooking.

Dishes you can make with this variety:

  1. This variety leaves are used to make steamed pathrado, pan fried pathrado.


There are varieties of colocasia whose leaves aren't used in Konkani cooking, but are said to be used in cooking in other parts of India. They are:

Elephant ears: The huge colocasia leaves of this variety aren't used in Konkani cooking.

Swamp Taro:

Scientific name: Cyrtosperma chamissonis

This variety comes with huge leaves and these varities give rise to colocasia tubers underground.

Note: The scientific names have been referred from http://indiabiodiversity.org/species/show/229293. That site has all necessary info with respect to the geography, growth conditions for colocasia. Intrested folks take a look. Do let me know if there's any mistake with respect to my identification. Please let me know if there's a mistake in the scientific names mentioned.

Tags: colocasia, alva paan, taro plants, colocasia leaves, types of colocasia, Konkani cooking, Konkani cuisine, Konkani recipes with colocasia.