Before I get into the details of what went into this Podi, I will do a short rant on what are Podis. If you are a native of Southern India or have lived there for a reasonable period of time, you would definitely be familiar with this, if not already crazily fond of this the way I am. Podi is a dry spice mix frequently used as a condiment over steamed rice, dosas, and idlis. There are numerous variants of this beautiful fragrant spice mix and infinite variations in the recipes, but basically, Podi consists any combination of dry roasted lentils, peanuts, red chilli powder and aromatic spices like coriander seeds, cumin, mustard seeds and asafoetida. Since it is dry roasted and ground, it stays unspoilt of a reasonable amount of time and hence is a preferred accompaniment to idlis and dosas while travelling.
The variant that I made last night has curry leaves as the base ingredient. Now, I am neither qualified nor knowledgeable enough to rant about the nutritional values of curry leaves, but a quick google search will tell you all that you want to know. Or, if you are lazy like me, just think of a few generic words like antioxidants, rich in iron, good for hair, skin and nails, etc. I think you get the gist. Also, this recipe solved a logistics issue for me. Now, anyone who stocks a basic Indian pantry will know how difficult it is to preserve these fragrant leaves beyond a certain period of time. And so, this recipe was God send. Okay, Kindle sent, technically speaking, but yes, essentially I mean I found at just at the right time.
Karivepillai / Karivepaaku ( Curry Leaf ) Podi – My first DIY/from scratch Podi and I am loving it! It smells good, is slightly coarser than the regular, store bought ones and took me 15 mins in total, what's not to love! The recipe is from Chandra Padmanabhan's Dakshin with a few tweaks like using the coriander seed powder instead of seeds because I did not have them at hand. Frustrated with the curry the curry leaves turning bad in the fridge, no matter how much I care for them, I finally took the plunge last night. Call it beginner's luck, but I am encouraged to try the the other podis in the book now! And next time, I will use all the ingredients whole. 😎 #homemadepodi #curryleaf #karuvepilai #diy #fromscratch #chandrapadmanabhan #dakshinthecookbook #accompaniment #diylove #spicemix #podi #chutneypodi #chutneypowder #homemademasala #southindianfare #happinessishomemade #chutneypudi #curryleafpowder
Recipe ( makes about 200 gms )
Adapted from Chandra Padmanabhan’s Dakshin
- A large bunch of curry leaves, (approximately 100-120 gms by weight), washed and airdried on kitchen towels or newspapers
- 2 tbsp of oil, ( coconut/groundnut/sesame preferably )
- 2 tbsp of Urad daal ( Split and skinned Black Lentils ),
- 2 tbsp of Chana Daal (Bengal Gram ),
- 2 tbsp of whole coriander seeds, see notes
- 1 tbsp of black peppercorns, see notes
- 2 tbsp of cumin seeds,
- 1/2 tbsp of fenugreek seeds,
- 1 tbsp of mustard seeds,
- 1 tsp of asafoetida / hing,
- 2 tbsp of powdered jaggery,
- 1 tsp of thick tamarind paste
- Salt, about 2 tbsp or adjust as per taste
- Dry roast the curry leaves in a thick bottom panned for a couple of minutes till they get slightly crisp. Remove to a plate and set aside to cool.
- In the same pan, heat the oil. Add all the dry ingredients starting with the lentils, one by one, and roast till they are fragrant and just change their color. They should not, however, get burnt. Add the jaggery and the tamarind last and roast for another minute. Turn the heat off. Remove to a plate and set aside to cool.
- Once it cools down to room temperature, grind everything to a reasonable fine powder. You may adjust the coarseness/fineness to your preference.
- Store in air tight container.
- Serve the podi, mixed with Gingelly Oil or Groundnut Oil or even Ghee, as an accompaniment to Idlis, Dosas and Plain steamed rice.
Notes: You may use powdered versions of the spices. However, it will compromise the flavor. Incase you want to give it a try with powder spices on hand, add them just before you turn the heat off. Do not over roast them if ou are using the powdered ones.