Skip to main content

What's in a Podi



I have a notebook full of recipes. It's tattered, falling out at the edges which tells me I started hoarding recipes early, pretty much before high school. There are recipes from magazines, from cookbooks I borrowed from library. I've even pasted recipes that come at the back of certain packages. Then there's a second notebook. This has to be somewhere from the end of my college years. I can't fathom how I got to be so organized, but I went back and added page numbers to both the notebooks and created an index, neatly split into recipe types and cuisines.

This second notebook has more "exotic" stuff from the first Jamie Oliver my library bought intertwined with Sanjeev Kapoor recipes. Then, because this notebook went travelling with me when I moved away from home, it has my first recipes copied from roommates and new friends.

One such recipe is podi, known affectionately as gunpowder. I am pretty sure podi means a generic chutney and comes in several forms, but my friend introduced it to me as this spicy version you mix with oil and eat with your idlis. Since then, no matter how many other recipes I've seen, this is the podi I make every single time I am in the risk of running out of my stock.

You heat a fry pan and roast a cup of chana dal in 1/2 tsp oil. Turn it out of the pan, then heat another 1/2 tsp oil and roast 3/4 cup split (white) urad dal. Mix a marble sized ball of tamarind (with no seeds or fibers), a tsp of hing, 4 tsp of chilli powder and salt to taste. Roast for a minute in just a hint of oil. You now have three plates of roasted stuff cooling away. Grind all three coarsely but separately, then mix to form your gunpowder.

Next time you make idlis, heap a tbsp of podi on your plate. Make a well in the center and add a couple of tsp of sesame oil. Mix to form a paste. Dip your idlis for the ultimate taste experience. But go easy on how much you eat in a go. After all, this isn't called gunpowder for no reason.

Comments

notyet100 said…
its my sisters fav,..thnks for the recipe
Anonymous said…
Try it with Toor dal.. it tastes even closer to the authentic chutney :)
Unknown said…
Ooh I love this. Eaten it many times at a restaurant when I was younger, can't rememeber it's name though. It was delicious :D
Srivalli said…
There is nothing to replace this gunpowder..:)..yeah I add toor dal too..but then there are million variations!..great to know about your notebooks simmy..how nice..
Unknown said…
Ya I remember eating it too
Shanky said…
"podi" merely means powder, much like pesto merely means paste...

Popular posts from this blog

Healthy Spinach Rice for Microwave Potluck Party

Is it really two years that Srivalli has been running her innovative microwave cooking event. She's prompted me to try my microwave for more than just heating several times. Just like last year, Srivalli celebrates the event anniversary with a potluck party. I took a dessert to the party last time around, but this time I was rooting for something healthier. I turned to last year's roundup, and there was this spinach rice. Valli, hope you don't mind getting the same dish on the menu again.

To make spinach rice, wash and soak 1/2 cup rice. In a microwave safe dish, heat a tsp of ghee for 30 seconds. Add 5-6 peppercorns and heat for another 10 seconds. Now add a small onion, chopped finely and microwave for another 30 seconds. Add a cup of finely chopped spinach, 1/2 a tsp of garam masala and another 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix and cook for 2-3 minutes until the spinach wilts. Add rice to the bowl, and a cup of water then pop it back in the microwave for 5 minutes. Bring it out and…

Tales of A Female Nomad

This month, our book club goes on a nomadic tour. We traveled with Rita Golden Gelman, a writer who sold everything she owned after the shock of a divorce and became a nomad. Not a tourist, because Rita stays away from everything that a tourist does and instead, tries to live the lives of people she visits.

From Mexico to Israel to Galapago Islands, Rita goes the way least traveled, always preferring to stay as a boarder with natives. And sometimes, going to places not even locals will go, places so secluded yet beautiful that Rita's description takes your breath away, urges you to become a nomad yourself.

Yet even nomads sometimes find their roots. Rita found hers in Bali where she spent eight years. Starting as a boarder with a prince, she eventually became a part of the family. I instantly knew I wanted to cook something Indonesian. I picked Nasi Goreng, the Indonesian fried rice.



There are as many recipes for Nasi Goreng as there are cooks. Some use tomatoes, others tamarind.…

The Bread Whisperer

What do an electrical engineer, a monk and an IT trainer have in common? These are all the things Abhilash was before he turned his attention to bread baking. Not the one to pick an easy path, Abhilash started with the most temperamental of breads - the sourdough - as his baking adventure. At first, he was baking these loaves for himself. Accolades from friends and family quickly followed and much to the delight of this writer, he turned his passion into a full time career six months back.

For the uninitiated, a sourdough bread is made by fermenting the dough with naturally occurring yeast, making it harder to perfect than the bread made with commercial yeast. The bread's signature tang and the open crumb, with lots of holes, is only made better with a high hydration dough that is super tricky to master. While extremely popular around the world, good sourdough is an elusive commodity in Mumbai and there are only a handful of bakers I would trust when I am looking for bread.

Thoro…