A unique culinary delight of South Indian cuisines is the Podi, a dry spice-mix (powder), where a combination of spices, lentils, herbs or leaves are roasted in oil and ground to make a crumbly powder. These spice mixes or podis are eaten as an accompaniment to South Indian tiffins or breakfast dishes such as dosas, idlis and also mixed with hot steamed rice and ghee or oil.
Traditionally podis are hand pounded with each home having its own variations to the innumerable varieties of spice mixes, in terms of the quantity and type of ingredients used in preparing them and the flavor of each of these podis differing from home to home. Almost all traditional South Indian kitchens store atleast 2-3 varieties of homemade podis in dabbas or bottles, as these podis have a shelf life of more than four to eight weeks.
Simple to make, aromatic, packed with proteins, easy on the stomach and tasty, podis are an essential accompaniment and make a traditional vegetarian thali (meal) or South Indian tiffin complete.
Todayâ€™s recipe is Endu Kobbari Podi or dry coconut spice mix powder, a combination of lentils, dry red chillis , garlic and dry coconut which are roasted in oil till the aromas are released and ground to make a fine powder. This podi has a strong nutty flavor with a subtle spice taste and a hint of sweetness due to the red chillis and coconut and makes a great accompaniment to dosas and idlis.
Endu Kobbari Podi â€“ Dry Coconut-Spices Powder Recipe
Recipe source: Amma
Preparation: 20-25 minutes
Makes approx 1 1/2 to 2 cups of podi
Cuisine: South Indian
1 tsp oil/ghee for roasting the dals and coconut
1/2 cup black gram dal (minappapu)
1/2 cup bengal gram dal (senaga pappu)
8-10 dried red chillies, tear into two and de-seed (adjust to suit your spice level)
half a coconut, dried, grated or finely sliced
8-10 garlic cloves
salt to taste
1 Grate the dried coconut or slice it into thin pieces as shown in the picture.
2 Heat a tsp of oil in a heavy bottomed vessel and roast the dals and dry red chillis in a pan on low heat till light brown and the dals release their flavor. Remove and cool.
3 In the same vessel add the grated or sliced coconut pieces and roast on low heat for 3-4 minutes. Dont add any more oil to roast the coconut pieces.
4 Once the dals, red chillis and coconut pieces are cool, place them along with garlic cloves and salt in a blender and grind to make a powder of a crumbly consistency.
5 Store in an air tight container.
Its not necessary that the dried coconut needs to be roasted, it can be ground directly along with dals without being roasted also. If you want the nutty flavor of dals to overpower the coconut taste, reduce the quantity of dried coconut and slightly increase the quantity of dals and vice-versa. Adjust the ingredients according to your taste.
There are many variations to the kobbari podi. One of the variations is, add some tamarind to the above ingredients, about the size of a gooseberry to get that tangy flavor. Add the tamarind at the time of grinding the ingredients.
Always grind the ingredients only after they are completely cool, otherwise they will a form a lump like appearence and will not form the desired powder consistency if ground when still hot.
Always store in dry air tight bottles and always keep a seperate dry spoon for each podi and store in a moisture-free area.
Podis are best consumed within 3-4 weeks of preparation, as they dont retain the freshness after a month or so.