There’s a nip in the air today! California had been raining terribly for the past few days and weather turned better now. I was reminded of the Indian monsoon and I was sure that every Chennaite will be enjoying the pleasant weather. This is the season when my achi makes the yummy spicy “Thengai Podi” , a condiment with fresh coconut. She makes this in a really bulk quantity for all of us. Since its my favourite for rice, dosa or idly and since I am her most favorite grand daughter, I get few extra packets too! (wink). Everyone in my house knows this and hence nobody really questions her for being partial to me always!
The rattling of the kadai…
Tthe sizzling sound of the mustard seeds and urad dhal …
Wonderfully synchronizing shredding coconut beats in aruva manai (a South Indian kitchen tool used for chopping vegetables)!!!!
A beautiful symphony will be created at the kitchen during its making.This dish brings in a lot of nostalgia to me.
We used to run around the kitchen every now and then to have few spoons of this podi and I remember my achi screaming from the verandah “Don’t use wet spoons” “Don’t use your hands to take it” “Close the lid airtight”. It tastes that tempting and delicious . I am sure anyone will be become an addict to it once it titillates your taste buds.
A simple bowl of really hot steamy rice dressed with a dash of home made ghee and few large spoons of my achi’s flavorful thengai podi is the perfect food for the season. The simple grated coconut is made more appealing to the palate with ground dry red chillies and urad dhal. The tamarind adds a magical tanginess to the entire dish perfectly. I tried to recreate the magic in my kitchen today and I did manage to be successful :-). The aromas of mixed spices filled the January air and I am waiting to taste it. My podi looked gorgeous and I am sure it tasted like my achi’s.
SOUTH INDIAN THENGAI PODI RECIPE
Source: My achi
Yields: 1-2 cups
- 1½ cup fresh grated coconut
- 6 dry red chillies
- 3 tablespoon urad dhal
- 1/2 – 1 tsp asafoetida
- 1 amla (gooseberry) size or 1/2 lemon size tamarind
- 3-4 tsp mustard seeds
- 2-3 tablespoon oil
- Dry fry the grated coconut in a heated kadai for 5-10minutes. Cook them till they become dry. Remove and cool it.
- Add little oil to the same kadai and sauté the dry red chilly for 2-3minutes. Then add the urad dhal and asafoetida. Cook for 2-3minutes.
- Add the tamarind to it and sauté them for about a minute.Remove them and cool it. Combine the dry fried coconuts to it and grind to a dry powder. Don’t add water to grind. Add salt to taste.
- Simultaneously,add the remaining oil to the same kadai. Once they get heated up, add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the ground powder to it. Mix thoroughly and adjust salt.
The mouth-watering “thengai podi” is ready. Serve with hot rice and ghee/sesame oil. Enjoy!