Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Peanut Podi (Palleela Podi)

Flavorful and spicy, peanut podi is a neat alternative to chutneys. Sprinkle few teaspoons of podi on breakfast items like upma, pongal, idly and dosa. Or, apply it on warm chapati or mix with rice. With Peanut podi ready on hand, it is easy to have decent meals during time-starved days. I used to live on jars of peanut podi during college days. Whenever busy days are ahead I make it at home too.

Peanuts, Chilli and Cumin
Peanuts, Chilli and Cumin

2 cups shelled peanuts
12- finger length dried red chilli (from Indian grocery)
1-teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt or to taste

Roast peanuts to pale brown color. Cool. Rub to remove peanut skins.
Dry roast red chilli and cumin to fragrance. Cool.

Take peanuts, red chilli and cumin in a Sumeet style mixer or in a food processor. Add salt. Pulse few times to fine sand like consistency. Store the podi in a clean, dry jar. Stays fresh for about at least a month or two.

Sometimes I also add garlic. Tastes excellent but garlic moisture reduces the shelf life of podi to a week.

Peanut Podi
Peanut Podi

From Telugu to English:
Podi = Powder

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Dried Red Chillies (Friday January 2, 2009 at 3:15 pm- permalink)
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Flavors of Life ~ Chillies and Lemons

Chillies and Lemons
Chillies and Lemons ~ Sketch by Sree
Ink and watercolor, 5″x6″

Chillies and lemons are often hung as a talisman at the entrance of shops, houses etc in India to ward off the ‘evil eye’ or drishti (as we say it).

By Sree

Flavors of Life: A variety.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Limes/Lemons, Peppers, Dried Red Chillies, Sree (Saturday May 3, 2008 at 1:00 am- permalink)
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Kobbari Kaaram


Coconut sweetness
Curry leaves aroma
Chillies divine spiciness
Chana dal and Urad dal nutty crunchiness

That is kobbari kaaram. The traditional, famous spice powder from Andhra Pradesh, India. The secret to success of this spicy powder lies in slow-roasting of ingredients to seductive gold color. As you can see, there is a lot going on in this deceptively simple spicy powder.

Some recipes make us feel defeated while also stirring in the feelings of joy. Kobbari Kaaram is one such recipe for me. It has too much amma (mother) association and attached memories to it. While standing in front of the stove, waiting for the ingredients to reach that perfect gold color, the deep longing for gentle landscape of my childhood days was too much to feel. But once I finished the preparation and started to dip the warm gheelious rice-ravva upma rounds in kobbari kaaram, I rolled back to my routine content self and began to make happy cooking plans.


Oven-Dried Coconut, Toasted Curry Leaves, Roasted Dried Chillies, Chana dal and Urad dal

Recipe:
2 cups - thinly sliced dried coconut pieces
Quarter cup each - chana dal and urad dal
20 fresh curry leaves
15 dried red chillies - Indian variety
1 teaspoon - sea salt

Break a fresh coconut. Remove the coconut from shell. Thinly slice and spread the pieces on a baking pan and bake/ovendry to pale brown color at 200 F. Or simply sun-dry the coconut pieces to golden brown, like we used to do at Nandyala.
Place an iron skillet on stove-top, on medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, reduce the heat to low and one after another, add and roast chana dal, next urad dal and finally red chillies to pale brown color. Mix frequently and take care not to black the ingredients. Remove each one to a plate. In the end, coat the skillet with a teaspoon of peanut oil. When the oil is hot, add and toast curry leaves to gold color. Remove to a plate.

Let the ingredients come down to room temperature. Both texture-wise and taste-wise, this is important. Go sit down and wait.

When they are cool enough to touch, take the coconut pieces, roasted ingredients in a Sumeet style mixie jar. Add salt and grind to fine powder. Store the kobbari kaaram in a clean glass jar. Kobbari kaaram tastes great with all types of breakfast items like upma, pongal, dosa, idly and also on stir-fried vegetables like bell peppers, potatoes, brinjals, ridge gourd and okra etc. It’s a good thing to have in the kitchen.

Kitchen Notes:
I prefer either Ballari coconut or fresh coconut for this recipe because of their superior taste.
(From Telugu to English : Kobbari=coconut, Kaaram=Chilli)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in The Essentials, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Coconut (Dry), Dried Red Chillies (Monday August 13, 2007 at 5:57 pm- permalink)
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Black-Eyed Bean Dip

Alasandalu

I had an another recipe in mind with black-eyed bean sprouts for today’s meal. But I accidentally over-cooked the beans to mush. Thus born the bean dip for rotis.

The beautiful pale red color of the dip is from chipotle chillies. I really love how the spicy chipotle perk up a recipe with smoky flavor. I have also added fragrant cumin and lively lime juice to the pureed beans. The dip may be a last minute solution to the mushed bean problem, but the result was attractive and had a great taste, similar to refried beans that they serve in Mexican restaurants.


Overcooked Black-Eyed Bean Sprouts and Black-Eyed Bean Dip

Recipe:

Precooked black-eyed bean sprouts or beans - 1 cup
Dried chipotle chillies - 2 (presoaked in warm water for about 30min)
cumin - half teaspoon
salt - half teaspoon or to taste
Lime juice -2 tablespoons or to taste

Take the chipotle chillies and cumin in a Sumeet style mixer or food processor. Pulse few minutes until the chillies are very smooth. Add the black-eyed bean sprouts, salt and lime juice. Process to fine puree. Remove to a cup and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to let the flavor develop. Serve with roti/tortillas or corn/taro root chips.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Blackeye Beans, Dried Red Chillies, Sprouts (Molakalu) (Monday August 6, 2007 at 2:48 pm- permalink)
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Chipotle Chilli Chutney

My enthusiasm for food blogging events has been going south in recent months. I am not able to muster up much energy like before. Even my beloved event JFI, featuring an ingredient that I worship (chillies) couldn’t pepper me enough. The motivation is there, but I don’t know what’s going on with me, it’s not manifesting into actual results. Well, I guess this is another food blogging phase that I have to go through.

After observing my mental struggle, my kind husband Vijay offered some help. “Tell me what to do, I will make it and will take the pictures. But in writing and publishing the results, you are on your own buddy”, he said. How can I resist such affectionate offer? So here it is, the chipotle chilli chutney for JFI: Chillies. My recipe through Vijay’s magic hands.

Chipotle Chillies, Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic
Chipotle Chillies, Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic ~ Ingredients for Chipotle Chilli Chutney

Recipe:

Chipotle chillies - 6
Cherry tomatoes - 1 pound
Garlic cloves - 6
Sea salt and cane sugar - Half teaspoon each
Peanut oil - 1 tablespoon

Soak the Chipotles:
Take chipotle chillies in a cup. Pour and cover with hot water, about half cup. Soak until pliable about 30 minutes.

Grill the Tomatoes and Garlic:
In a wide cast-iron skillet, heat the peanut oil to smoking point. Add and brown the garlic first, then add the cherry tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are lightly browned. Turn off the heat and cool completely.

Blend:
Transfer the chipotles and the water they soaked in to a Sumeet style mixer. Pulse for few minutes. Add the roasted garlic, tomatoes, salt and sugar. Blend to smooth. Remove to a clean, glass jar.

Chipotles bring not only spiciness but also a unique smoky flavor and the chutney tastes terrific with chapatis, French fries etc.


Chapatis with Tomato Dal and Chipotle Chilli Chutney ~ Our Meal Today and
My Contribution to JFI:Chilli, Hosted by Lovely Nandita of Saffron Trail

Kitchen notes:
Chipotle chillies are mature jalapenos that have been dried and smoked, can be purchased at Mexican grocery shops. Unlike the Indian variety dried red chillies, Mexican originated chipotles have a hard bark like skin. Prior soaking in water is needed for easy, smooth blending.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Tomato, Peppers, Dried Red Chillies, Jihva For Ingredients (Wednesday August 1, 2007 at 2:44 pm- permalink)
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Jeelakarra Karam (Cumin and Chillies)

Jeelakarra Karam

Jeelakarra Karam is a type of highly aromatic masala powder with cumin and chillies from Andhra Pradesh, Bharath.

Recipe:

Quarter cup - cumin
10 to 12 red chillies - small round type shown above
2 to 4 garlic cloves - roughly chopped
Quarter teaspoon - salt

Take cumin in a spice grinder and grind to fine powder. Add red chillies, garlic and salt to powdered cumin. Grind to smooth without adding water. Remove and store in a clean jar.

Dry saute style curries with brinjals, potatoes and tindora greatly benefit by the addition of flavorful and smoky Jeelakarra Karam.

Recipe source: Amma, Nandyala.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Dried Red Chillies, Herbs and Spices, Cumin (Jeelakarra) (Friday June 29, 2007 at 9:50 pm- permalink)
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Scrumptious Subjis : Chayote in Chilli Sauce (Bengaluru Vankaya Kurma)

Chayote in Chilli Sauce (Chayote Kurma)

Just a little color dabbed on the cheeks can do wonders to a pale, lifeless face. Same thing, small dose of vibrant chilli sauce can do wonders to otherwise bland, mild flavored chayote. Just add a dash of chilli and a pinch of spice. Sprinkle some tamarind juice and touch of tadka - here we go. Utterly lip-smacking yet not at all overblown. Impressively energetic but balanced with a persistent sweetness from chayote. Another traditional, savory and scrumptious sabji would be ready. We usually have this sabji with sorghum roti or with chapatis.

Cubed Chayote and Powdered Ingredients for Chilli Sauce
Cubed Chayote and Powdered Ingredients for Chilli Sauce

Recipe:

1 chayote - peel, slice to half, remove seed and dice to bite-sized cubes
1 onion - finely chopped

For chilli Sauce:
5 dried red chillies
2 tablespoons - dalia (pappulu, bhuna chana)
1 tablespoon - grated coconut (fresh or dried)
1 tablespoon each - powdered jaggery and tamarind juice
1 teaspoon - mustard seeds
½ teaspoon - cumin
¼ teaspoon each - salt and turmeric
Take all of the above and grind to smooth in a blender or spice grinder.

For popu or tadka:
1 tsp each - oil, minced garlic, curry leaves, dried red chilli pieces, cumin and mustard seeds

………

In a wide skillet, heat oil. Add and toast the popu or tadka ingredients in the order mentioned above.

When the mustard seeds start to dance, add onions and chayote cubes. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.

When the chayote starts to soften, add the powdered chilli sauce ingredients and one cup of water. Mix. Have a taste. Adjust the salt and jaggery sweetness level to your liking.

Cover and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until the chayote becomes tender and chilli sauce thickens and coats the spoon.

Serve warm with a cup of yogurt or tea on the side. Taste great with sorghum roti/chapati/naan. (Not that good with rice.)

Chayote Kurma with Naan and a Cup of Tea
Chayote Kurma with Naan and a Cup of Tea

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chana Dal-Roasted (Dalia), Dried Red Chillies, Chayote (Cho Cho) (Wednesday January 24, 2007 at 6:32 pm- permalink)
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Red Bell Pepper Chutney

Red Bell Pepper Chutney

Of all different colored bell peppers, I like the red ones. Red bell peppers are matured green bell peppers and when bell pepper ages, not only the color but the flavor also changes. They become sweet, which is a surprise. Usually maturing into red signals the more fierce kind of flavor in vegetables, but here they mellow.

This favorite chutney of mine is prepared by roasting red bell peppers, onion and dried red chillies and by blending them including peanuts, jaggery and tamarind juice. The result is one of the flavorful and easiest Bharath-inspired chutnies you will ever try. Tastes superb with all the breakfast items, like idly, dosa, upma and also with rice, chapati or as a spread and dip for snack items.

Red Bell Peppers, Onion, Garlic, Dried Red Chillies, Roasted Peanuts, Tamarind and Jaggery - Ingredients for Red Bell Pepper Chutney

Recipe:

Cut to big chunks:
2 big red bell peppers
1 medium sized onion
6-8 dried red chillies
2 garlic cloves

Roast:
Heat about 1 to 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in a skillet.
Add and roast the cut vegetables and dried red chillies on high heat. The vegetables should be very well browned and soft. Remove them from heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, Soak tamarind, and Roast Peanuts:
- Small Lime sized tamarind in half-cup of warm water for about 10 minutes. Or microwave for 30 seconds - This is to soften the tamarind, so it can grind well.
- Roast half-cup of peanuts until golden and remove skins. Store-bought un-salted, roasted peanuts are fine too.

Blend, in a blender or in a mortar using a pestle:
All the roasted vegetables
Tamarind, along with the water it soaked in.
Half cup of roasted peanuts
½ tablespoon of powdered jaggery
¼ tsp of salt or to taste
Grind them together to coarse puree, without adding any extra water.

Remove to a cup and serve with your favorite breakfast/lunch/supper items.

Red Bell Pepper Chutney and Besan Dosas
Besan Dosa and Red Bell Pepper Chutney

Recipe Source: My own creation

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Bell Pepper, Peppers, Dried Red Chillies (Tuesday June 20, 2006 at 9:21 am- permalink)
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Baby Aloo in Tamarind-Chilli Sauce (Aloo Pulusu)

We lose by generalizing everything. Unity and showing strong front is important but preserving the diversity and maintaining our own uniqueness is also equally important, I think. Indian cuisine is such a broad term. Can anyone say they know all the regional food varieties of India? I guess not. If we don’t talk about our regional cuisine, who will and how would anyone know about the difference in our cooking. I see lot of new Indian food blogs coming up everyday. Generalize to your heart’s content, but don’t be shy to highlight your regional specialties. That would make the recipe more attractive to the readers and give them the feeling they are trying out something unique, in my view.

See, for example, from India - we go to Andhra Pradesh, my home state in India. Though the general term is Andhra cuisine, there are 3 regions (Rayalaseema, Kosta and Telengana) and each region has its own specialties. Lot of diversity out there, even in one state. Example is this recipe. Cooking vegetables like potatoes etc., in tamarind-chilli sauce is the specialty of Kosta (Coastal region) of Andhra. They call this Tamarind-chilli sauce “Pulusu“. It is the base sauce for all kinds of vegetables, in that region. The saying is, “give something to kosta people, particularly the Nellore district, they would find a way to add tamarind to it”.

The ‘pulusu‘ tastes like as if ‘old western’ kind of faction war happened between tamarind and dried red chillies. To compensate the sourness of tamarind, more hot chillies are added. Unbridled war wages on between these two strong tastes and there is no mediator to calm it down. Thickening agents like coconut or peanut paste are big no or rarely used. The pacifier of course is the poor vegetable that is added. How high this war can go on, which one dominates the taste of ‘pulusu‘ - it all depends on housewife’s mood that day. Imagine sucking on a lime wedge and simultaneously eating a dried red chillie - that’s how this pulusu tastes. You are alerted so prepare it at your own risk.

Boiled Baby red potatoes, Tamarind juice, tomatoes, dried red chillies, cumin and garlic

Recipe:

8 to 10 baby potatoes
1 medium sized onion and 10 to 12 cherry tomatoes - finely chopped
For sauce:
1 cup of tamarind juice - (medium thick - home made version)
6 dried red chillies+3 garlic cloves+1 teaspoon of cumin - Make a smooth paste of them.
1/4 teaspoon of turmeric and salt to taste
Popu or tadka ingredients:(1tsp of each, cumin, mustard seeds and few curry leaves)

Boil potatoes in water, just until tender. Remove them and strip the outer skin. Prick the potatoes in multiple sites with a fork so that they can absorb the sauce.

In a big pan or kadai - heat one teaspoon of peanut oil. Do the popu or tadka (toast mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves). Saute onions and tomatoes for few minutes until they soften. Stir in red chilli paste; saute it for few minutes until it leaves the raw smell. Add the tamarind juice and another cup of water. Stir in salt and turmeric and also the pricked potatoes. Cover and simmer them for about 15 to 20 minutes on medium heat, stirring in between. Wait until the sauce reaches the consistency of thick lava. Turn off the heat, and serve the pulusu with chapatis or with rice and ghee.

Baby Potatoes in Tamarind-Chilli Sauce (urla gadda pulusu
Baby potatoes in tamarind-chilli sauce and chapatis

I’ve added a tablespoon of powdered jaggery to this curry, forgive me my dear Nellore friends and readers. I know you will sneer at me, I know it is a big no-no, adding any kind of sweetener to the curry. But my poor body won’t tolerate that kind of slow burning heat.

This is my entry to “The Spice is Right - Ancient Spices” food blog event, started and hosted by my favorite food blogger, very talented chef Barbara of Tigers and Strawberries.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Dried Red Chillies, Baby Potatoes (Wednesday April 12, 2006 at 1:25 pm- permalink)
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Pasta in Chilli, Bell Pepper and Peanut Sauce

“What Kind of Food Are You?” - I tried the fun quiz of 5 questions. I expected Indian, but I don’t think the quiz has Indian food in its list of responses. The answer was ‘Italian food’, and I was satisfied. Like Indian, I think of Italian as another no-nonsense, honest kind of food. Though here in US, a little bit over glorified. What? Have you been watching food TV (US) lately? It should be renamed ‘Italian Food TV’ with its 24-hour Italian this and Italian that programming, and its star-cooks falling over themselves proclaiming their Italian heritage. Sometimes I wonder, why am I paying money for this channel on cable, is this a foodtv or a propaganda machine for Italian cuisine. It would be understandable if majority of Americans are Italians or Italian decent, but that is not the case and further, the minority (here the minority status is determined by the skin color) means non-whites, are climbing up to almost 40%. More and more, it looks like American Food TV has decided to disregard diversity and showcase only one cuisine at the expense of others. What a sad, sad thinking!

Well, I am glad to contribute one more recipe of pasta to IMBB #22, the mother of all events and most popular one in food blogosphere, this month hosted by lovely Amy of ‘Cooking with Amy’ fame. Even though I think of my contribution an original, I am sure there is someone, somewhere already written down this version of pasta sauce. Thousands of dedicated Italian cooks, cookbooks and hundreds of fabulous food bloggers, recipe sites - millions of pasta recipes, it got to be there, somewhere. No… then I am happy to cook up millionth one recipe of pasta.:)

spaghetti, red bell pepper, Tomatoes, Roasted Peanuts, olive oil, Onions, Dried red chillies and garlic

Recipe:

Pasta: I used spaghetti, Hodgson Mills brand, whole wheat with flax seed and organic variety. Like pulao/pilaf taste depends on basmati rice, a good pasta dish needs quality pasta. So I do spend few extra bucks on a fine variety. Hodgson Mill brand without a doubt, quality products.
One fistful of spaghetti for one person - that is the measurement I use for spaghetti.

For Sauce:
1 cup of peanuts - roasted and skins removed
3 red bell peppers - deseeded, cut into big chunks
4 dried red chillies and 4 garlic cloves - halved
3 ripe, juicy tomatoes - chopped into big chunks
1 small red onion - chopped into big chunks
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tsp of each-cumin, salt and powdered jaggery/sugar
I prefer to have sauce, lots of it with my pasta, so the above quantities.

Peanut-Veggie Sauce Spaghetti in pasta sauce

Preparation:

Pasta Sauce: Roast the bell peppers, dried red chillies, tomato, onion, garlic and cumin in 1 tsp of olive oil, until they all are brown and golden. Let them cool down to room temperature.

In a food processor, first add roasted peanuts and make a fine powder of them. To it, add the roasted veggies and half teaspoon of salt. Add half cup of water and grind them into smooth paste.

In a big wide pan, heat olive oil and add the peanut-veggie paste. Add one cup of water, jaggery and salt to taste. Mix and cook covered for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat.

Pasta: While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente, usually for about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain the pasta into a colander, immediately add it to the sauce. Mix it thoroughly with pasta sauce. Cook, uncovered for about 2 minutes on low heat and serve.

The sauce can be made earlier and just before mealtime, pasta can be cooked and added. One thing I learned about pasta is, it has to be served hot, to get the best taste.
Spaghetti in Chilli-Red bell pepper- peanut sauce

Pasta in chilli-red bell pepper-peanut sauce: sweet, spicy, savory and smoky - A range of delicious flavors, all blended well together for a wholesome, hearty, filling meal ~ Our Sunday dinner and my entry to IMBB Event.

Recipe Source: My Own Creation
Tagged with: +

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Bell Pepper, Pasta, Dried Red Chillies (Monday January 30, 2006 at 8:32 am- permalink)
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Amla Pickle (Usirikaya Uragaya)

I bought a quite few amlas (usiri kayalu, Indian Gooseberry) at Toronto and I couldn’t resist making a small batch of pickle with them, following a recipe from Malathi Chandur’s cookbook - “Vantalu-Pindi Vantalu“. The pickle turned out to be hot, spicy good.

Amla, Usiri Kaya, Indian Gooseberry

Recipe:
For 15 amlas

15 clean, fresh looking, blemish free amlas (usiri kayalu)
½ cup peanut oil
¼ cup of salt and red chilli powder
¼ cup of mustard seeds - roasted & finely powdered (aava pindi)
½ tsp of asafoetida (inguva)

Preparation:

First wash the amlas and dry them using clean cloth, without any sign of moisture.

Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet and add the amlas and sauté them till they turn light brown. Remove and let them cool down to room temperature.

Heat the remaining oil in another pan to a smoking point. Remove it from heat, let it cool down to room temperature.

Add salt, red chilli powder, mustard powder and asafoetida to the roasted amlas. Mix them all with a clean, dry spoon. Pour and stir in the heated (now at room temperature) oil. Mix them all together, again with a clean dry spoon. Cover tightly and let it stew at least for two weeks. The more you wait, the tasty the pickle becomes and the normal waiting period is one month. I couldn’t wait that long.:)

Just before serving, do the popu or tadka. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan, fry red chilies, cumin and mustard seeds until they splutter, then add garlic flakes and remove from the heat. Add it to the pickle, mix thoroughly and serve with rice and dal.

Usirikaya Pacchadi, Amla Pickle

Amla Pickle (Usiri kaya Uragaya) - spicy and sour like mango pickle and quite tasty in this cold winter weather.

Recipe Source: Malathi Chandur’s Cookbook “Vantalu-Pindi Vantalu

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Dried Red Chillies, Usiri Kaya (Amla) (Tuesday January 17, 2006 at 9:43 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Idly Kaaram Podi

Idli Kaaram - Made of Roased  and Powdered -urad dal, chana dal, Red Chilli, black pepper seeds, cumin, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and tamarind,

Recipe:
½ cup Urad dal (Minapa pappu)
½ cup Chana dal (Sanaga pappu)
6 dried red chillies
6 black pepper
1 teaspoon of each - cumin, coriander seeds, mustard seeds
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of fenugreek seeds (Menthulu)
Small piece of tamarind (optional)

Toast them in one teaspoon of oil or ghee separetly or together in an iron skillet, constantly mixing. Take care not to burn them and let cool to room temperature. Powder them using a spice grinder or mixer. Store in a clean jar. Stays fresh upto 1 to 3 months.

Drizzle some melted ghee into this powder and have it with Idlis. My home state folks go crazy for this ‘Idly - kaaram podi’ combination.

Recipe Source: Attamma(MIL)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Peppers, Dried Red Chillies (Friday November 11, 2005 at 4:56 pm- permalink)
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Pappula Podi (Putnala/Bhuna Chana Powder) (Spicy Roasted Chickpea Powder)

Roasted Chickpeas, Pappulu, Putnala Pappulu, Dalia - 4 pounds for $4.99, purchased at Subji Mandi, NJ

Pappulu, Putnala pappulu or Dalia are prepared from chickpeas. Not the regular, white chickpeas but from a special variety of chickpeas specific to India and commonly sold under the name “Kala Chana or Black Chickpeas”.

The preparation of pappulu (dalia) is a fascinating process. First, the black chickpeas get soaked in water for several hours, and then after draining, chickpeas are roasted in big caldrons under controlled low fire for several hours. Until the chickpeas turn to crisp. Once the roasting process is completed, the hulls of chickpeas will be removed and each chickpea will be split into two equal pieces. This whole soaking-roasting process intensifies the chickpea flavor, and also changes them to light yellow, mildly sweet pappulu or Dalia. This process is done in special places called Bhattis. Almost every town in Andhra Pradesh would have a bhatti. People go there to buy the freshly prepared pappulu and also the puffed rice There were couple of bhattis near our home in Nandyala and we were used to buy them fresh and hot from those places.

Among all the lentil types available in an Indian store, pappulu are the only one which you can just open the packet and pop them into mouth. As kids and even now, we love to eat them as they are or mixed with murmura. They are a snack item for us, like popcorn. If you are from South India, I assume you already know the pappula taste. For those of you who don’t, you must try them at least once. They are usually sold in Indian grocery shops under the label “Dalia” in lentil section. They are really great tasting, guilt free snack.

Pappulu, Dry Red chillies, Cumin, Salt and Dry Coconut

Pappula Podi is a famous Andhra preparation. In some parts of Andhra this is also called gunpowder. We add it to season the curries and also to prepare chutneys and to spread on dosas, idly, pongali and upma. Pappula Podi not only spices but also adds a mild sweetness to the preparation. This following recipe is from my mother’s and my most valued one. If you are used to besan (gram flour) preparations, try this one instead. You will be delighted, I promise.

Pappula Podi:

1 cup - Pappulu
6 to 8 - dried red chillies, Indian variety
2 tablespoons - grated coconut or dried coconut pieces
1 tablespoon - cumin
½ teaspoon - salt or to taste
4 garlic cloves (this is optional, even without garlic this powder tastes great.)

Take pappulu, chillies, coconut, cumin, garlic and salt in a clean and dry mixer jar or food processor. Grind to fine powder. This is a dry preparation and do not add water. Store the powder in a clean, dry, airtight container. This will stay fresh as long as it remains dry.

The following are the most common ways I enjoy the Pappula Podi:

1. Add a tablespoon of Podi to fistful of cooked rice. Add a teaspoon of ghee. Mix and make small rounds. Eat.

2. Add a tablespoon of Podi to cooked rice and dal (tomato or spinach etc). Add a teaspoon of ghee. Mix and eat.

3. Prepare dosas and spread the pappula Podi on the dosa for Masala Dosa. Yum!

4. Dunk and coat the Idly, Upma and pongal morsels in Pappula Podi, and eat. My new favorite is Pappula Podi and oatmeal upma combination.

5. I also add pappula Podi to vegetable curries. Cabbage, bell pepper, green beans and Indian variety broad beans (Chikkudu kaya), the sauté style curries with these vegetables taste great spiced with pappula Podi. I usually sprinkle one tablespoon of this powder before turning off the heat.)

6. Add roasted onion, garlic and few branches of fresh cilantro to Pappula Podi, along with about half glass of water. Grind to smooth to make an instant chutney.

Pappula Podi (Spicy Roasted Chickpea powder, Putnala pappula powder, Dalia Powder)
Pappula Podi

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Chana Dal-Roasted (Dalia), Dried Red Chillies (Thursday July 7, 2005 at 5:53 pm- permalink)
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Red chilli garlic powder

Pure fire.

Garlic-Chilli Powder

My Mother in law sent me this powder. I tried to make the powder here, but the garlic available in US markets is too moist and mild, lack the sharp burning taste of Indian variety.

Few garlic cloves, lots of dried red chillies and salt pounded in a stone mortar into fine powder, adding just one teaspoon gives a kick to bland vegetable curries. Rice, dal and ghee mixed together with this powder, that’s home and comfort food to me.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in The Essentials, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Peppers, Dried Red Chillies (Friday June 3, 2005 at 11:05 am- permalink)
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