June 15, 2010

Idicha Chammanthi Podi (or Roasted Coconut chutney)

Most Indian cusines have a whole range of pickles and chutneys that are an essential part of the full-course meal. Chammanthi Podi (meaning chutney powder) is one that you will find in most of the Keralite kitchens. It is a traditonal accompaniment to rice preparations, esp. curd rice. Since it is basically dry roasted coconut with spices, it stays fresh for even upto 3 months. I noted this recipe from my sister-in-law, Rani, during her stay with us in Bangalore. She says that cutting the shallots (or chomnaulli) in half, adds an extra punch to the flavor of the roasted Podi. Enjoy!

Coconut - 4 medium size, grated
Dry red chillies - 15
Shallots (chomnaulli) - 1 cup, cut in halves
Peppercorns (whole) - 2 tsp
Ginger - 1" piece
Curry leaves - a handful
Tamarind - size that of a small lemon
Salt to taste

In a hot pan, roast all ingredients except tamarind and salt. Fry them on a medium flame till the coconut is brown in colour. Keep aside until it is cool.  Dry grind these ingredients in a mixie/food processor. When coarsely ground, add the tamarind and salt. Grind until well-mixed. Store in an air-tight container, in a cool, dry place.

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