I was born and brought up in Gujarat. Growing up eating Gujarati homemade delicacies, my family was also a big fan of restaurants. We used to visit many vegetarian restaurants and our family favourite was always a South-Indian restaurant. We all will go gaga and drool over those Mysore masala dosas, idlis and vadas. After drooling over this yumminess, after 21 years I met Ajay (the husband). Before I met him south Indian food for me meant idli, dosa, sambhar and coconut chutney. Nothing above or beyond it. The fun fact of my life is I learnt all the Tamilian cooking just for the husband. I was a disaster to make dosas at first, but still, my husband will happily support me and eat those unshaped dosas.
Fast forward a little and I start working in Chicago after I finished my Master’s. I started living in a single-family home each floor shared by a Tamilian family. I was on the 2nd floor. Living alone, I didn’t cook much, just some things that I like mostly because I used to keep myself busy with my new job. On one fine Saturday evening, a lady drops by and introduces herself. She says “my name is Janani, I live downstairs”, tells my friend. I was not at home I guess when she came. After some time, when I come back, my friend informs me that my neighbour came to see me. So, I decided to go and say hi to her. And I ended up spending an hour at her place, isn’t that amazing?? I got connected with her right away. Day after day we started meeting and we became best friends. I used to tell her, how I want to learn south Indian food and she tells me that is simple. She very simply taught me all the basic things about running south Indian kitchen and I kept exploring and here I am. I wanted best for my husband. And I thank Janani for teaching me everything.
Chutney podi is one of the things that surprised my husband that I made it at home. He was so happy. I felt the happiest to see him so happy and proud of me. And this is how I ended up introducing myself to the Tamil kitchen. And it is awesome.
The spiced lentil powder or the chutney podi as we call it is a simple spiced powder that enlightens the idlis and dosas. Don’t have time to make chutney or sambhar, just keep this spiced lentil powder at your home and you will be ready to indulge in idli’s and dosa’s anytime you want. Let’s learn how to make this simple spice that will add life to your plate.
The recipe for this beautiful spiced lentil powder or chutney podi is very simple, easy and very quick to make. Let’s start preparing this crumbling scrumptious chutney powder.
- Oil (any oil you use) – 1 Tbsp
- Chana dal – 1/4th cup
- Urad dal- 1/4th cup
- Dry Shredded Coconut – 1/2 cup
- Dried Red Chillies – 6
- Asafoetida- a pinch
- Salt to taste
- Heat a pan on medium low flame with a thick bottom. Add oil. Now add Chana dal, Urad Dal and Coconut. Fry them until you smell that soft aroma of the dry roast.
- Once roasted, keep the roasted dals and coconut in a plate on the side.
- In the same pan, add oil again to the pan. Add asafoetida.
- Now add the 6 dry red chillies. I added 6 but you can adjust the spice level as per your taste.
- Keep the chillies aside too.
- Let everything cool down.
- In a grinder grind all of it into a fine powder. And your spiced lentil powder aka chutney podi is ready.
The other day I fried leftover idlis in this chutney podi and it tasted absolutely scrumptious and so amazing. Serve hot with some peanut chutney or tomato onion chutney.