Wednesday, May 31, 2006
I am a big paruppu podi lover. To my mom's irritation, I would eat paruppu podi mixed with rice, even when she had made sambar, rasam and all the accompaniments. I still do it even when I am the cook. My most loved powder is from Ambika appalam, the store owned by Keralites. There are several branches all over Tamil Nadu and their appalams sell even in the Indian stores in US. I love their pappadam, jackfruit chips, sweet plantain chips and kai murukku. Above everything else, comes the humble paruppu podi. I get 2 Kg worth of it everytime I return from India.
What is so great about it? I don't know- may be it is the color, may be because they use dalia or puffed chana as the base or could be the the fact that they add a tadka of mustard seeds and curry leaves to the powder. I have tried making my own batch of it several times. I never reached that perfection.
But this time I got it! The secret was the addition of a little toasted coconut. Kerala and coconut are not hard to associate, right?
1 cup Dalia
6-8 red chilies (for the color I like to use Karnataka's Bedegi chiles)
3 T to 1/4 cup of coconut powder
Toast red chilies and dalia on a dry skillet until chilies crisp up and dalia gets aromatic. Add the coconut and fry until toasted slightly. If you use normal chilies, you will not get an orangey hue but more of a normal, buff color.
Powder very fine. Heat a little canola oil (a drop or so). Drop in 1 tsp mustard and then a couple of sprigs of curry leaves. When they splutter, mix with the powder. Believe me, they make a world of difference and give a great texture and bite when mixed with rice. The coconut adds complexity but you cannot taste it.
Bedegi chilies are the wrinkled, long chilies that you might find in Indian grocery stores in US. I like to use them in dishes where a great color is needed. Besides, they are not as spicy (but more fruity) as the normal ones.
Posted by Mika at 12:07 PM