Chutney powder is a beloved condiment in South India, known by many names (chutney pudi or podi, even gun powder) and appearing in many forms (peanut, garlic, chilli, methi, til, dals). It finds its key spot on the breakfast plate, with dosa, idli, paddu, upma etc., as well as at lunch, to be eaten with hot rice and ghee. Every community boasts of a distinct variety of chutney powder, scaling the heat and spice up or down, mixing in a new element like coconut (desiccated) or dry fruits (dates) even.
It has been a staple for years in our families, and in fact, has served its purpose at its full potential when, for instance, an illness had crept in and the taste buds craved something with a zing. We would even sprinkle some on hot buttered toast sometimes. It is known to have been the only saving grace for farmers and labourers, who couldn’t afford much more than rice or ragi balls on some days as they strove to make meals out of scraps of vegetables and bits of dried meat.
With a little bit of ingenuity, one can amp up the nutritive value of this ubiquitous condiment today, by adding flax seeds, moringa leaves, and the like. Here’s a variant that brings in the high iron and fiber content of curry leaves. It’s a favourite with us and it doesn’t last long!
Curry Leaves Chutney Powder
- 2 tablespoons chana dal
- 2 tablespoons urad dal
- 1 tablespoon moong dal
- 1 tablespoon toor dal
- 2 red chilies
- 1/4 teaspoon methi
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup peanuts
- 1 cup cleaned curry leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon tamarind powder
- A pinch of hing/ asafetida
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon jaggery powder
- In a pan, dry roast the dals first until they turn light brown, set aside in a tray.
- Roast the red chilies, methi, coriander seeds and pepper, set aside with the dals.
- Fry the peanuts until brown and set aside – you can remove the skins once the peanuts are slightly cool or let them be.
- Roast the curry leaves until they turn crisp, set aside with the rest of the ingredients.
- Once cool, grind the roasted ingredients with the tamarind powder, hing, salt and jaggery.
- Let it cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
- This powder can be stored for up to 4 weeks in a clean, airtight container.
Note: You could also add 1 tablespoon of lightly roasted desiccated coconut powder to this – but the shelf life will be considerably reduced. Another variation is to add roasted garlic – but you’ll have to eliminate the hing/ asafoetida in that case.