Sambar/Kootu/Kari Podi

A South Indian Spice Blend

First, 50 followers on WordPress !! When I started writing here, I had no idea how to even navigate WordPress! Thank you…each one of you for the follow. I am completely humbled and thoroughly elated !

Secondly, I must read up more on WordPress…there are so many wonderful people sharing some amazing things like food, art, poetry etc.,. One day soon,fingers crossed. With online school it has been a bit of an adjustment and also my wifi time has reduced considerably so that the children can Zoom on ! First World problems..sigh !

Back to the recipe on hand ! Today I take you HOME with me…my home cuisine…my native cuisine…from the Rice Bowl of Southern India…the Thanjavur/Tanjore district❤️! A piece of my heart will always be in my native place. So, here we go !!

Look for Thanjavur – that is home !

Tamil Nadu’s rich agricultural set up contributes to the variety in the cuisine. This recipe is from the Tanjore district. The Tamil cuisine is rich in flavor, uses certain spices that make it unique to this region and the vegetables used are usually grown in that region. This region of Tamil Nadu predominantly consists of fertile red soil making it ideal to grow pretty much anything …jackfruit ,cashewnut, paddy, millets, peanuts, sugarcane, etc..I can go on and on !

Like I have mentioned before I grew up mostly on a Saatvik Diet – No onion No garlic. The diet consists of food like Sambar, Rasam, Kootu, Kari, Sundal, Kuzhambu, etc. Rice is the primary grain since it grows in abundance here. But the rice was not stripped of all its nutrients. We ate hand pounded rice, parboiled rice, beaten rice (aval), puffed rice(pori), etc with a whole array of vegetable dishes on the side. Lentils brought in protein and of course coconut and other indigenous nuts the good fats. Sesame oil and Groundnut Oil were commonly used in cooking and dairy played a huge role in the form of milk, yogurt, buttermilk, butter and ghee.

So much prosperity! Hard working farmers and acres and acres of agricultural lands, rich in crops…is a sight to behold when driving along the freeways off these small villages and towns. I am hit with an avalanche of wonderful memories as I write this and it is a big challenge to be concise and stick to the point!!

Kootu Podi

SO..finally getting on to the recipe….the quantities listed here are a basic guideline, as in any home cooking, go with your gut and your family’s taste preferences. Also….make this in a large batch and store or make just a little for one time..works either way. My mother makes fresh almost every time and my mother-in-law makes a bigger batch and stores it. Leave it in your pantry in an airtight glass jar ( will stay fresh for at least 10 to 12 days) or refrigerate it ( will stay fresh for upto 3 to 4 weeks). I make a big batch and store half in my pantry and half in my freezer.

Prep Time : 5 minutesCook time : 20 minutes
Spice Level : 🌶🌶Ease Level : 😃
Makes about 700 gramsCondiments

Recipe : Kootu / Kari Podi

Ingredients :

  1. Coriander seeds / Daniya / kothhamalli vidhai – 1 cup
  2. Split Garbanzo Dal / Chana Dal / kadalai paruppu – 2/3
  3. Split Black dal / Urad Dal / uluthham paruppu – 2 tablespoon
  4. Black Peppercorns / kali mirch/ milagu – 1 tablespoon
  5. Cumin seeds /jeera/ jeeragam – 1 teaspoon
  6. Fenugreek seeds / methi dana / vendhayam – 1/2 teaspoon
  7. Medium spicy dry red chilis /lal mirch/ vathha milagai – 15 to 20
  8. Mildly spicy dry red chili / byadagi mirchi / milagai – 10

How To :

  1. Best way to get a uniform roast on these spices is to use either a good stainless steel wok/skillet or a cast iron skillet.
  2. Roasting on medium low heat makes sure we don’t burn them.
  3. Roast them, let cool, grind to a slightly coarse powder, again let cool (in case the grinding heats up the mixture) and store in airtight glass jars.
  4. You can roast them all in one go, but if you have the time do it one by one. Be careful not to over roast the fenugreek seeds, they can turn bitter.
  5. Dry roast or add a drop of neutral flavored oil and roast, your choice.
  6. Add as many chilis as you want, make it mild, medium or spicy.
  7. Keep tossing / stirring the spices around in the skillet for uniform roasting.

This spice powder goes well with stir fries and warm lentil/ bean salads called sundal. I will post those recipes asap as well. Thank you.

I hope you try this and like it as much as we do. Thank you for stopping by!

Do check out this Brown chickpea sundal recipe, you can use white chickpeas / garbanzo beans instead

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