Monday, February 2, 2015

Thavana Podi (Coconut-Tamarind Powder)

I hadn't heard of Thavana Podi until recently, when my MIL mentioned it... Intrigued, I asked her to describe it and she said that it uses a lot of the same ingredients as Theeyal and was a drier version with similar flavors and is usually paired with curd rice.  When my husband's aunt (G athai) visited us a few weeks later, I asked her to make it so I could observe and also note down the recipe... Apparently this is quite popular in Nagercoil and something that her mother in law would lovingly make for her often since G athai loved this podi.  She said she likes to make it tangy....

She set about roasting the coconut and gathering all the things needed for the podi while I took note of the measurements.... This tastes great with curd rice.. it has a tanginess and spiciness with the coconut flavor shining through. Instead of fresh coconut, we used dessicated coconut since that makes the process go by faster. With thanks to G athai, here's the recipe for Thavana podi...

THAVANA PODI (Coconut Tamarind Powder)

Dessicated Coconut - half cup heaped
Garlic - 8 cloves
Dried Red Chillies - 5-7 (depending on spice level, increase for a spicier version)
Black whole urad dhal - 1 tbsp (you can also use white, split)
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Tamarind - one 3 inch piece (flat), when rolled up it was the size of a small gooseberry
Coconut oil - half tsp

1) Heat coconut oil on medium in a pan and first roast coriander seeds, urad dhal and red chillies for about 4-5 minutes. 
2) Then add in half of the garlic cloves (4), curry leaves and the dried coconut and roast till coconut is dark brown (since we are using dried coconut it's easier to achieve this step quickly).  
3) Add the tamarind piece and stir for a minute more before switching off the stove. Finally add the remaining garlic cloves. 
4)Allow the mixture to cool completely and grind to a powder. Store in a clean, dry jar. 

p.s. Athai explained that the reason for adding some of the garlic cloves without frying is to lend a bit of moisture to the podi that helps the texture of the end product.

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