Sunday, March 29, 2020

Idli-Dosa Podi-aka Karappu

Steaming idlis dipped in sambar served with a spoonful of ghee- tastes heavenly, right? Masala dosas served with an assortment of coconut, tomato and coriander chutneys takes the entire culinary experience to a different level, doesn't it? Well, the options of serving idli-dosas with are endless but have you tried these dishes with the podi yet? Idli-dosas tastes so good with this podi that inspite of making sambars, chutneys etc, this spicy  podi needs to make its appearance on my table every time I whip up either idlis or dosas.

Well, I am talking about the red, slightly coarse, spicy podi (dry chutney) known as milagai podi, gunpowder, simply idli-dosa podi or Karappu as we call it in our house. Karappu stands for Khara = spicy and Uppu = Salt (tikhat-meeth or namak-mirch as we say in Marathi and Hindi respectively). If you are still wondering about the combustible gun powder I mentioned above then let me clarify that it is named so for the fiery punch it packs in a small spoonful of serving.

My house always has a stock of this home-made karappu which usually lasts me for more than a month. It comes in handy for those lazy times when I am not in a mood to cook something elaborate as a sambar or even something simple like a coconut chutney to go along with idli/dosas. At such times, this Karappu is the one which comes to my rescue. Be it the early 7 am breakfast I whip up for my school-going kid or my no-leak tiffin of idli-karappu to be packed and taken on an early morning outing; it is a time-saving delicious spice mix to be had as an accompaniment.

It is to be had with a dash of sesame oil, mixed well into a thick slurry to be eaten as a chutney. Do not try to skimp on this sesame oil served on the podi - firstly, because you will end up ruining the taste  of the podi as to how it is to be eaten and secondly, you will miss on the goodness of this healthy oil.

I fell in love with the Sakthi brand of idli-dosa podi when we were in Bengaluru so much so that I had stopped making karappu at home. However, now that I am in Pune, I have resorted to the home-made version which tastes as good as the store-bought one. Not convinced? Try my recipe out to the 'T' and let me know...

Every South-Indian household has its own recipe of this podi. Some add garlic, some add peanuts; there are umpteen versions of this flavourful spice mix and here is mine, as usual - the no garlic-sattvik version as is common of my household recipes:


1 cup udid dal
0.5 cup chana dal
0.5 cup til
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs (optional)
Tamarind - 1/2 an inch flat piece (optional)
10-12 Red chillies or Chilli powder - as per the spice levels required. (Kashmiri chilli powder gives a nice deep red colour to the podi)
2 tsp Oil - to shallow fry
Salt-to taste

Shallow fry these ingredients, except tamarind, in a little bit of oil separately on a low-medium flame. Allow it to cool and grind it into a almost fine powder. If you are using chilli powder, add it towards the end to the ground podi and mix it well.  Some like this podi a bit coarse but the little fellow in my house prefers it fine :)

Hope you make this soon and enjoy it lots!

Monday, March 9, 2020

Huli Palye - A classic dal recipe from my kitchen.

Huli Palye (with Spinach and little Methi leaves)

This is another classic Madhwa Bramhin recipe from my grandma's kitchen. Simple in its preparation, it is rich in nutrients and taste. Being a sattvik recipe, its a no-onion, no-garlic recipe.

You cannot compare it with the quite popular "Dal Palak"recipe. The tempering of red chillies, curry leaves, methi seeds along with a dash of tamarind imparts a unique tempting flavour to this dal. This along with rice and a dollop of ghee or til oil is almost a complete meal in itself. Paired with a papad and a fried curd chilli, it can do wonders to your tastebuds.

Without much ado, here is the recipe:

2.5 cups chopped greens like spinach, amaranthus or methi. I used 2 cups of spinach and a 0.5 cups of methi
Toor dal - 1 cup
Thick Tamarind pulp - 1 tbsp or more as per taste
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp (optional)
Jaggery powder - 1 tsp (optional)
Water - to adjust the consistency
Salt- to taste

For Tempering:
Oil - 1.5-2 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1.5 tsp
Hing - a pinch
Methi seeds - 1 tsp (You can skip this or lessen this quantity if you are using methi leaves in this recipe)
Red chillies - 4-5 broken and the seeds midly shaken off
Curry leaves - a sprig


We will start with the tempering so that its flavours are absorbed in the dal when we boil it along with the tempering. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a kadhai and temper it with the above ingredients.
Once the tadka is ready, add the chopped greens and fry it well. Cover the kadhai with a lid for a couple of minutes. The greens will ooze water.  Uncover and fry it for a while till the leaves lose almost all its water and are stir-fried well. To this add haldi powder and the mashed dal. Mix it well.

Now to this dal, add the tamarind pulp, jaggery (optional - not added in the original recipe), chilli powder (again optional if you like it hot), little water to adjust the consistency and finally the salt. Allow it to come to a boil and simmer it well for 5 minutes.

Hulipalye is ready to be eaten with rice, papad and a fried curd chilli for an authentic experience!