Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Most summer holidays through my school years, were spent at our maternal grand parents' home in Gobichettipalayam. As was the case then in many Tambram families, it was lunch at 10 AM in that household too. Breakfast was unheard of. But the children were always fed left over rice at around 8 AM. They used to cook extra rice in the night and keep it over for us to eat with curd. Being summer curd rice was mandatory. To go with the curd rice there would be pickles and milagai gojju or thengai podi.
As my grandfather would perform an elaborate pooja every morning, whatever was cooked that day was kept for neivedhyam (offering). Hence we were not allowed to partake any of the food being freshly cooked just then. We would eat that for our mid day meal, a full course with vegetables, sambhar and rasam and all.
We were of course, allowed to snack in between on a whole mango or some fresh nungu or some fruit. Biscuits and candies were strictly not to be had.
We would grudgingly eat the meal in the morning because, we always equated that to leftovers. Little did we know that it was meant to be. The many pickles that will be available might be lime, vadu maanga, maagani kizhangu, dry narthangai etc. giving you plenty to choose from. The thengai podi can be had with plain rice drizzled with some oil or as a side for any rice dish too. I favoured this podi to oorgai. The same is true even to date.
1 &1/2 cup freshly grated coconut (Ensure that the coconut is ripe)
10-12 dry red chillis
1 table spoon channa dhal
1 tablespoon urad dhal
1 teaspoon asafoetida powder
1 small marble size tamarind
2 teaspoons oil
2 heaped teaspoons sea salt (adjust as required)
A ripe coconut will be best to prepare this. It ensures shelf life of about a week to 9 days at room temperature.
Scrape the coconut and obtain evenly grated coconut.
Traditional coconut scraper
Heat the oil in a pan and roast the two dhals separately until golden brown.
Remove them from the pan and roast the red chillis, tamarind and the salt.
Next on a low fire, roast the coconut scrapes until they are evenly light brown and aromatic.
Allow all of the above to cool.
Transfer the roasted dhals, spices and the asafoetida powder to the jar of a spice grinder.
Pulse for a few seconds and add the coconut to the jar. Grind to a coarse but combined powder.
Remove from the jar, allow to come to room temperature and transfer to clean, airtight storing jars.
Enjoy with rice.