Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nuvvula Podi, Ellu Podi - Andhra Food Series

Andhra food is replete with different kinds of powders or podis. I have not seen this variety of podis in any other cuisine of India. It is eaten as the first course mixed with hot, fresh off the stove steamed rice and a dollop of home made ghee. First course mainly because the plate is still dry and one has not yet added any wet, gravy like item yet. This helps in keeping the podi-rice combination from getting soggy.
Podi is almost an instant food. Combined with rice, it is an instant meal. It is made with various dals found in most Indian pantries and flavored with red chillies and asafoetida. Different proportions of dals, chillis etc can be roasted, mixed and ground to make various podis. There are as many permutations and combinations of dals, chillis and other condiments as there are cooks. Each one will have their own personal favorites always in stock ready.

The variety of podis served up in Andhra is simply mind boggling. You have Idli podi (mixed dals), kandi podi (just toor dal), pesara podi (moong dal), karvepaku podi ( podi made with dried curry leaves, kothmir podi ( coriander leaves)... the list goes on.

My sister simply loves all podis and nuvvula podi or sesame seed powder in particular is her favorite. I thought I would learn this just to make some for her. Like I said, there are as many variations of podis as there are cooks. So this particular recipe is from my mom's repertoire. It is simple and has very few ingredients. Just the 4 main ones...

COMPARISON OF COLOURS OF ROASTED VS UNROASTED SEEDS (just to make absolutely clear, left side of the image below is roasted and the right side is raw).


200 grams sesame seeds
6-8 red chillies
1/2 teaspoon powdered asafoetida
salt to taste
1 tablespoon oil ( preferably sesame oil)


Roast sesame seeds till golden brown and fully roasted. See picture above for a comparison of colours of unroasted/raw vs roasted sesame seeds. Keep stirring while roasting to avoid it getting overburnt.

Take off the flame and leave it to cool.

Heat oil in the same pan and add the red chillies. Fry till they darken without getting burnt. Take off the flame and leave to cool.

Grind the sesame seeds, red chillies, asafoetida and salt till well blended.

CAUTION: Do not over grind as the sesame seeds will let out oil and the whole mixture will get lumpy instead of having a nice powdery consistency. Just one pulse (or whirr as I like to call it) of the machine should do it.

Serve with hot rice and ghee poured generously over.



Tirumangai said...
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