Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sambar Podi

My sambar and rasam podis (பொடி) are a hit where ever I go. Even here in Andhra, I have people asking me for the recipe and requesting me to show them how to fry the ingredients. Here the recipe that's been passed down in my family for at least five generations - maybe more.

Red Chillies - 1000 gms  or  (100 gms)
Dhania - 1500 gms or (150 gms)
Pepper - 300 gms or (25 gms)
Cumin seeds (jeera) - 300 gms or (25 gms)
Fenugreek seeds (methi) - 300 gms or (25 gms)
Turmeric (சமையலக்கு உபயோகிகப்படும் கொம்பு மஞ்சள்)- 150 gms or 12.5 gms
Asafoetida 50 gms or (a pinch) (கட்டி பெருங்காயமாக இருந்தால் நல்லது)

  1. Dry the chillies in the sun for a couple of days. They are ready when they are crisp and snap with a noise when you break them.
  2. Dry roast all the other ingredients in a hot tava  a couple of handfuls of one ingredient at a time.
  3. You'll know when the dhania and the cumins are well toasted from the lovely smell.
  4. The fenugreek is ready when it starts turning red.
  5. The pepper is ready when it starts popping.
  6. Don't fry the turmeric. Just dry it in the sun for a couple of days. Use turmeric powder if solid turmeric is not available.
  7. Break asafoetida  into small pieces and fry it in a little oil until it appears to boil. No need to fry if you are using powder.
Cool and then grind everything to a fine powder. Allow it to cool and then store in air tight containers.

Note: The most important part of the frying is regulating the heat. The process is similar to making great dosas.  Moderate heat when you start out... gradually increase the heat... and then simmer, all the while stirring whatever it is you are frying.