Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Curry Leaves Powder / Karivapillai Podi

I never ever imagined myself making this powder. Not because I can't but because curry leaves are very expensive here. Growing up, we had a curry leaves tree in our house. Almost all the neighbors would take the curry leaves from that tree for making rasam powder, chutney powder or even for regular cooking. Sometimes I feel my mother's rasam powder was so flavorful and special just because of the generous addition of curry leaves. Now that I live far away from home where we get 4 sprigs of curry leaves for almost a dollar, making a powder using them as the main ingredient is possible only in my dream unless of course my friend gives me a big bag of the curry leaves from her tree. This is very similar to most of the powders which can be mixed with rice and eaten as part of the meal. It all starts with the base of lentils. Instead of asafoetida or hing, you could flavor it with garlic, but I prefer the way my mother made with hing.
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Curry leaves - 4 cups loosely packed leaves and tender stem only washed, patted dry
Bengal gram dal/Kadale bele / Chana dal - 1/2 cup
Urad dal / Black gram dal / Uddina bele - 1/4 cup
Black pepper corns - 1 TBSP
Cumin seeds - 1 TBSP
Salt - 2 tsp or to taste
Extra hot Red chilli powder - 1 TBSP (or 20 - 30 red chillies) or to taste - See Notes
Hing / Asafoetida - pea size
Tamarind - 1 lemon sized ball

Heat a large skillet. When hot, add both the lentils (bengal gram dal, urad dal), cumin seeds, pepper corns, hing. Keep stirring at low flame till the lentils are lightly toasted. Add tamarind and the curry leaves. Keep stirring till curry leaves are so dry that they crush into powder when you rub them between fingers. Turn off the heat and add red chilli powder on the warm mixture. Let it cool down completely before powdering them in a spice grinder or a blender. Add salt and mix well. You can serve this with idlis, dosa or simply on hot rice with some ghee or oil.

If you want to use red chillies instead of the powder, roast them separately with a tsp of oil. Grind them together with the other roasted ingredients. I didn't have enough red chillies so used powder instead.

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  1. Flavorful powder!! Healthy way to add in our diet.

  2. I mirror ur feelings on the cost of the curry leaves!!! I used to feel that it is so expensive when I was US as we get them free with the vegetable purchase from the vendor or if we need a big bulk it is so inexpensive!!!

    Curry leaves powder is so yummy and your pictures are very good!!
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  3. Amazing clicks dear...and this is totally new to me...bookmarked.

  4. You saved me from asking my mom the proportions for this, on my next call! I have a big bag of these leaves in the fridge, waiting to be converted :)
    A friend carried it for me last week from his tree in Bangalore. BTW, you can preserve these. Wash it and dry completely. Heat a little oil and slightly roast them (like u do for oggaraNe). Cool it and preserve in air tight box in fridge. My first batch lasted me almost 4 months here, for everyday cooking and for my chatni pudi, etc.

    1. Sumana,
      I usually freeze them if I get it in bulk. Separate the leaves, wash, dry and put them in a freezer safe bag. They last for a year. Only problem is when dropping into hot oil for oggarane, you just have to step back since they splutter even more due to ice crystals. I haven't been to India in 4 years now so, have to buy it from the local store and use sparingly.

  5. I love curry in-laws have a tree in the backyard...and here I need to buy in English Pounds!Love this Podi, will try making it.

  6. I go with u.Here in US its really expensive.Ur neighbours are lucky to get fresh curry leaves.Next time i will try this recipe.

  7. I love this podi, very versatile indeed. Hope you have been doing good Champa

  8. This green leaves are very tasty.. we can use that leaves in any curry.


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