Chammanthi podi, a fine medley of roasted coconut and spices, is a common preserve in Keralite homes. Each home has its own variations.
The “Spice powder” goes well with steamed rice, dosas and idlies. I love this as an accompaniment for plain, cold curd rice; an excellent comfort meal by itself...
Grated coconut- 1 ½ cups
Coriander seeds-2 tbsps
Black pepper corns- 1/2 tsp
Red chillies- 25 nos(or according to your spice level- I like it spicy :))
Tamarind-a fat one inch piece
Curry leaves-4-5 sprigs
Heat a broad and wide iron wok.Do NOT use even A DROP of OIL.
Tranfer all the ingredients except tamarind and salt to the wok stirring all the time in slow-medium flame,evently. Fry until the coconut gets a deep brown hue and the roasted coconut-spice aroma spreads around.This will take around 45-50 minutes.
Cool and powder.Add tamarind and check salt.Pulse/grind again.See to it, you don’t throw in the tamarind piece before you powder the mix in the first stage.Let the Chammanthipodi be a little coarse, coz that’s the way it has to be ;).Store in airtight-glass bottles.The powder has a high shelf life and stays well for a month in room temperature and stays better in fridge/freezer compartments.
The Authentic Chammanthi Podi calls for a tsp of finely minced ginger, a few cumin seeds and a tbsp of minced shallots in addition to the above mentioned ingredients.I generally avoid these 3, as I personally feel they would bring down the fine roasted "coconut-spice-curry leaf" flavour.
Go ahead if you prefer the extra 'gingery,' cuminy’, 'shallotty' touch... :)
In olden days, Chammanthi podi was ‘hand powdered’ in Ural and Ulakka, the traditional stone mortar and its wooden pestle.The sorted out roasted chillies from the fried mix and rock salt goes in the Ural, first.After they are ‘beaten’, IN goes the roasted coconut and spices. The oil which oozes out at this stage , from the roasted coconut, is absorbed by the ginger, shallots and the tamarind, added next ; the heavenly spice-blend imparting the much authentic taste to the “Thenga Varuthidicha Nadan Chammanthi Podi.”