When I asked on facebook, what authentic iyengar dish people would like to see on the blog, the response was rasam and puliyogre! The first step to a tasty rasam or puliyogre is the spice powder that is used. So I am starting a back to the basics series where I blog about the basic spices and mixes needed for authentic Iyengar dishes. The first in the series is the rasam powder or the meNasina/moLaga pudi as we call it.
Making meNasina pudi or rasam powder is an annual activity. All the individual spices are bought in large quantities, sun dried, roasted and powdered in a flour mill. This activity takes at least 3 days and leaves the whole house smelling of rasam powder. Ofcourse leaves people sneezing too!
Two varities of chillies are used, bydagi chillies from the place Bydagi in Karnataka are used for color and aroma and the guntur variety from Guntur Andhra Pradesh for heat.
Ingredients : Makes about 2 cups
1 cup byadige chillies
1 cup guntur chillies.
2 cups coriander seeds
1/4 cup jeera
1/3 cup fenugreek/menthya/methi seeds
1/8 cup mustard seeds
1/8 cup peppercorns
1 cup curry leaves, washed and dried
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
The roasting process is done in batches as different spices take different amount of time to achieve the perfect roast.
On medium heat roast the chillies and the coriander seeds until they are golden brown. Next roast the jeera and methi seeds til golden brown and then roast the mustard seeds and pepper a minute before taking them off the heat, add the hing powder.
Roast the curry leaves until they are dry and easily crumble when you hold them between your fingers.
Cool the mixture and then add turmeric.
This is then taken to a flour mill in India for getting a fine powder. Here in the US, I first used the blender to get a coarse powder and used the spice grinder to get a finer powder.