Back to basics part 1 – Authentic Iyengar rasam powder

ImageWhen 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.

Go green!

Go Green!

Green Chana ( chickpea)- Green mango chutney ( Hasi Kadalekai-Mavinakai chutney)Image

This is an easy to make,  irresistible “green “ recipe  to make the next time you have fresh raw green mangoes and fresh tender green chickpeas on hand. Chickpea and it’s tender green version are a great source of protein to add to any veggie diet.  Add to that the tangy taste of fresh raw mango, you have a winning combination.

Growing up, I remember going to the local market and bringing home small shrubs sprouting fresh green chana  and how over casual conversations, we would shell them from the pods and eat them for a great evening snack. This is recipe we learned from my mom’s older sister and is well worth keeping.


1 cup shelled green tender chickpeas

1 cup small raw mango cubes

4-5 strings of Cilantroe

½ cup grated coconut

3 slit green chillies

1” fresh ginger

String of curry leaves, pinch of hing, Mustard seeds,  urad dal and chana dal and oil for seasoning

Salt to taste


Method: Season the mustard seeds, urad dal and chana dal till the dal is golden brown. Then add the grated coconut, fresh ginger pieces and the green mango pieces. In a blender, add the shelled chickpeas and cilantroe. Grind all the ingredients into a coarse paste. Add salt to taste. Tastes great to dip with any appetizer!


Menthyada pudi/ Fenugreek spice powder/ Kari pudi

I am back to the blogging  world after a long hiatus. I have been busy getting a hang of motherhood to my 7 week old baby boy! Still catching up on posts from the bloggers whom I follow.

My parents are here to help us out with the baby and amma is dishing out all my favorite recipes! Feels good to be eating regular food after being on a diet for almost 3 months because of gestational diabetes!

This recipe is amma’s preparation and is similiar to chutney powder or chutney pudi. It is usually eaten with steaming hot rice and ghee and is delicious! Perfect for those days when you are bored of cooking rasam, sambar or some other accompaniment for rice. Kari pudi is what we Iyengars call it. I have no clue what “kari” means! 🙂 This doesn’t require any elaborate steps for cooking except for dry roasting all ingredients and grinding them to fine powder.


1 cup chana dal

2 cups toor dal

1 cup moong dal

1 cup urad dal

1 cup wheat

1 cup coriander seeds

1/4 cup black pepper

1/4 cup methi seeds or fenugreek seeds

1/2 cup cumin seeds or jeera

2 cups curry leaves ( packed )

2 pinches of asafoetida

5-6 red chillies

Salt to taste

Dry roast the chana dal and urad dal until golden brown. Dry roast toor dal and moong dal separately. Mix black pepper, methi seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida and dry roast them. Roast the curry leaves until they are dry.

Let all the roasted ingredients cool.  Grind everything to a fine powder and adjust the salt level according to taste.

Enjoy with some steaming hot basmati rice and a dollop of ghee or peanut oil. This can also be used to thicken the gravy for gojjus.