Thenga podi is a dry chutney powder and an absolute favourite in our home. This pantry staple is a life-saver on days when I can’t be bothered to make a proper meal or just when the family craves a simple dinner comprising podi, rice and some appalam. Thenga podi is high on rotation at home.
This vegan yumminess has been a favourite for as long as I can remember. I have documented in some of my blog posts about my mother’s meticulous planning to keep the pantry well-stocked at all times. I don’t ever remember running out of essential like podis ever.
Unfortunately, like many amazing things that my mum used to make only remains a fresh memory and has not been documented. I try my best to consult my father—who is an exceptional cook—to try and recreate her recipes to my best ability.
Speaking of recreating podis, when my father visited us in Sydney a couple of years ago, I served him so fresh homemade thenga podi. Let’s just say he was generous with his compliments. He loved it so much that he has asked me to bring a box of this podi every time I travel from Sydney to Chennai! I couldn’t get a better compliment for this honestly. Proof is in the pudding, right?
If you are unfamiliar with the dish and are unsure how to consume it, serve this as a condiment for idly or dosai or my favourite is to mix it with hot rice and sesame oil/ghee. It tastes sensational! Try it for yourself and leave a comment below on how much you enjoyed it.
- Grated coconut – 1 cup*
- Channa dal/ Bengal Gram – ¼ cup
- Urad dal – ¼ cup
- Dried red chillies – 10 to 15
- Dried Kashmiri chilles (for colour) – 5
- Garlic flakes (optional) – 1 to 2 heaped tsp.
- Salt – To Taste
- Asafoetida – ½ tsp
- Sesame/gingely oil – 1 tsp.
Note*: I used the dehydrated shredded coconut as I didn’t have instant access to fresh or frozen coconut. I use this.
- Heat oil in a pan.
- Add the channa dal, urad dal, and asafoetida
- Roast the lentils until they turn golden brown and a nutty aroma is released.
- Transfer the roasted lentils to a dry plate.
- Add the red chillies and Kashmiri chillies in the same pan and roast them well while ensuring they don’t go black.
- In the same pan, add the grated coconut and garlic flakes, and roast it golden brown. Transfer the coconut into the same plate containing roasted dals and chillies.
- If you’re using fresh/frozen coconut, the idea is to remove the moisture and achieve the colour while roasting. As mentioned in the notes under the ingredients, I used store-bought dehydrated shredded coconut, which gets roasted fairly quickly compared to its fresh and frozen counterparts.
- Spread out the roasted ingredients on the plate and let it cool.
- Grind the roasted ingredients with required salt.
- The texture is completely up to you, I like a coarse powder.
- Transfer to a clean, dry container.
- Serve with hot rice or with idly/dosai.
Thenga podi made with fresh or frozen coconut stays fresh for up to 7 days when stored in the fridge. If you use the dehydrated coconut, the shelf life is much longer; mine lasts for a month or a bit longer.
- Garlic flakes takes the delicious Thenga podi to a whole new level. If you like a more traditional podi or don’t enjoy the garlicky flavour, omit.
- Add/omit/adjust ingredients to suit your taste.
- I sometimes use Kashmiri red chilli powder in place of the whole ones in the podi while grinding and it yields a beautiful red colour all the same.