Four cousins sat in a line with 'kelichi pana' (Banana leaf used as plates) and chanted, "toop, mith, bhaat....... toop, mith, bhaat..." This was standard behavior for us (cousins) when we met at a family get together, we were a 'gang' of 4 and each spaced a year behind the other. It was natural that we stuck to one another, thru thick and thin and mischief. Our behavior patterns were also similar, we almost always got into trouble at the same time and for similar reasons, resulting in punishments and timeouts.
Our liking for food also seemed similar, for example, we went thru this 'tup (clarified butter), mith (salt), bhaat (rice)' stage for a whole year, at every single family get together, we would sit in a line and chant the same thing, we totally ignored all other delicacies prepared and plowed our way thru mounds of soft, warm rice, drizzled generously with ghee ( toop/ clarified butter) and sprinkled with salt.
Then came the metkut-bhaat stage, which to this day is my comfort food. When I was little , I would sit at the table near my father and wait till he mixed rice with the spice powder, ghee (in his plate and then transfer it to mine, 'Baba mixing it in his plate' was the key, IMHO) and savor every bite, ask for seconds and call it a meal.
For several years I was a confirmed metkut addict and knew only this one spice powder, that was until a certain guy came into my life and we tied the knot and he whisked me away to Bangalore.
He would praise (understatement) the food he ate and I would wonder how he liked eating out SO much ( I still do) , I mean, eating out once in a while is fun, but home food is home food, isn't it? Not quite!
On my arrival in B'lore, M was very excited to take me around, the restaurants, that is. Now get this, the new bride that I was, I wanted to cook at home and show him my amateur culinary skills and he wanted me to go to all his favorite haunts! Talk about clashing ideas at the beginning!
But I gave in and we started our tour of Bhimas, Nandhini Palace, RR's, Madhuri, Gongura, a few among the hundreds of Andhra restaurants.
I had visited B'lore earlier and had a taste of my very first Andhra meal ( at Nagarjuna), but that was several years ago, while I remembered that the food was awesome, I did not particularly recollect eating Kandi podi, aka Gun Powder. And so, this time around, when we sat in one restaurant, and the server put a generous mound of rice and ladled ghee, yes, yes, ladled as far as I was concerned, M directed me to add the spice powder, 'gun powder' and dived into it with such an expression of happiness that I had no doubt, this *must* be dynamite! And it was.
For me it was love at first bite, and the second and the third.. you get the general idea. We waddled out of the restaurant, replete and content. That was 5 years ago.
After I began blogging a world of recipes was opened up to me, I tried several things, liked so many things but somehow, M and I kept going back to our comfort food, metkut-bhaat and sometimes kandi podi- bhaat. I have tried many versions and in my opinion, it is a flexible recipe, the star ingredient being Toor daal, don't mess with that.
It was only after my parents tasted this spice powder and liked it as much as we do, that I thought of putting it on the blog
I googled several recipes and the final outcome, therefore was a mix, here are some of the sites I referred to.
The final ingredients I used are:
|10-15 Dry Red chilies ( use the mentioned quantity IF the chilies you have are mild- adjust as per your level of heat tolerance)|
1 cup Toor dal ( regular, not the oily kind)
1 cup Dalia (Roasted Gram Dal)
Approx. 1 tbsp. Cumin / Jeera
3-4 garlic cloves
About 2 sprigs Curry leaves
1 tsp of Asafetida/ Hing
Heat a griddle on med- high,( the ingredients should be dry roasted) add Toor Daal, toss in the cumin seeds and reduce the heat to medium, roast until the toor daal is a couple of shades darker add the curry leaves and dry red chilies. Add in the garlic and asafetida and roasted gram daal/ Dalia.
DRY roast all these ingredients well. By now the spices should be very aromatic.
Take the griddle off the heat and transfer contents onto a plate to cool ( keeping the mix in the hot skillet will over roast the daal and spices and may burn them, if not over roasting may lead to a bitter taste)
Once the spice is cool, grind to a fine powder.
Store in an airtight container.
To enjoy kandi podi, serve along with hot, steaming rice, drizzle with ghee, add salt as required , mix and eat.
My Andhra friends tell me that they serve thinly slices raw onion along with this rice-ghee and gunpowder mix, I have personally never tried it, but if you do, let me know how you like it.
-You can substitute regular Chana daal instead of Roasted Gram Daal
- You can add red chili powder instead of whole dry red chilies, only add the powder when grinding the roasted mix
- You can add moong daal (yellow) as well, halve the roasted gram daal and include 1/2 cup moong daal.