One misty December morning, when I was about eight years old, Achan told us – my younger sister and I – that we were to go with him for the annual pilgrimage to Sabarimala. With the exuberance of children , we excitedly watched the preparations for the journey with the thrill of anticipation. Fascinating for me especially, was the rhythmic pounding of roasted coconut by the heavy “Olakka” to make dry coconut chutney-chammanthi podi to take for the journey.
On that memorable day we woke up early, started from home to the Pampa, had breakfast in the makeshift bamboo fenced tea shop on the river bank and started the climb up the narrow, rough path between the trees of the forest. Running up the mountain way with the agility of the young, we waited for the adults to catch up. The dinner with kanji and chammanthipodi was a veritable feast.
Morning, and up the eighteen steps to His Divine presence and back down the mountain trail to Pampa, into the car and back home.
I am fascinated by the way Chammanthipodi and that delightful time in the lap of nature are inextricably entwined in my mind. This dry chutney is the favourite of many Keralites and is ideal for trips since it keeps in room temperature in an air tight container for a few days.
Dry Roasted Coconut Chutney Powder – Chammanthipodi
- 4 cups Freshly Grated Coconut
- 10 Dry Red Chillies
- 2 Tbsp Tur Dal
- 2 Tbsp Urud Dal
- 3 Stalks Curry Leaves
- Tamarind needed – about the size of a gooseberry
- 1/4 tsp Hing\Asoefitida\Kayam
- A drizzle of oil
- Salt – to taste
Preparation – Ensure that 1. Cooking is in slow to medium heat and 2. Stir constantly while roasting.
- Roast red chillies in a thick kadai with a drizzle of oil to avoid a burnt taste.You know it is done when the sharp smell of the fried chillies hit you. Transfer to a plate, let it become cool and crisp. Powder it well in a dry grinder.
- In the same kadai, roast each of the dals separately. Set aside. When cool, add it to the ground chillies, stir and powder the mixture. Keep it aside.
- Roast the grated fresh coconut without oil – adding curry leaves at halftime – and continue till golden brown and crisp. This part takes about 45 minutes to an hour. Make pieces of tamarind, and add to the roasted coconut along with hing and salt. Stir and take off the heat. When cool, powder coarsely and transfer to a bowl to mix it with powdered dal and chilli powder and a teaspoon of sugar (optional) to blend the tastes.
- Mix well and store in dry air-tight container.
Tastes great as an accompaniment with idli, dosa, appam, kanji and rice and curd.
Tell me how it comes out 😉