For people who are joining me late, I am on a culinary journey this month, exploring the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. I am posting recipes in an alphabetical order and it is turn of 'I thru N' this week. Today I am in the land of 'I', a tricky alphabet again yielding just a couple of recipes with regional names.
To begin with, there are no fruits or vegetables with regional names starting with 'I'. The only ingredients that would be in Andhra kitchen pantries that start with the alphabet 'I' are 'idli rava' (to make idlis) and 'inguva' which happens to be asafoetida. Inguva is a flavoring agent that aids in digestion but never is a star ingredient of any recipe. It is used in minuscule quantity and when overdone, it ruins the flavor of the dish instead of enhancing it. The dried gum derived from the plant source is sold commercially both in block and powder forms. The block is more stronger in flavor than the powdered form. Inguva is generously and commonly used in all dal preparations including charu aka rasam, pulihora variety rice dishes and even some curries in Brahmin households. I got to see online some recipes for 'inguva pettina charu' which literally means that a tempering of asafoetida has been used for the rasam preparation. That title would be a perfect example of redundancy.
I had the option of 'iguru' even though I have never heard anyone in our families using the word. The iguru recipes I saw online were mostly non vegetarian that were semi gravy and the vegetarian dishes I saw on television shows were dry sautes. A dry saute would be called koora or podi koora in our homes. I am assuming 'iguru' is not a word associated with Brahman style cooking, if I am not wrong. My mother and my husband had to stop and think when I asked them about it. They arrived at the same conclusion as me that the word iguru comes from 'igirinchadam' meaning 'evaporating'. The vegetables are sauteed until all / any water content present evaporates, if we are right. Besides I couldn't just call the dish iguru. I have to put the name of the vegetable (with which the curry is being prepared) before the word iguru. For example, a dry saute of thotakoora (that is amaranth greens) would be called thotakoora iguru. There are no vegetables starting with 'I' except Ivygourd, which again would have been an English name.
The best 'I' option of course would be idli - a healthy, steamed breakfast common to all south Indian states. Traditionally idlis used to be called 'iddenlu' in Telugu. People no longer use the word but it also starts with I. I would have posted the idli recipe if not for my misplaced memory card. It does not mean that I could not have taken pictures again. I make idli frequently and in fact, even today idli was our breakfast but the day I clicked them, I had more side dishes prepared and did not have the patience to cook them all again.
And so I went with the next best thing. I chose 'Karappodi' which also goes by the name 'Idli Karam Podi' because the condiment is usually associated with idli. This podi also is fed to new mothers in our families, for a month or two because of the healthy properties of garlic. During lunch and dinners, at least the first morsel would be this podi annam (This condiment mixed with rice and ghee). I was the only new mother in our families who got away without eating it because of my aversion towards garlic. I don't eat garlic even now but seeing my husband's love for this podi, I can say that this is a flavorful podi for garlic lovers. Sprinkle some ghee over the podi and enjoy with idlis / rice.
1/2 cup skinned black gram / urad dal
1/4 cup coriander seeds
1/8 tsp. fenugreek seeds
8 dried red chillies
Salt to taste
1 tbsp. sized tamarind ball
3 to 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
* Heat oil in a pan, add black gram and toast it until it starts to turn reddish. Next add coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, red chillies and tamarind and continue to toast until the dal turns reddish and coriander & fenugreek seeds turn a few shades darker. Take care to not burn them. Each ingredient can be toasted individually if you are not comfortable toasting them together.
* Transfer the toasted ingredients onto a wide plate to cool.
* To the same pan, add the minced garlic cloves and toast for a minute or two on low flame and let them cool too.
* Grind all the ingredients finely.
* Store it in a air-tight container and eat with idlis, upma or rice &
So far on A - Z Andhra Cuisine,
A for Alasanda Vada
B for Bellam Garelu
C for Chiyali
D for Dondakaaya Kaarapu Kaaya
E for Endu Kobbari Podi
F for Fine Biscuits
G for Gongura - Mamidikaya Pappu
H for Halwa Holigalu
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63.