Vankaya Menthi Podi Koora
This is regional and easy dish from Andhra. Its made with brinjals with the emphasis on menthi podi. Traditionally podi is a dry chutney powder. Its an ancient tradition that lives on. Earlier, due to hot and humid weather in southern and western parts of India, fresh condiment pastes would spoil easily without refrigerators and thus it became a tradition to roast dry lentils and spices and grind them by hand with a pestle and mortar and store. Even now, its a very strong pillar of the regional cuisines here. It stays fresh for weeks and when used, ghee (clarified butter) is usually added to create a paste or a chutney. Its so flavourful and protein packed!
The first ingredient is known by different names in different parts of the world – brinjal, eggplant, aubergine! We’ve taken the small ones here, more like egg sized.
For the podi chutney powder, we have taken, dried whole red chillies, cumin seeds (jeera), fenugreek seeds (methi dana), split skinned black gram (white urad dal) and split chickpea lentil (yellow chana dal).
Take oil in a pan and add all the ingredients for the podi. Roast on medium flame stirring frequently.
Stop when it turns golden brown or one shade darker. Let it cool. Transfer it to a grinder and sprinkle some salt.
This is the podi chutney powder and you can store it in an airtight container.
Once your podi is ready, you’ll just need curry leaves, mustard seeds and brinjal. Cut them lengthwise into four.
In a pan take oil, and add mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida.
Add the brinjals and mix well. Cut the brinjals just before using. If you want to cut them earlier and keep then cut and put it in a bowl of water right away.
Season with salt. Cover and cook for 3-4 mins.
When the colour of the skin begins to change, remove the lid and add some turmeric powder. Stir well. Turn off the gas when cooked.
Add the podi chutney powder and mix well. It will turn into a beautiful yellow to mustard brown colour because of the turmeric and podi.
Serve it with any Indian bread you like!
Recipe: Vankaya Menthi Podi Koora
500 gm small Brinjal/Eggplant 3 tbsp Menthi Podi, 2 tbsp oil Pinch of asafoetida/hing 1 tsp mustard seeds 10-12 Curry leaves, washed ½ tsp turmeric Salt Half a lemon
For Menthi Podi :-
1 tbsp Fenugreek seeds/Methi Dana ¼ cup chana dal ¼ urad dal 1 tbsp cumin seeds 6-7 dried red chilies 1 tsp oil 1 ½ tsp salt
For Menthi Podi take oil in a pan and add methi dana, chana dal, urad dal, cumin seeds and dried red chilies. Roast on medium flame stirring frequently till it turns Golden brown. As it cools it becomes a shade darker and more crisp. When completely cooled, add salt and grind in a grinder to get a fine powder. Store in an airtight container.
Wash and cut brinjal lengthwise into four just before starting to cook. As brinjal turn brown after cutting. Or if you want to prep earlier then cut and put in water to prevent browning.
In a pan take oil on medium heat. Add mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. When it starts spluttering add the brinjal and season with salt. Mix well and cover for 3-4 minutes.
Add turmeric and sauté the brinjal for 3-4 minutes till it has softened and has turned little brown.
Turn off the flame and add the Menthi Podi to the brinjal. Mix well and cover with the lid for 1 minute. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon just before serving.
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