Tengai podi / Coconut powder

Last Saturday night suddenly we had a power cut at about 2:00a.m. While Jr.H, Jr.P and I being sound sleepers slept through the power cut, P felt there was something wrong and found that the fridge and our bedroom fan had conked off and led to tripping, and consequently the power cut. When I woke up the next morning, and found the fridge not working I was hopping mad! I had stuffed my freezer with so many pastes, gravies, boiled stuff and preserved lots of coconut and was worried about things getting spoilt! We shifted a few things to my neighbour's freezer but I really could not shift everything - decency stopped me from doing that! One thing that was solved was what to cook for the day - I had no choice but to polish off all the veggies and coconut(We had a lot from what MIL had brought from Mangalore and P grated the whole thing one day!) that morning!

In the evening I still had some coconut left - Thankfully it was good:) Since we had enough of coconut gravy (I made poricha kootu but did not take snaps!) that day, I decided to try making coconut powder from Lifco's "How to Cook" by Mrs.Vedavalli Venkatachary. This book is a gem and costs only Rs.18/- (Rs.16/- when I purchased)! The end product is very tasty and stays good for a week. I took it to office as an accompaniment to idlis alongwith coconut chutney. It replaced molagapodi (Spiced chilli powder taken with dosas and idlis) very well, and you don't need to add oil either. I followed the recipe to the tee - you can't go wrong with this one as it is very easy to follow (like all the other recipes in the book) and doesn't take up much of your time either!

Coconut powder / Tengai podi
(Source: How to cook by Vedavalli Venkatachary)

Coconut - 1 and 1/2 cups
Black gram dal (Urad dal) - 2 tbsp.
Bengal gram dal (Chana dal) - 2 tbsp.
Red chillies (Sookhi lal mirch) - 3 small
Asafoetida (Hing) - a pinch
Mustard (Rai) - 1/2 tsp.

1. Grease a heavy bottomed wok with very little oil (About 1/4tsp.), and roast all the ingredients except coconut to reddish and set aside to cool. - 'A'
2. Now roast the grated coconut to reddish brown and cool.

3. Grind 'A' and add the cooled coconut.
4. Grind to a coarse powder - the texture should be rough.

How to use: Sprinkle it in your sandwich, have it with idlis and dosas, with curd rice IF it is left after everyone has tasted a bit:). I bet you will not stop with a teaspoon.

Note: If you have coconut that has been lying around for sometime and has just started letting of a different odour you can still make this as the frying will set it right! That is what they did in the olden days when fridge wasn't a common household item!

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