Podi Podicha Pulinkari (Ground Spices In A Tamarind Base)

Podi Podicha Pulinkari was one of the best kept secrets of Palakkad. At least until the internet became a force. What sets it apart from other ‘kootans’ (wet main dishes to be mixed with rice) is that it has no lentils or coconut. This is indeed a rarity in Kerala cuisine. It is a simple dish, but tastes out of this world. My paternal grandmother used to prepare this often, as did my mum. I too have carried the tradition forward, but suspect that the next generation may not do so. So, I am also documenting this WFPB version for posterity.
The vegetable used for the preparation of this pulinkari is either pumpkin or okra (bhendi, vendakai). I will use okra to demonstrate this dish.
I prepare this dish in a kalchatti (meaning granite vessel, as seen in the picture). It just enhances the taste. But you can use any vessel.

1 1/2 cups okra, cut into 1″ pieces
1 green chilli, slit
1 lemon sized ball of tamarind
1 tsp date paste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
To Roast And Powder
2 tbsp red/brown rice
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi, venthiyam)
2-3 dried red chillies
A generous pinch of asafoetida
To Temper
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
Soak the tamarind in hot water for about 10 minutes
Squeeze and extract about 1 cup of juice
Set aside
Wash the rice and drain
Heat a wok and roast the rice
As it begins to change colour, add the fenugreek seeds and dried red chillies
Roast till the rice has turned golden brown
Cool and grind to a powder
Set aside
Heat a heavy bottomed vessel
Add tamarind juice and 1 cup water
Add the chopped okra and the green chilli
Add turmeric powder, salt and asafoetida
Mix well and bring to boil
Cover and cook on medium flame till the okra is cooked
Add date paste and cook, uncovered, for another 3-4 minutes
Mix the roast rice powder in 1 cup of water
Add to the gravy being cooked
Simmer for 3-4 minutes
Remove from flame and garnish with curry leaves
Heat a small wok and add mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, switch off flame and add to the cooked gravy
Serve hot with steamed red/brown rice, idli, dosa…

One Comment Add yours

  1. Shubha says:

    Fantastic! We call this mendiya kuzhambu or mendiya koottan 😊😊😊


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