The Spice Journey
29th December, 2018
‘A pinch of this and a dash of that with a touch of love’ is the perfect equation to make a spice powder, traditionally hand blended and pounded in a mortar and pestle.
There is a very special mixed blend of spices called podi (‘powder’). The trick to perfection is to have a knowledge of spices and the uniqueness each of them bring to the mix. Like a ‘pinch of salt’ the knack of knowing how much to roast, rest and blend comes only from practise. Every household have their own recipe structure, different in taste and its use. They range from Rasam Podi, Sambhar Podi, Mulagai Podi, Kootu Podi, Kaarai Podi all used for specific kind of recipes.
It is an essential in every Tamil Kitchen shelf, cities or village households, where you could find them stored in an air tight container.
This kind of special spice powder mix is difficult to achieve and hence with shop brought spice mixes, there is no complete satisfaction with the make, with the ingredients used or the freshness.
When bought outside, they are ground and packaged large scale on big machines due to which they loose the essential flavours and aroma in the process as compared to the small batches made at home.
I learnt the techniques by observing my mother, aunts and grandmother over the years!
I would relish on the raw spices while watching them and would get their screams whenever I accidently put chillies in my mouth and face the aftermath.