Saturday, 25 October 2014

Poondu-Milagu Thuvayal (Garlic-Pepper Chutney - My Grandma's Recipe)

Apart from my experiments in baking and other fusion recipes, I always enjoy learning traditional recipes from my mom and grandma. One such lovely recipe that I learnt from my grandma is Poondu-Milagu Thuvayal (Garlic-Pepper Gravy/Chutney).
My grandma was married at a very young age and in those days our family used to be very orthodox due to which onion and garlic were never included in our cuisine. Things have changed now though and we all love onion and garlic for their various health benefits. You might wonder how I call this a traditional recipe when garlic was not even included in our cuisine earlier??!! There was just one period when garlic would be included and that was for pregnant women and lactating mothers! Garlic is said to improve blood circulation, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels during pregnancy and increases the milk supply of lactating mothers. This is the reason why the humble garlic was allowed to enter the kitchen of even orthodox families those days!
But now, my grandma makes it regularly and we all enjoy this with hot rice. This can also be categorized as a pickle (considering the spices and amount of oil that goes into it!!!) as it can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 months.

  • Curry leaves - 2 cups
  • Garlic pods - 1 cup
  • Tamarind - gooseberry sized
  • Salt - as needed
  • Sesame oil - 1 cup
  • Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon

To roast and grind:
  • Red chilli - 20
  • Black peppercorns - 2 teaspoons
  • Channa Dal - 1/2 cup (Split bengal gram/kadalai paruppu)
  • Urad Dal - 1/4 cup (Split black gram)
  • Asafoetida - a pinch

  1. Wash the curry leaves and spread them on a towel, so that all the moisture is absorbed
  2. Peel the garlic pods and keep aside
  3. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan and add the ingredients mentioned under "To roast and grind"
  4. Fry till the dals change in colour. Remove from heat, allow it to cool and grind into a coarse powder
  5. In the same pan, fry the dried curry leaves for a minute (Do not over fry them or burn them)
  6. Grind the roasted curry leaves, tamarind, salt along with the roasted and ground powder. Add little water at a time and grind into a smooth paste
  7. Add more water to this paste and mix well so that it forms a thick pouring consistency (Similar to Dosa batter)
  8. In a pan, add 4 teaspoons of oil and mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the garlic pods and fry them till they become soft and turn light brown
  9. Once the garlic becomes soft, add the prepared curry leaves paste and mix well. Cook on a medium flame, stirring continuously. Keep adding the remaining oil in intervals
  10. Allow it to boil and when the gravy leaves the sides of the pan without sticking, remove from heat
  11. Let it cool completely and then store in glass bottle/pickle jar. After a day, store it in refrigerator and it should stay good for 3-4 months

A teaspoon of this chutney mixed with hot rice (also little ghee if desired) and some pappad to accompany... nothing but YUMMM and addictive!! This is also a great accompaniment to idly, dosa, roti or curd rice :)

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