Saturday, February 28, 2009

Idli Podi II - with 3 4 dals (Spiced lentil powder)

"Love Thy Neighbor" is not only a phrase from the bible but in daily life a very important one. I consider my neighbors to be the first line of defense and would try my best to be friendly. But not everyone thinks that way was evident when I was an unwitting witness to some fights for unimportant things.

I was kind of surprised when one of my neighbors came complaining about another neighbor, lets call them N1 and N2. N1 complained that N2 cuts grass on his side of the property. It reminded me of land disputes back home among relatives who fight over few feet of land and on whose land the foot path should go and so forth. Sometimes knives and fists are involved. Well anyway this was not anything like that but a few feet of extra lawn that was getting mowed. N1 settled the affair by planting some border plants. Another neighbor got annoyed that his neighbor had an unused tire lying around for a few days. These are incidents that are too small to sweat over, relationship with the neighbor is far more important don't you think?

IMHO, neighbors are our eyes and ears when we are not around. I am grateful to have some neighbors who really pitch in and help when needed. The water my plants when I am away, feed DDs fish, pick up the newspapers. What if we needed a lift to the doctor and can't dirve by ourselves? Not only for the help they are also what make a street a community. To steal the popular saying "No man is an island".

The other day one neighbor found a person loitering near her neighbor's door when she took the dog for a walk. She immediately called the neighbor to alert her. Imagine if the relationship was strained, would the same effort have been taken?

I have also seen neighbors clean the sidewalks for other during winter time, it is against the law to leave snow for more than a day. Small actions but they speak much louder than words.

This is not to say that all neighbors are good, there are some really obnoxious ones too. One of them who lives a few houses further away from us was putting up a fence and he was setting up the fence further inside his adjoining neighbor's property. So when that neighbor approached the offending party his reaction was "lets settle this with a gun". The neighbor on the receiving end was hopping mad. I would have lost it too.

I have learnt over the years not to sweat the small stuff, good relations with neighbors has paid for itself many times over for which I would be ever grateful.

What is your philosophy in dealing with your neighbors? And do you consider it important to have good relations with them?


I think I hit the publish button a little too soon without posting the recipe. If you have noticed I usually quote my mom and ammayi(mom's mom) cooking a lot but not so much my MIL. This is not because I don't consider her a great cook but because I have not watched her cook at close quarters much. I did when she visited us but not enough, but I still have learned a few recipes. There are a lot of tiny ideas and influences that I remember and incorporate in my daily cooking. One thing that stands out in my MIL's, mom's and grandmoms's is the simplicity of the cooking process itself. No grinding masalas or rich sauces just simple flavorful food that makes for a very tasty meals albeit light and easy on the stomach affairs. If Kollu Paruppu Podi was a recipe from my mother, this idli podi recipe is from my MIL. When we visit she alwasys packs us a substanstial bag of idli podi to last till our next visit home. She uses three dals - kadali paruppu (channa dal), urad dal and moong dal, also mentioning that some people add a bit of horsegram as well and that was just what I wanted to hear to add a handful of horsegram. MIL suggested I add all the dals together and roast.


Idli Podi
1. 3/4 cup of Chana dal (original recipe calls for 2 cups)
2. 3/4 cup urad dal
3. 3/4 cup moong dal (I used the split one with the skin on)
4. 3/4 cup horsegram
5. 1 cup red chilies
6. 20 curry leaves
7. a tiny piece of asfoetida
8. 4 tsp kosher salt or 2 tsp regular table salt (add more if required after blending and tasting)
1. Heat a wide mouthed pan and roast the dals one by one till they turn a slight brown or
Combine all the dals and roast them together.
2. Microwave the curry leaves for a minute till crisp
3. Microwave or heat the asfoetida for a few seconds
4. Microwave the red chilies for about 3-4 minutes or roast, till they start to turn color or become completely dry
5. roast the salt for a few minutes.
6. Cool and blend to a fine powder

Goes well with rice, idli, dosai or even chapatis.


  1. yeah it is important to have good relationship with neighbors.. they are the only ones we can lean towards when we need help here in USA.

  2. I too think that neighbours are very important and those who are not friendly, I at least try to maintain a cordial relationship - morning, good afternoon kind of thing.

    I have to tell you that one of my neighbours has been exceptionally good to me especially when a prowler was terrorizing me in my home. Things got so bad that I could not stay in the house once it got dark. I am eternally grateful for that neighbour. Without hesitation, she invited me into her home and I would sleep at her house every night for more than 2 months until I gradually started back sleeping at home.

  3. I agree with you.If every one of us are thinking this way,Iam sure there will be a big change....

  4. When I was young (and clueless), I hated neighbors. Not for their nicety, but for their 'I want to know everything about you' mentality. These days I've come to appreciate them for the blessings that they are. I will always regret not being more friendly towards one particular neighbor who is no more.

    Can't wait for your idli podi recipe. The last one was a hit at home.

  5. Mahimaa, exactly.

    Cynthia, that must have been really scary and thanks to god for the neighbor.

    Sudha, that is such a nice thought and maybe the old feeling of community will come back again.

    Kay, young and stupid, been there done that. AS we grow older we appreciate the smaller things that makes life better right. I did not realize I had hit the publish button, did mean to till the recipe was done as well.

  6. Love that article on neighbors. Yes, we need to stand on other's shoes to understand them.
    Idli podi with 3 dhals seems to be a good idea. Nice recipe.

  7. Once when we had ice storm here, our tree branch fell right on the street and we were on a weekend trip out of town. Our neighbor cut the branch into pieces and put it them on the curb. After we came back, we sent a Wine bottle for them! :D

    We are not buddy buddy or anything but I would gladly help them out if they need it. I would like to keep my distance as I don't like uninvited guests, but when I bake bread, I will send one to them! :)

    Podi looks yum, my mom makes chutney pudi with 2 dals, will post some day. Enjoy Sunday! :)

  8. I live on a cul de sac and most of the neighbors are busy with young families etc. My next door neighbor however, is an elderly man. Although most of us are working, I love how we all take a special interest in him. Snow brings everyone out and many times we'll chip in to clear his sidewalk, etc. There's nothing like a good neighbor.

    Idli podi is another special recipe, ISG, thanks for that :)

  9. It's good to have great relationship with your neighbors. With my current neighbors though, it's mostly hi and bye types. But at least no petty squabbles, as far as I know. My immediate neighnor has a kid M's age and when we do bump into each other, we stop to chat for a few minutes. But it does not seem to go beyond that. Maybe it's lack of more effort on our part too.

  10. podi with ghee looks delecioussssss

  11. I am with you too on keeping harmonous relation with neighbor... although I have to admit, some of them (back then in NJ) were really hard to please... or even a bit agressive, hehee. Anyway, I love these ldli podi you make!

  12. I have one weird neighbor & the rest are good:-)

    My kids are Podi lovers, tho not traditional in Bengal, I hav eto make for them to have with ghee & plain rice. that 3 dal sounds healthy too.

  13. Soma, I just realized it has 4 dals. My kids love idli podi too, try them with chaptis and they taste great.

  14. As a kid I did not like our neighbors for their mentality of knowing all about us...Amma had no problem though. Times have changed, and she finds it difficult when neighbors do not even smile.

    It`s different here. We have a bunch of good neighbors who have enjoyed Indian food & culture and I have learnt a lot from them too.

  15. It is really good to have a good relationship with neighbors, nice for both you & them

    I have some good neighbors, but most hi-bye kinds. Fortunately my immediate neighbor has a kid same ages as Big Sis S, and the two girls are good friends. Though us adults don't drop in at each other's place un-announced, the kids do :D. I am thankful for that at least.

    You have a pretty good bunch it seems

    I don't know much about podis except for the spicy one served with idlis in restaurant, simply love that

  16. I am not one to comment on neighborly relations... Well, I smile and say hello to everyone, but that's about it... I don't socialize with the neighbors at all, mainly because I don't deal well with strangers. I also get very annoyed by nosey neighbors, one reason I was happy to escape suburbia and move into a condo... But I can see how it will be helpful to have a community thing going on in your neighborhood, it's just not me... I leave them alone, so that they'd leave me alone :)

  17. Neighbours!! i don't know some of them even now. we got invited for a lot of beer and poker games but since we don't indulge in either, now we just keep to ourselves!
    idli podi, on the other hand, i love and will try urs out just coz ui added horsegram.:))

  18. Adding horse gram is totally new to me and this is a very very healthy version. I need to try this soon.

  19. I had such a friendly neighbour... unfortunately she moved... now it's more of a customary hi & bye when I see the current ones - that's all.

    I can't wait to bring some kollu from India.. you have so many tempting recipes with it.

  20. I have never tried idli podi with three lentils + horsegram, sounds yum and very healthy ! Will definitely try this the next time I run out of podi !


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