March 2, 2013

Ellu podi

There is a famous adage in tamil "கடுகு சிறுத்தாலும் காரம் குறையாது", which literally means "Size doesn't matter". It very well applies to sesame seeds too. You might get surprisingly-shocked (if at all there is a term like that!) to learn about its health benefits. Its medicinal properties are known for treating major conditions like diabetes, lowering blood pressure, cancer, depression etc and also used in oral health & infant health. Sesame seed's anti-oxidant & anti-inflammatory properties contributes to improve cardiovascular health too.


Sesame seeds are available in various forms viz., white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, sesame oil etc. Make sure to include one (or) more in your day-to-day meal. Also, know that sesame seeds/oil could be seriously allergic to few people. So, be cautious about it, if you are using it for the first time.


How genius of our ancestors to include a healthy ingredient like this in their day-to-day life?! pure wisdom!! A tbsp or two of sesame oil mixed with rice (like lemon rice, ellu rice, tamarind rice, vathal kuzhambu etc) or with idli-milagai podi (gun powder) goes a long way!! Our ancestors have also used sesame oil as hair & skin vitalizer, even for infants. No wonder, our parents, grand-parents & generations before could easily maintain good health, clear skin & thick, long hair whereas we are wasting our precious time knocking at the doors of health centers & beauty salons!



Ingredients
Black sesame seeds - 1/2 cup
Whole urid dal - 1/8 cup
Dry red chillies - 4 nos
Hing - a small piece
Salt - to taste

Method
Dry roast hing, urid dal, dry red chillies until crisp & urid dal turns golden brown. Set aside.

Dry roast sesame seeds until the popping sound of the seeds subsides (similar logic that we use when popping pop-corns). Also, take care not to over roast the seeds. Let it all cool down completely.



Use a mixer to grind hing, red chillies into fine powder. To this, add sesame seeds, urid dal, salt and give it a pulse or two. Not more than that! (See Notes)



To make ellu podi sadham (sesame seeds rice), take about a cup of cooked rice (I used sona masoori), add 1 tsp of ghee, 1 tsp of sesame oil, 2-3 tsp of ellu podi and mix well. Take care not to mush up the rice. Taste & adjust salt / ellu podi, if required. Serve it with urid dal vada on the side. Perfect combo!


Notes:
  • Known for its high oil content, sesame seeds gives out oil when you run it in the mixer for more than couple of pulses and podi could become wet & sticky. It is okay if urid dal is coarsely ground, it gives a nice crunch when you eat it with rice.
  • If the brand of sesame seeds that you buy has any kind of impurities/stones, first wash them in water and soak it for atleast 30 mins. Wash the seeds again to remove all the impurities & stones. Then, dry roast in a pan until crisp / the seeds stop spluttering.
  • My mom always makes ellu podi with just roasted sesame seeds, red chillies & salt. She doesn't add hing. And, while mixing it with rice, she roasts a tsp of urid dal & a sprig of curry leaves in a tsp of sesame oil and adds it to the rice.

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