Tengai podi / Coconut powder

Last Saturday night suddenly we had a power cut at about 2:00a.m. While Jr.H, Jr.P and I being sound sleepers slept through the power cut, P felt there was something wrong and found that the fridge and our bedroom fan had conked off and led to tripping, and consequently the power cut. When I woke up the next morning, and found the fridge not working I was hopping mad! I had stuffed my freezer with so many pastes, gravies, boiled stuff and preserved lots of coconut and was worried about things getting spoilt! We shifted a few things to my neighbour’s freezer but I really could not shift everything – decency stopped me from doing that! One thing that was solved was what to cook for the day – I had no choice but to polish off all the veggies and coconut(We had a lot from what MIL had brought from Mangalore and P grated the whole thing one day!) that morning!
In the evening I still had some coconut left – Thankfully it was good:) Since we had enough of coconut gravy (I made poricha kootu but did not take snaps!) that day, I decided to try making coconut powder from Lifco’s “How to Cook” by Mrs.Vedavalli Venkatachary. This book is a gem and costs only Rs.18/- (Rs.16/- when I purchased)! The end product is very tasty and stays good for a week. I took it to office as an accompaniment to idlis alongwith coconut chutney. It replaced molagapodi (Spiced chilli powder taken with dosas and idlis) very well, and you don’t need to add oil either. I followed the recipe to the tee – you can’t go wrong with this one as it is very easy to follow (like all the other recipes in the book) and doesn’t take up much of your time either!Coconut powder / Tengai podi
(Source: How to cook by Vedavalli Venkatachary)

Coconut – 1 and 1/2 cups
Black gram dal (Urad dal) – 2 tbsp.
Bengal gram dal (Chana dal) – 2 tbsp.
Red chillies (Sookhi lal mirch) – 3 small
Asafoetida (Hing) – a pinch
Mustard (Rai) – 1/2 tsp.Method:
1. Grease a heavy bottomed wok with very little oil (About 1/4tsp.), and roast all the ingredients except coconut to reddish and set aside to cool. – ‘A’
2. Now roast the grated coconut to reddish brown and cool.

3. Grind ‘A’ and add the cooled coconut.
4. Grind to a coarse powder – the texture should be rough.

How to serve:

Sprinkle it in your sandwich, have it with idlis and dosas, with curd rice IF it is left after everyone has tasted a bit. 🙂   I bet you will not stop with a teaspoon.


If you have coconut that has been lying around for sometime and has just started letting of a different odour you can still make this as the frying will set it right! That is what they did in the olden days when fridge wasn’t a common household item!

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Have your say

  1. I love that tengai podi. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Mouthwatering recipe, looks great S! I remember those power cuts in B’lore, hated those. Ele would go off right in the middle of grinding in the mixer, was so frustrating for a new cook!Yikes!

  3. JZ @ Tasty treats

    it sure sounds delicious, SSM! yeah the power cuts are aweful!! send me one of those cookbooks, SSM 🙂

  4. This tengai podi is yummy, so we can use for any porial (curry)… The power cut is horrible in India.

  5. My mom used to make this powder, but I never tried. Thanks for sharing. Will try next time

  6. Ah..haa, your post has brought back memories and fragrance from my mom’s kitchen! Thanks for the lovely post..

  7. This is one of my favorite podi’s mom makes. Its goes really well with rice and like you said idli-dosa too. I usually top it with a dolop of curd when eating it with dosa 🙂

  8. W/ the exception of the 2003 NY outage, we usually don’t have power failures unless a nasty storm is passing through. Wreaks havoc in a kitchen. :0

    Sunshine Mom, this burnished coconut is a wonderful condiment and tasty alternative to chutney.

  9. Meera – Glad to share:)

    Asha – Bangalore is not very different even now reg. powercuts!

    JZ – Come and get it from me:)

    Cham – Lets not blame India – This one was due to the Condenser conking off!

    Sailaja – So many times I wonder why I never make this one – its easy…just plain lazy I guess:)

    Amrutha – So the cup of nostalgia overfloweth? Glad to be part of a nice feeling:)

    Priya – I know – Curd used to be my favourite before long!

    Susan – Thanks! We started having this of late since 2yrs. Dunno whats going wrong with the political situation.

  10. I literally love this thengai podi. It’s my all time favorite. I love to mix it with hot rice with a tablespoon of ghee. Somehow I have not tried making this. Even now, I asked my mother to get it from India and my aunt sent it for me.

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