An aromatic affair: Homemade podis, pickles and more

Having to cook after coming back from work used to exhaust me and I didn’t want other women to go through the same tiring experience, says Gavyaa Rajagopal.

Published: 23rd March 2020 01:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd March 2020 01:55 AM   |  A+A-

Gavyaa Rajagopal. (Photo | V Tharun Mani, EPS )

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The fragrance of freshly ground podis and other aromatic condiments wafted through Gavyaa Rajagopal ’s kitchen in Pazhavanthangal. While people were busy curating movie lists and TV shows to watch during their self-quarantine period, this former IT employee decided to stock up on homemade podis, mixes and pickles.

After leaving her cushy job around nine years ago, to take care of her children, she found her happy place in the kitchen. “Ironically, I never liked being inside the kitchen and cooked only out of compulsion. But one day, everything changed. I started making podis and it eventually became a way to cope and also help working women.

Having to cook after coming back from work used to exhaust me and I didn’t want other women to go through the same tiring experience. Having readymade, healthy and tasty podis would make their life easy,” said the home chef, who launched her venture ‘Kitchen Aroma’ last year. During times of crisis, cooking can be therapeutic. Gavyaa shares pages from her recipe book to cope with the pandemic — with podis and pickles.

Herbal health mix


Dry ginger . Pepper.Long pepper.Liquorice.Aswagandha.Nutmeg.Oak gull.Turmeric powder. Palm candy Home Sarsaparilla.

Take all ingredients in equal quantities according to your requirement and dry roast them. Put it in a mixer
and powder it. Boil a glass of milk. If you are giving it to a child, add a quarter teaspoon of the mix. If it’s for elders, add half a teaspoon. Stir it well and serve. .

Vallarai keerai podi


Vallarai keerai,Tamarind, Oil,Red chilli,Urad Dal,Asafetida

Clean the vallarai leaves and dry it in shade. It takes two to three days for the leaves to dry well. Then
roast it in little ghee till it becomes crisp. Then powder it in a mixer. Fry urad dal, red chilies, asafoetida,
and tamarind in little oil. Powder this in a mixer and add the keerai podi to the other mixture. You
could have it with rice, dosa or idli.

Mango-ginger pickle


Mango-ginger: 250 gm,Tamarind: 75 gm, Chilli powder: 50gm, Salt: 50 gm,Jaggery: 100 gm, Gingelly oil: 125 ml. Asafoetida,Mustard, Curry leaves


  • Peel and grind mango-ginger. Extract the pulp from tamarind. In a pan, add oil and season it with mustard, curry leaves, asafoetida. Add the mango-ginger. Once the raw smell goes, add the tamarind pulp and jaggery. Once it becomes thick, add chilli powder and salt. Turn off the gas once the oil starts to ooze. This means your pickle is ready. It can be served with rotis

Dry coconut rice mix


Grated copra: 3 cups, Urad dal: 1/2 cup, Red chillies, Curry leaves, Tamarind, Jaggery


Fry grated copra till golden brown with some ghee. Add urad dal, red chillis, curry leaves and tamarind pulp to some oil. Fry these ingredients. Grind everything together with some jaggery.

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