This winter, although a rather mild one compared to the last few, has been quite a challenge for me. I have been down with sinusitis almost everyday and even stepping out very briefly puts me down for the next couple of days. Whether it is due to this constant cold or whatever, I have been resorting to black pepper in a number of dishes. I must say that earlier I was not too fond of black pepper as it did not have the same kick as chilly, atleast not for me. It has however come very handy this winter and I seem to enjoy the dishes made with it. This particular recipe, I came across on a television program and immediately made note of it. Again, it is not one of the programs that I would usually try recipes from but this I thought was ideal considering my head was throbbing in pain. The result was very good and seemed to serve the purpose. I think it is the dry ginger, sukku, that helped clear my headache sooner and the heat from the pepper help decongest. I did not fry the tamarind too long as it could destroy the vitamin C in it. One of the most important benefits of black pepper is its impact on the digestive system. It helps the body secrete hydrochloric acid so food is digested promptly, else food could sit in the stomach for long and cause heart burn or move to intestine and cause flatulence. It can also trigger appetite and also promote urination. It is also said to have anti-oxidants. Both pepper and dry ginger help promote sweating thus making them helpful while suffering from cold. After so much discussion about the benefits of the ingredients, I must say that it tasted wonderful too. I had it along with nellikai pachadi (gooseberry raita). Here is the recipe...
2 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 dry red chillies
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
An inch long piece of dry ginger (sukku)
Couple of flakes of tamarind
1 teaspoon channa dal
1 teaspoon urd dal
Salt to taste
Gingelly oil (preferred as it cools the body)
Few cashew nuts
Heat a pan and add black pepper and red chilly. Roast for a minute and add the dry ginger then again a minute later add the cumin seeds and tamarind and roast until seeds pop. Cool and grind to powder
Heat couple of spoons of gingelly oil and add the channa dal, asafoetida and urd dal. A minute later add the cashew nuts and fry until they all turn golden. Add curry leaves
Add the ground powder and fry briefly
Add rice and required salt and mix well. I added about half the quantity of powder and mixed just enough rice to serve one.
Serve with a raita/pachadi or with yogurt