The culinary culture of Kerala has undergone significant changes and the most prominent among them is our return to the goodness of organically grown fresh vegetables. Families make sure that at least a small patch of vegetables is grown at their backyards. It has also led to a total revolution in the food culture of the state that people began opting for masala powders prepared using organic products and also unadulterated coconut oil.
Besides the small scale manufacturers, the Kudumbasree units too are active part of this sector by preparing different varieties of curry powders like chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, fenugreek powder and black pepper powder that are essential in an ordinary Malayali kitchen. There are around 24 curry powder units, both big and small, in the district. Earlier raw turmeric were boiled, dried and then powdered. But now, dried turmeric is purchased from Bengaluru and Coimbatore and is powdered and packed here.
Puttu powder made with bran rice and ordinary raw rice too are produced in these units. The rice flour is available in roasted and unroasted varieties. Besides, millet powder, gram flour, wheat flour and organically prepared broken wheat too are supplied by these units. The various units of the kudumbasree, in association with the IRDP, are all set to conduct Onam fairs at different parts of the district, as part of their mission to sell fresh and organic products.
Prepare at home
It is easy to prepare curry powders at home. However, the preparations should begin at least 2 weeks in advance. To make homemade chilli powder, fresh and undamaged red chillies are required. The chillies should be washed and dried well. Make sure that the chillies don't have any moisture content in it. Now, snip off its stem and grind in the dry jar of a mixer. Coriander seeds too could be powdered like this.
Turmeric powder could be prepared by grinding dried turmeric. The turmeric should be boiled in a pot before drying it nicely in the sun. It could even be dried in the oven for 1½-2 hours at 60 degree Celsius. The dried turmeric could be powdered in the jar of a mixer. To prepare fresh and fragrant sambar powder, 100 grams of dried chillies and coriander seeds, 2 tablespoons yellow dal, split pigeon peas and urad dal are required. A spoon full of fenugreek, half table spoon turmeric powder, 2 small pieces of asafetida, 1 spoon cumin and 2 -3 bunches of curry leaves too are required to make the sambar powder. Dry roast each ingredient separately in a pan and grind it in a mixer jar into fine masala powder. Store in air tight containers only after the masala powder has cooled down.
Coconut oil too can be freshly made at home. Grate 6 coconuts and extract the milk from it. Transfer the coconut milk into a brass vessel and heat it up. Stir the coconut milk continuously until it changes colour and thicken up. When the oil begins to ooze out, strain it by passing the thick milk through a piece of clean cotton cloth or towel.