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Feb 21, 2007 01:39 PM

Ponni Veppilakkatty: Can anyone identify this Indian spice?

My husband was recently in Bangalore on business and brought back a bounty of Indian spices and spice mixtures for me. Most of them are easily identifiable by smell and/or taste, but I cannot seem to get my nose or tongue around the bag of Ponni Veppilakkatty. Does anyone know what this blend is made of and what it is used for?


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    I don't know what Ponni is supposed to be, but my first impulse is to assume it's a variation on the Romanized spelling of the city or district name "Pune", a bit (relatively speaking) further north in Maharashtra. In other words, Pune-style "Veppilakkatti".

    I have no idea how to use it, I just got curious and started googling. :) When you look up Indian language stuff, keep in mind that while most well-educated Indians speak some-to-good English, the transliterations from the Indian language alphabets are ALL over the place, so it helps to try every combination you can think of that could possibly sound like the word you're looking for. ;)

    1. Veppilakkatty possibly includes ground neem leaves. It's hard to be sure, though, since many mixtures have the same name.

      1. Veppilakatty is a kind of dry chutney powder made with coconut and other spices. It's a condiment for South Indian dishes. Here's a recipe I found:

        Apparently it is also known as chammanthi podi. Here's a recipe with a picture

        I'm curious Zeb, why did you think it would have ground neem leaves?

        1 Reply
        1. re: anthead

          Some of the references I found mentioned neem as a possible ingredient. Naturally I can't find them again. But being as it's a spice mixture (and probably varies quite a bit) and I'm not an expert, it was only a possibility, hardly an absolute.

        2. here are some more links to south indian recipes for this stuff. It seems to be a pickle (achar) powder or paste used as a condiment with rice. Most of these recipes are made with various citrus leaves as well as curry leaves. there is a note on the web of such a paste being made with neem leaves and eaten by gandhi, but I didnt see any recipes.

          as to ponni, its the name of a rice popular in tamil nadu - maybe that theory is as good as any other, since its eaten with rice. Or it might be a place name - or a brand name. A tamil would have to tell us!

          vadugapulian narangai leave achaar[Veppilaikatti]

          vadugapulian narangai leaves.Remove the stem and centre thick narambu only leave portion is required 3 cup
          red chilli 8 to 10 decrease or increase according to your taste
          curry leave 1 cup
          ajwain 1 tbs
          asafoetida one small lemon size
          salt to taste

          dry roast the ajwain and red chilli,asafoetida.Powder it with salt and tamarind.It can be done in mixy.But vaduga pulian leave,curry leave and masala should be beaten in the hole of the attukkal will be the correct way of mixing.It will mix well and the vepillaikatti came well after this proceses.Make small orundai.If keep in the fridge it will be fresh for years.Best compination to curd rice and more satham.

          Variation:In tamilnad veppilaikatti is prepared with Narthankai leaves and lemon leaves.

          Narthalai Podi (Veppilaikatti)
          Take some bitter-orange leaves(narthalai) and pick the leaves separately. Remove the center line of each leaf and wash well. Grind whole red peppers, salt and asafoetida in a blender and add the leaves to this and grind finely. Store in a tight container so that the moisture in the powder does not go away.This will taste great with curd rice.