Summers in South India are for juicy mangoes, the unrelenting blaze of the sun, the...
Veppilai Katti: An explosion of flavour
I remember my father eagerly eating a green powdery substance as an accompaniment with his curd-rice many a time for dinner while I was growing up. I would wonder why my Dad would pick such an unappealing dish/pickle routinely to go with his dinner. It might seem like the tantrums of a child but what stuck to me was its very strong smell. Many a time, he would try to feed me this as I grew up and most times I would end up transferring it to my mother’s plate or straight out run away from him . It was his favourite and his mother’s favourite and here I was, his daughter who refused to eat something he believed was extremely good for one’s health and he was at a loss on how to get me to eat it.
Fast forward a few years(I don’t want you thinking that I’m old) I am at a stage where I have fallen in love with this unique preparation. Veppilai Katti or Narthalai podi as it is known in some regional dialects, is made using Citron leaves, lemon leaves, tamarind , salt , red chillies, ajwain. You might wonder what are the health benefits of Veppilai Katti? It is known for its digestive properties that ensure that all the rich food that we consume are properly processed by our systems. Vepillai Katti is a great side for curd rice as its flavors blend with the curd and makes the working of their magic easier. The intoxicating scent of the citron leaves are the driving force behind it, and the flavor bombs that erupt as we bite into one tiny morsel of Veppilai Katti is a feeling only those who have tried it can vouch for.
I was very reluctant to try it for the first time and as someone who’s not a fan of curd rice too( my grandmother is probably rolling in her grave) Veppilai Katti is the perfect mixture of flavors and transforms the food that you eat. Vepillai Katti can be mixed in tiny quantities with your daily dose of buttermilk too and acts as a refresher thanks to its tangy flavor that leaves you feeling great for the rest of the day. Some say Veppilai Katti serves as a pickle because I have seen elders eat it with just about anything. Some of Veppillai Katti’s uses are as seasoning with rice,( be sparing), as a spice mix in rasam and just taking pinches of it and popping it into their mouths just for that hit of freshness. The Kerala style Vepppilai katti is a specialty as the citron grown there are unique to that soil and thus intensify the flavors that hit you. If you are one of the cool lot who have already tried it then wait no more as Aha Bazaar brings them and delivers them to you, right here in the UK. If you are one of the skeptical people like my younger self, it’s high time you tried it because I promise you it won’t disappoint. Don’t judge a book by its cover nor Veppilai Katti by its looks. Order your Veppilai Katti in the UK now, to get that hit of tangy freshness in each bite.