Dry coriander powder or ‘dhane chi pood’as we call it in Marathi – something I cannot cook without. Not only is its presence important, it is very important that it is home made. First – it’s use. It is used in all dry sides – sprinkled after the sabji is cooked to give it a crispy texture. Example, in bhindi, potato or arvi. Next, it is a major ingredient in the stuffing in most stuffed vegetables. Though it has an aromatic and pleasant taste, I would confess that I love it more for its texture than taste. Now, why homemade? That is because I have failed to appreciate the dark colored, tasteless saw wood dust they sell in the market with the name of coriander powder. I tried all brands – all found unfit for use. Hence, whenever I run out of it, I jot down coriander
powder seeds to my grocery list. I prepared it even in my short, 4 month stint at the US – using my $6 blender – giving satisfactory results. If I am not able to make it, I rather cook without it, but never use the market substitute.
Pretty simple to make, this can be stored in bulk in an airtight container for months. For safty’s sake, I store mine in a Ziploc bag in my fridge.
Ingredients – Sookha dhania / Dry coriander
1. Handpick the dhania for any unwanted pieces of gravel, mud. These, if ground along with the dhania pods, will add disaster to the powder – you will end up tasting sand in all the dishes you add it to.
2. Dry roast the dhania pods in a wide wok for 3 to 4 minutes, on a low flame, stirring in between. We are not trying to ‘cook’ the coriander – we only need any moisture to escape.
3. Switch off the flame, forget about the coriander for an hour or longer (let it cool completely).
4. Put the dhania in a blender/ mixer/ grinder and powder them. We want it rough textured and non-uniform, not a very fine powder.