A lso known as Chammanthi podi, Veppilakatti is a Kerala classic, made with either curry leaves or lemon leaves, spice-roasted coconut, and spices. With a spicy, tangy taste, it’s a good accompaniment to curd rice or any type of hot rice.

To make it, grind the grated coconut. Then roast the coconut along with the leaves, shallots, and red chilies in coconut oil, till it turns deep brown. Once cooled, grind together the coconut, red chillies, and the leaves. Then add the shallots, tamarind, and salt, and grind again till it’s a fine powder. The dish will remain unspoiled for a month even if not refrigerated. Every household has a slightly different recipe, with a different mix of spices and leaves when preparing this side dish.

Curry leaves, one of the common base ingredients of the dish, come with several health benefits. They’re a strong antioxidant which reduces the risk of heart disease and helps manage diabetes. They help with stomach ailments like constipation and diarrhoea, and act as a natural pain reliever. They have antibacterial properties, which help prevent infections, and stems hair loss, dandruff, and dry scalp. They also detoxify the body and prevent the accumulation of fat, leading to weight loss.