Sunday, June 28, 2009

Veppilai Katti

Veppilai Katti is an unusual condiment, a thick citrus-based paste. It's my favorite side-dish for thayir saadam. I have been craving for it since long... It reminded me wherever I saw lemon leaves or narthangai leaves I used to go around and pick the leaves from various places to make veppilai katti. Veppilai means Neem Leaf. I am not sure as to why our ancestors called this recipe Veppilai Katti when we don’t use Veppilai in it. The veppilaikatti is made by grinding up leaves of citron (narthangai) leaves, karivepilai (curry leaves), and lime or lemon leaves with red chillies, ajwain or omam seeds ,salt, and asafetida. This is ground with the juice of lemons or limes, and salt. The leaves used in this pickle are the tender leaves of lime or lemon trees, and citron (naarthangai) trees, . In this recipe, along with a few curry leaves (kariveppilai) the taste and smell of Ajwain over powers other ingredients and gives the some aroma and taste. Every ingredient in it is raw. There is no oil in it . The end result is a tangy, fragrant, mince that dances in your tastebuds. It enhances the food with an incredible flavor. The pickle is also an excellent digestive-aid.I often used to prepare this recipe in home. But for past two years I didnt get lemon I cant able to prepare this recipe. This time veppilai katti brought by my friend from native exclusively for me.

My method of preparing veppilai katti.


2 Cup- fresh, tender leaves of lemon or lime

1/2 cup -Curry leaves

1/2- cup citron leaves

2- tblsp Ajwain seeds

1/4 cup Dried Red Chili pieces

2 -tsps Salt

1- tsp Asafetida

Juice of 1 Lime + 2 teaspoons water


1.Wash the leaves well, and pat very dry with a kitchen towel.
2. If the citrus leaves are not tender and are a bit tough, remove the hard stalk/vein/petiole in the middle of the leaf.
3. In a dry-spice grinder, grind finely the following together: ajwain, red chillies, salt, and asafoetida.
4. In a blender, dry-grind (no water) all the grind all the leaves till it becomes a moist and crumbly paste. Using a spatula, stir it form time to time in between grinding cycles.
5. Put leaf mixture into a bowl. Add the ground spices, and mix thoroughly.
6. Add enough lime/lemon juice a little at a time so that the mince can be shaped into several walnut sized balls. You may or may not use all the lime juice indicated.
7. Store in a covered container, preferably in the fridge, so that it remains flavorful and moist.
8. Pinch off required amounts from each ball to serve with your curd rice.