When I think of my childhood in Bengaluru, India, my most vivid memories are of food—buying spices from burlap sacks at corner shops, choosing the perfect mango at open-air markets, and savoring freshly fried fritters and chai while huddled against the monsoon rains. I also think of a homemade seasoning powder called chutney podi that we put on everything. Whether sprinkled on rice for a quick flavor hit or mixed with oil to make an easy dip, chutney podi was the secret ingredient of my childhood.
Years later, as I raised my family in the USA, I introduced my children to the Indian flavors of my youth. I sprinkled these spice powders on my family’s plates at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That’s when it hit me. The chutney podis of my childhood were versatile enough to add depth and flavor to any food. And… KAPOW! Chutni Punch was born.
Ajji was my maternal grandmother, the undisputed champion of squishy hugs and belly laughs. And like grandmothers the world over, Ajji’s love language was making food and feeding it to her loved ones.
Chutni Punch is dedicated to her.