A delicious Pahadi version of crushed red pepper, that is as sensational as it is addictive! Sprinkle it over pizza, your next fried egg or breakfast toast! Use it in your dal tadka or toss it with French fries or marinade some shrimp in it….this seasoning allows endless interpretations!
It’s origin lies in Gharwali cuisine, where it is made as a coarsely pounded accompaniment and was introduced to me by Shimpa. A rustic desi condiment from the heart of Uttarkhand, in it’s traditional avatar it’s left thick and coarse and is used as an accompaniment with simple Pahadi meals.
It is also popular with road side vendors who serve it alongside, salad, fruit or boiled eggs.
Since then I’ve reinvented it with my own contemporary twist to make it like a salty garlicky version of the Italian Crushed red pepper that can be stored in a convenient tabletop shaker and sprinkled at will!!
In my version, I reduce the amount of salt, grind the dried Pahadi namak to a coarse powder and convert it into a table condiment!
For 500 gms of chillies (use red, green or a combination), use about 300-400 gms garlic (depending on your taste). Coarsely pound them together in mortar pestle (for the brave hearted) or use the pulse action of your chopper instead! Cover with about 300 gms of salt, and lay out in the sun. As the salt gets absorbed in the juices of the mix, keep sprinkling salt in progressive 50 gms installments till the combined action of the sun n salt makes the mix completely dry. This process takes 4-5 days or even more…depending on the climate and the intensity of the sun! However if you plan to make it indoors, this can be made in a clean dry corner of your kitchen too!
At this stage your Pahadi Namak in its traditional avatar is ready for use.
For the contemporary twist….
Once the coarse mix is completely dry, pour it back in your chopper and grind it fine. Keep back in sun and dry out even more…till it resembles the Italian crushed red pepper seasoning. Store in a handy sprinkler…and use as you please!
Here is a pic of Pahadi Namak using a combination of red and green chillies….
As I fall more and more in love with this delicious spice, I keep coming up with new ways of using it!
I use it over my eggs, sprinkle it on hot buttered toast, rub it on corn, stuff it in slit mooli, use it as a garnish over hummus.
I’ve made khamiri rotis stuffed with this wonderful spice, cooked idlis flavored with it & marinated shrimp in it…. I even carry it in my hand bag to local pizzerias as a dash of this takes a regular pizza to a whole new level!