This lesser-known jewel of Monsoon Coast is the spicy southern cousin of our Bengali Panch Phoron. Kerala Chaunk is a mixture of whole spices, like Panch Phoron, which are sautéed in oil or ghee to bloom and release their essence. Our Kerala Chaunk evokes the hot tropical spirit of Kerala and combines spices popular in South India: Mustard seed, curry leaf, crushed chile, cumin seed, and fenugreek seed. It works great in soups, sambars and delicious poured over rice and vegetable dishes just before serving.
You want to cook with Kerala Chaunk as a whole blend almost always for both flavour and visual effect. Add 1-3 teaspoons of it to of hot oil or ghee and stir constantly until the seeds begin to sputter. You can do this in the beginning of your cooking or fold the spiced oil/ghee into your dish at the end. For additional freshness and zest, add fresh ginger, garlic or cilantro to Kerala Chaunk.