Idli podi is a flavorful condiment made of lentils, seeds and spices. It is known by different names such as milagai podi, gun powder, idli karam podi or chutney podi. Pudi or podi is a generic South Indian term that refers to powder. Since it is eaten with idli, it is known as idli podi. The recipe shared here will yield you idli podi that has a unique flavor and taste. It is a good addition to serve with idli topped with sesame oil or hot ghee.
1. Dry roast red chilies till they turn crisp. Set this aside. Dry roast urad dal and chana dal on a medium flame till lightly golden and aromatic. Transfer these to the plate. I did them together. The red chilies didn’t crisp well this way.
If you are making idli podi in more quantity then you will need to roast the chana dal and urad dal separately as each dal has different roast timing.
2. Add curry leaves. I prefer to dry roast instead of using oil. If you prefer you can fry them in oil but the podi may not blend well with oil.
3. Dry roast on a low flame till they turn crisp. Set these aside as well.
4. Add sesame seeds, cumin and coconut. Fry until the sesame seeds begin to crackle. You can also roast them separately. Using copra gives the best taste and flavor instead of using ready desiccated coconut.
You can also replace sesame with peanuts. Fry until peanuts turn aromatic and light brown.
5. If using garlic add it now. Then toss for a while. You can skip garlic but it adds a good flavor. Cool all these ingredients.
How to make idli podi
6. Powder finely red chilies and dals first. Scrape off the sides of the blender jar, then add sesame seeds, coconut, cumin, garlic and salt.
7. Powder them. If you try to blend all the roasted ingredients together, it may yield a very coarse powder unless you have a powerful blender.
Serve idli podi with idli & ghee.
Store idli podi in an airtight glass or steel jar. It keeps good for several months. Different regions made idli podi in different ways. Here are some variations:
Variations of idli podi
1. Traditional Tamil style milagai podi is made of only 6 ingredients – urad dal, chana dal, sesame seeds, red chilies, hing & salt. However ingredients like jeera, tamarind, jaggery & garlic are also included by many.
2. Andhra style idli karam podi is made in so many different ways. Each region has their own variations. The ingredients are the same as shared in the recipe card below. But includes coriander seeds and excludes sesame seeds.
To make idli podi, I use chana dal, urad dal, dried coconut and sesame seeds in equal quantities. Dried coconut is optional but I prefer to use since it is high in calcium. It gives a nice nutty aroma but ensure to use fresh and good quality copra. Do not use rancid smelling coconut.
Red chilies are used to spice up the idli podi. To add flavor cumin and garlic are used. For health benefits curry leaves or flax seeds can also be added. These proportions work well to make a flavorful milagai podi.
I do not use tamarind and jaggery, only reason there is no way to filter and use them for this recipe, so i skip them. idli podi remains fresh for a couple of months if handled with moist free spoons.
I make idli podi with so many variations, you can try with peanuts, flax seeds or even with some almonds. This was another time I made with some peanuts instead of sesame.
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- ¼ cup chana dal or bengal gram
- ¼ cup urad dal or urad dal
- ¼ cup sesame seeds or peanuts
- salt as needed
- 6 to 8 red chilies (adjust to suit your taste)
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves (optional)
- 1 tablespoon cumin or jeera
- ¼ cup dried coconut (copra) or desiccated coconut
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- 2 teaspoon flax seeds
- tamarind as needed, cleaned
- jaggery as needed
Preparation for idli podi
- Wash curry leaves and pat dry.
- Clean all the ingredients, pick debris and discard.
- Dry roast chana dal and urad dal on a low to medium flame until golden and aromatic.
- Set them aside to cool in a plate. Next dry roast red chilies till crisp & remove to the plate.
- To the same pan, add curry leaves and roast on a low flame till they turn crisp.
- Set these aside as well.
- Add sesame seeds and cumin to the hot pan. Roast till the sesame seeds begin to splutter.
- If using peanuts, then dry roast the until deep golden and aromatic.
- Next add coconut,garlic and toss. Set this aside as well to cool.
How to make idli podi
- Powder red chilies and dal first in a blender jar.
- To the same jar, add the curry leaves, sesame, cumin, coconut and garlic.
- Also add in salt and blend to a powder. Store idli podi in an airtight dry jar.
- I have not used oil completely in this recipe. However you can fry the red chilies and curry leaves in hot oil. If you prefer to store the idli podi for a few months then avoid oil and coconut too in the recipe.
- I always use sesame and coconut in my idli podi as they are high in calcium & other nutrients. You may skip if you do not like or have them.
- Adjust the amount of red chilies. The number of chilies mentioned in the recipe will give you a moderately spiced idli podi.
- For variations you can also use roasted peanuts or flax seeds.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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