Idli Podi (Milagai Podi) is a South Indian condiment that is popularly served with steamed idli. It is earthy, smoky, spicy, and slightly crunchy and you can make a big batch in just 20 minutes.
Here are some more South Indian condiments that you may like – Karivepaku Podi and Andhra Style Peanut Chutney Powder.
About This Recipe
Podi or Pudi in South India means powder. Idli Podi (Milagai Podi) is a South Indian accompaniment that is popularly served with steamed idlies.
There are a variety of podi made in South India but this Milagai Podi is the most popular. It is also called Gun Powder, Idli Karam Podi, or Chutney Podi and each region has a slightly different way of preparing it with the basic ingredients remaining the same.
It has an earthy, smoky, nutty, and spicy flavor and it is slightly crunchy in texture. The powder is vegan and can be easily made gluten-free by skipping the hing (asafetida).
This podi is super versatile and apart from serving it with idli, it can be sprinkled on literally anything that you eat. It stays good for almost a month in the refrigerator. So make a big batch and enjoy!
To make this Idli Podi, you will need – white urad dal (split skinned black lentils), chana dal (Bengal gram), white til (sesame seeds), hing (asafoetida), curry leaves, dry red chilies, and fresh coconut.
I like to use Kashmiri Red Chilies or Byadagi Chilies to make it as they are not too hot and give a nice color to the powder. You can use any chili that you like. You can even adjust the quantity according to your taste.
If you don’t have fresh coconut, you can replace it with desiccated coconut or dry coconut.
To make the recipe gluten-free, skip adding hing.
How To Make Idli Podi
Add ½ cup white urad dal, ½ cup chana dal, and 2 tablespoon white sesame seeds to a pan and roast over medium-low heat until slightly browned and fragrant (4-5 minutes). Keep stirring while roasting. Once roasted, remove them in a large bowl.
Note – If the ingredients are not roasted on low heat, they do not get crunchy from inside, and the texture of the podi will not be good. It also reduces the shelf life of the podi.
To the same pan, add 2 teaspoon of vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add ¼ teaspoon hing and 15-20 curry leaves. Fry for 8-10 seconds. Remove in the same bowl with the lentils.
Add 20-25 dry Kashmiri red chilies to the pan and roast for 3-4 minutes. I used Kashmiri red chilies as they give a nice color to the podi and are not too spicy. Remove them to the bowl.
Now add ¼ cup of grated fresh coconut to the pan and toast till slightly browned (3-4 minutes). Remove on the same bowl.
Let the mixture cool completely.
Note – Cooling the roasted ingredients properly before grinding is important otherwise the sesame seeds can release their oil and the podi can become oily.
Transfer the cooled ingredients to a grinder or a food processor along with 2 teaspoon salt and grind to make a coarse powder. If your grinder is small, then grind the podi in batches. Once all of it is ground, mix all the batches together.
Store the podi in a glass container for up to a month in the refrigerator and use it as required.
Pro Tips By Neha
Try to keep the ingredients in strong sun for a day for the best result.
Use fresh good quality ingredients.
Stir the ingredients often while roasting and roast them on medium-low heat.
Cool the ingredients well before grinding. Grind them in short bursts otherwise, sesame seeds can release the oil and the powder will become be moist.
You can grind the power coarse or smooth. I like to keep it slightly coarse as I like that texture.
Use a fresh dry spoon to take out the milagai podi.
With garlic – To make Milagai Podi with Garlic, finely chop ¼ cup of garlic. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan and roast the garlic until browned and crisp. Add it to the below-mentioned recipe.
With Peanuts – You can roast ¼ cup peanuts and add them to the recipe. Almonds work great too.
Andhra Style – To make the Andhra version, replace sesame seeds with coriander seeds.
Flaxseed – Add ¼ cup of roasted flaxseeds to the podi.
Milagai Podi can be served for breakfast with dishes such as Dosa, Masala Dosa, Idli, Rava Idli, Rava Dosa, Uttapam, Neer Dosa, Upma, Set Dosa, Semiya Upma, Paniyaram, etc.
Mix it with some hot Gingelly Oil (Sesame Oil), Coconut Oil, or hot Ghee and smear the mixture over the idlies.
I like to sprinkle some over my Curd Rice for a nice kick.
You can smear it over the dosa while cooking it and either serve it plain or add some spicy potato masala on top to make Podi Masala Dosa.
If you are stir-frying the leftover Idlis, add some of this powder to add that spicy flavor.
You can serve it on the side with your South Indian meals or just sprinkle it over Rice along with ghee.
You can also add this Gun Powder in your dry sabzis, curries, and pulav to add an instant flavor to the recipes.
I like to sprinkle some in my sandwiches too.
Idli Powder can be made in bulk and can be refrigerated for up to a month in an airtight container. Make sure you use a dry clean spoon to take it out.
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Idli Podi Recipe
- Food Processor
- ½ cup split and skinned black lentil (white urad dal)
- ½ cup Bengal gram (chana dal)
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds (white til)
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- ¼ teaspoon asafetida (hing)
- 15-20 curry leaves
- 20-25 Kashmiri dry red chilies
- ¼ cup grated fresh coconut
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Add white urad dal, chana dal, and white sesame seeds to a pan and roast over medium-low heat until slightly browned and fragrant (4-5 minutes). Keep stirring while roasting. Once roasted, remove them in a large bowl.
- To the same pan, add vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add hing and curry leaves. Fry for 8-10 seconds. Remove in the same bowl with the lentils.
- Add Kashmiri red chilies to the pan and roast for 3-4 minutes. I used Kashmiri red chilies as they give a nice color to the podi and are not too spicy. Remove them to the bowl.
- Now add coconut to the pan and toast till slightly browned (3-4 minutes). Remove on the same bowl.
- Let the mixture cool completely.
- Transfer the cooled ingredients to a grinder or a food processor along with salt and grind to make a coarse powder. If your grinder is small, then grind the podi in batches. Once all of it is ground, mix all the batches together.
- Store the podi in a glass container for up to a month in the refrigerator and use it as required.