Idli Milagai Podi, also known as Idli Podi or Gunpowder, is a flavorful and spicy condiment commonly used in South Indian cuisine. “Idli” refers to a popular South Indian steamed rice cake, and “milagai podi” translates to “chilli powder” in Tamil, one of the languages spoken in the region. However, Idli Milagai Podi is not just a simple chilli powder; it’s a mixture of roasted spices, lentils, and dried red chillies.
The podi is typically made by roasting ingredients like dried red chillies, urad dal (black gram lentils), chana dal (split chickpeas), sesame seeds, and asafoetida. After roasting, these ingredients are ground to a coarse powder using a grinder. The resulting mixture is a flavorful and aromatic spice blend that can be used to enhance the taste of various South Indian dishes.
Idli and dosa, traditional South Indian breakfast items, often accompany Idli Milagai Podi. To enjoy it, dip a piece of idli or dosa into a small bowl of oil (usually sesame oil or ghee) and then into the Idli Milagai Podi, creating a flavorful and spicy coating on the food.
It’s worth noting that Idli Podi has many variations, and the specific ingredients and proportions can vary based on personal preferences and regional differences. It’s a versatile condiment that can also be used as a seasoning for rice, curries, and other dishes to add a burst of flavour and heat.
About this recipe
Every family has their way of making this Podi. I am sharing a recipe my mother passed on to me. She makes the best Idli Podi ever. Every time she sends a package from India, she sends some Idli Podi too. Nothing can beat such homemade packages, right?
Thanks to always having homemade ones, I cannot relish store-bought powders anymore. Try this recipe once, and I am sure you will agree with me on this!
I am a big Podi Idli fan. I make a dozen Idlis, let them cool down and smear those Idlis with Milagai Podi. Makes my mouth water every single time.
No road travel is complete without Podi Idlis. When you’re on a road trip in South India, especially in places like Tamil Nadu, you might come across roadside eateries or vendors specializing in serving quick and satisfying food options for travellers. Podi Idlis are a popular choice in such settings. Usually, when we travel, Mom makes sure she packs adequate podi idlis for all of us. We somehow enjoy homemade ones better.
Podi Idlis are ideal for road travel because they are easy to eat with your hands, don’t require much mess, and can be enjoyed on the go. They provide a satisfying and flavorful snack that helps keep travellers energized during their journey.
How to make Idli Milagai podi
Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.
Add the dried red chillies. Roast until they become crisp and slightly darker in colour. Transfer to the plate.
Add Urad Dal to the pan. Roast until they turn golden brown and aromatic. Transfer to a plate. Repeat the same with Chana Dal.
In the same pan, roast sesame seeds until they start popping. Transfer to the plate.
Allow all the roasted ingredients to cool down to room temperature.
Combine the roasted ingredients, asafoetida, and salt in a grinder or food processor.
Grind everything into a coarse powder. You can add jaggery if desired and grind them together. Adjust the coarseness based on your preference.
Let the ground mixture cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container.
Store the Idli Milagai Podi in a cool, dry place. It can be stored for several months.
Frequently asked questions
Can I adjust the spice level?
You can adjust the spice level by varying the number of dried red chillies you use. More chillies will make the podi spicier, while fewer chillies will make it milder.
Can I customize the ingredients?
Absolutely! Idli Milagai Podi recipes can be customized based on personal preferences. You can experiment with different proportions of ingredients or even add additional spices to create your unique blend.
Can I make a large batch and store it?
Yes, Idli Milagai Podi can be made in larger batches and stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Proper storage ensures that the flavours remain intact for an extended period.
How do I use Idli Milagai Podi?
Sprinkle or spread the podi on idlis, dosas, or other South Indian dishes. You can mix it with a bit of oil or ghee for a paste-like consistency, creating a flavorful coating.
What are some other uses for Idli Milagai Podi?
Aside from idlis and dosas, you can use the podi as a seasoning for rice, sprinkle it on snacks, or even incorporate it into curries or stews for added flavour.
How long does Idli Milagai Podi last?
Idli Milagai Podi can last several months when stored properly in an airtight container. However, for the best flavour, it’s recommended to use it within a few months.
Can I adjust the consistency of the podi?
Yes, you can adjust the texture of the podi by grinding it to your desired coarseness. Some people prefer a finer powder, while others like it slightly chunky for added texture.
Is asafoetida necessary?
Asafoetida adds a unique flavour to the podi, but you can omit it from the recipe if you don’t have it or prefer not to use it.
Variations in Idli Milagai Podi
Garlic Flavored Podi: Adding roasted garlic cloves to the mix provides a rich and slightly pungent flavour to the podi. The garlic complements the other spices and enhances the overall taste.
Coconut Podi: Some variations include desiccated or grated coconut, which adds a subtle sweetness and creaminess to the podi. Coconut also helps balance the spiciness.
Curry Leaves Podi: Roasted curry leaves are added to the base ingredients, providing a distinct aroma and earthy flavour. This variation is popular for its unique taste.
Peanut Podi: Roasted peanuts can be included to give the podi a nutty flavour and crunchiness. This variation adds an interesting twist to the traditional recipe.
Flaxseed Podi: For a health-conscious variation, you can include roasted flaxseeds. They add a nutty flavour and provide additional nutritional benefits.
Idli Milagai Podi | Idli Podi
- 1 cup Red Chillies
- 1/2 cup Chana Dal
- 1/2 cup Urad Dal
- 2 tbsp Sesame Seeds black or white
- 1 tsp Oil
- Salt as needed
- Asafoetida a pinch
- Jaggery optional, as needed
- Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the red chillies. Roast until they become crisp and slightly darker in colour. Do not let it burn. Transfer to a plate.
- Next, add the chana dal. Roast it on medium flame till it becomes aromatic and golden brown. Transfer to the plate.
- Add the Urad dal. Roast till it becomes aromatic and golden brown. Transfer to the plate.
- Finally, add the sesame seeds. Saute for a few mins or till it splutters. Remove and keep it aside.
- Allow all the roasted ingredients to cool down to room temperature.
- Combine the roasted ingredients, asafoetida, and salt in a grinder or food processor.
- When the powder is almost done, taste and adjust the salt if needed. At this point, you can add some jaggery if desired. Grind them together. Adjust the coarseness of Idli podi based on your preference.
- Idli Milagai Podi is done. Store it in a clean, dry airtight container.
- Serve with idli , dosa. Drizzle some sesame oil on top of it while serving.