Idli milagai podi or idli podi is a popular side dish for idli and dosa made with lentils and dried red chilies! Check out how to make this delicious idli podi or chutney powder with detailed video and instructions.

chutney powder in a traditional ware placed on a tray with lentils and chilies on the side

While sambar and chutney are quite popular sides for idli and dosa, this idli milagai podi is also equally popular, and it’s one of the pantry staples in many South Indian kitchens. When I can’t make chutney or sambar, I resort to idli podi, so I always stock it up regularly.

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Making idli podi at home is relatively easy, and you don’t need any particular types of equipment either. We need to roast all the ingredients and grind them in a mixer jar or coffee grinder.

Other names for idli podi

Idli is the steamed rice and lentil cake, milagai means dried red chilies in this context, and podi means powder, and in this context, it means the spice powder that we serve as a side for idli, and hence the name idli milagai podi. Idli podi, chutney powder, idli molaga podi, gun powder, idli/dosa milahai podi are other common names for this lentil-spice mix.

Ingredients required

Every household has its proportion for idli milagai podi. In our household, we take an equal measure of urad dal and chana dal and add the dried red chilies accordingly.

Urad dal and chana dal – The two key ingredients used in idli podi, and as I mentioned, we add an equal measure of these two lentils. 

Sesame seeds: We add a minimal amount of black sesame seeds for enhanced flavor. For one cup of lentils, we add 1 tbsp of sesame seeds. You can add white or black sesame seeds.

Dried red chilies: I have used the Guntur variety of red chilies. You can use the local variety available. Depending upon the red chili variety, the color of the podi will vary and adjust the quantity according to the variety as well. 

Oil (optional): Yes, you can prepare the idli milagai podi without oil too. When you roast the lentils without oil, the color of the idli podi will be slightly pale. 

Apart from these ingredients, we also need salt and asafoetida. 

Dietary specifications and storing suggestions

This idli milagai podi is naturally vegan and nut-free. I highly recommend asafoetida but if you have gluten allergies, try using the gluten-free asafoetida.

Store the idli-podi in an air-tight container at room temperature. It stays good for up to 2 to 3 months. Make sure to use a clean and dry spoon every time.

gun powder served in traditional vessel placed on a tray with lentils and chilies on the side

How to serve idli podi

As you can see, idli podi is a dry powder. We typically take the required amount, mix it with sesame/gingelly oil and enjoy it with idli or dosa. Some use ghee or coconut oil too. But I typically prefer Indian gingelly oil and recommend the same. You can sprinkle idli podi when making dosa or uttapam. 

Podi idli: Take mini idli or regular idli, add a generous amount of idli podi and oil, and coat the idli thoroughly with the podi/oil mix for podi idli. This podi idli is my favorite lunch box recipe, and it’s a perfect travel food. 

Watch me make idli podi

How to make idli milagai podi

  • Heat a pan or kadai and when it is hot, first roast the black sesame seeds. No need to add oil for roasting the sesame seeds. Roast until it begins to splutter/pop. At that stage, transfer it to a plate.
  • Add ½ to 1 tsp of oil and roast the urad dal until it turns deep golden brown. Transfer it to a plate and set it aside. 
  • Add the remaining oil and roast the chana dal until it turns deep golden brown. You can add the asafoetida along with chana dal or urad dal. (PS – roast all the ingredients over medium-low heat)Transfer it to a plate and set it aside. 
  • Now add the dried red chilies and roast until they become crisp. As mentioned in the video, I missed adding asafoetida along with the lentils, so I added it while roasting the dried red chilies. If you are adding asafoetida with dried red chilies, after the red chilies turn crisp, add the asafoetida, let it cook in the residual heat for 30 to 40 seconds, and transfer it to a plate.
  • Let all the ingredients cool. First, grind the dried red chilies until there aren’t any big chunks. Add the roasted urad dal, chana dal, and black sesame seeds. Add 2 tsps of salt and grind it slightly coarsely. Taste the podi and check for salt, and if needed, add as required and pulse it again. Let the idli podi cool thoroughly before storing it in an air-tight container. 
overhead shot of idli podi placed on a tray with some podi mixed with oil

VVK tips and recipe notes

  • Always roast the lentils and chilies over medium-low heat. Do not roast it in high heat. 
  • Grind the roasted red chilies first, and then add the lentils so that the dried red chilies blend well with the lentils. 
  • Oil is optional, and you can roast the lentils without oil, too, and in that case, the idli milagai podi will be slightly pale.
  • Grind the idli milagai podi coarsely or finely, depending on the texture preference. Instead of grinding the powder in one stretch, use the pulse mode, especially for a coarse consistency. 
  • You can use black or white sesame seeds. The color of the idli podi varies accordingly. 
  • We regularly add black sesame seeds and a minimal amount for enhanced flavor. But you can increase it to ¼ cup, too, and in that case, it will be ellu idli milagai podi/sesame-flavored idli podi. When adding more sesame seeds, add them after grinding all the lentils and grind them using pulse mode as sesame seeds tend to release oil. 
  • Adjust the salt and dried red chilies to taste. Use byadgi or Kashmiri red chili variety for a bright red color idli podi. Start with a minimal salt amount and adjust accordingly. 

Explore other homemade podi recipes

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square image of idli molaga podi served in brassware

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Idli Milagai Podi | Idli Podi Recipe

Idli milagai podi or idli podi is a popular side dish for idli and dosa made with lentils and dried red chilies!

Prep Time2 mins

Cook Time25 mins

Cooling Time20 mins

Total Time47 mins

Course: Accompaniment

Cuisine: South Indian

Servings: 30

Calories: 30kcal

Ingredients

Measurement Details: 1 cup = 240ml; 1 tbsp = 15ml; 1 tsp = 5ml;

Instructions

  • Heat a pan or kadai and when it is hot, first roast the black sesame seeds. No need to add oil for roasting the sesame seeds. Roast until it begins to splutter/pop. At that stage, transfer it to a plate.
  • Add ½ to 1 tsp of oil and roast the urad dal until it turns deep golden brown. Transfer it to a plate and set it aside.
  • Add the remaining oil and roast the chana dal until it turns deep golden brown. You can add the asafoetida along with chana dal or urad dal. (PS – roast all the ingredients over medium-low heat)Transfer it to a plate and set it aside.
  • Now add the dried red chilies and roast until they become crisp. As mentioned in the video, I missed adding asafoetida along with the lentils, so I added it while roasting the dried red chilies. If you are adding asafoetida with dried red chilies, after the red chilies turn crisp, add the asafoetida, let it cook in the residual heat for 30 to 40 seconds, and transfer it to a plate.
  • Let all the ingredients cool. First, grind the dried red chilies until there aren’t any big chunks. Add the roasted urad dal, chana dal, and black sesame seeds. Add 2 tsps of salt and grind it slightly coarsely. Taste the podi and check for salt, and if needed, add as required and pulse it again. Let the idli podi cool thoroughly before storing it in an air-tight container.

Video

Notes

  • Always roast the lentils and chilies over medium-low heat. Do not roast it in high heat. 
  • Grind the roasted red chilies first, and then add the lentils so that the dried red chilies blend well with the lentils. 
  • Oil is optional, and you can roast the lentils without oil, too, and in that case, the idli milagai podi will be slightly pale.
  • Grind the idli milagai podi coarsely or finely, depending on the texture preference. Instead of grinding the powder in one stretch, use the pulse mode, especially for a coarse consistency. 
  • You can use black or white sesame seeds. The color of the idli podi varies accordingly. 
  • We regularly add black sesame seeds and a minimal amount for enhanced flavor. But you can increase it to ¼ cup, too, and in that case, it will be ellu idli milagai podi/sesame-flavored idli podi. When adding more sesame seeds, add them after grinding all the lentils and grind them using pulse mode as sesame seeds tend to release oil. 
  • Adjust the salt and dried red chilies to taste. Use byadgi or Kashmiri red chili variety for a bright red color idli podi. Start with a minimal salt amount and adjust accordingly. 

Nutrition

Sodium: 157mg | Calcium: 12mg | Vitamin C: 22mg | Vitamin A: 143IU | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 2g | Potassium: 50mg | Calories: 30kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Fat: 1g | Protein: 2g | Carbohydrates: 5g | Iron: 1mg

I am not a nutritionist. The nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It varies depending upon the product types or brands.

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