If Sambar & Chutney is the popular side dish of Idli & Dosa; Idli Milagai Podi is the beloved one! A mix of lentils and red chillies; a spicy aromatic South Indian condiment that is mixed with Sesame oil while eating; a perfect side for Idli & Dosa.
There is no way to describe how much this humble spice mix with a dash of sesame oil enhances the flavour of a dish. Technically it is not a spice mix as we don't use this in cooking. But for the lack of exact translation, it is commonly known as Idli spice powder or Gun powder (I have no idea why it is called so!). Most of you know that chutney & Sambhar are the main sides of Idli & Dosa. But for the natives, it is this spice powder that is the highlight. This is a must even if you serve me with variety of chutneys and Sambhar. My husband always teases me saying that I am having Idli or Dosa as the side dish to this spice powder. But I can assure you that there are so many like me who can devour enormous amounts of milagai podi for a tiny piece of idli. Such is our love!
One of the favourite and popular way to eat, among the natives, is to dunk the idli in milagai podi and oil mixture. You can see the picture above to get an idea! Please don't let the colour frighten you. You can dunk as much as you want and also reduce the number of chillies while grinding the spice mix. This is kid-friendly and more importantly, it is travel-friendly. This is the most convenient snack or lunch to take during travel.
Idli Milagai Podi - A mix of lentils and red chillies; a spicy aromatic South Indian condiment that is mixed with Sesame oil while eating; a perfect side for Idli & Dosa. There is no one particular recipe for this mix. Every family has it own. After trying many versions; from friends and various cookbooks, I finally found the one that suits both our palette. This is a blend of my mom's recipe and from the most popular South Indian cookbook "Samaithu Par" by Meenakshi Ammal.
You can also check other Indian Breakfast
Various Other Idli Dosa Side dishes
Idli Milagai Podi - A spicy lentil powder . The spice powder is mixed with Sesame oil and is had as a side for Idli & Dosa.
- 1 tsp Ennai | Cooking Oil (Try to use a neutral oil)
- 1/2 Cup Kadalai Parupu | Bengal Gram
- 1 Cup Ulutham Parupu | Black gram ( husked or not)
- 10-15 no's Vathal Milagai | Red chillies
- 1 tsp Perungayam | Asafoetida
- Salt as needed
- 3 Tbsp Vellai Ellu | White Sesame seeds
Heat the pan on a medium flame and add 1/2 tsp of Oil. Once the oil shimmer, add the kadalai parupu and roast until it turns golden brown. Stir it frequently to prevent the lentils from burning. Transfer it to a plate.
Roast the ulutham parupu in the same pan until it turns golden brown stirring it frequently. Transfer it to the same plate and let them cool.
Add another 1/2 tsp of Oil in the same pan. Once it becomes hot, add the red chillies, stir frequently and turn off the flame when it changes colour.
Once the ingredients come to room temperature, grind the red chillies to an almost smooth powder. Then add the lentils, salt & perungayam in the same mixer jar and grind it.
Grind to a powder. Do not make it smooth. Little bits of coarse lentils are preferred and it gives a nice texture to the spice mix.
Cool completely and transfer it to an airtight container. The shelf life is about 2 months.
- Make sure to keep the spice mix dry and always store it in an airtight container. Moisture is its worst enemy. So use a clean dry spoon while serving.
- Add very little oil while roasting the ingredients. My mom uses oil only to roast the chillies. The oil reduces the shelf life of the product. I prefer to use a tsp so that it gives a nice aroma.
- Adjust the amount of red chillies as per your heat preference.
- Some also add jaggery to the spice mix.
- This recipe differs from house to house and there is always a slight difference in the taste.
Updated this recipe with new pictures.