2 teaspoon Indian Sesame Oil – (நல்லெண்ணெய்)
1 cup urad dal
1 cup chana dal
20 byadagi red chillies (or) kashmiri red chillies
10–15 guntur red chillies
100 grams sesame seeds
200 grams sunflower seed or any seed of choice (see notes)
Lime size tamarind, seedless
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (do not add more)
2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon asafoetida
2 tablespoon jaggery
Add in a teaspoon of Indian sesame oil and add one cup of whole white urad dal. Use unpolished urad dal. Roast the lentil until it smells nutty and the dal turns color. It should be really golden in colour. Always roast on low flame. That is the key. Remove from the pan once the dal is golden. Set aside on a plate to cool.
In the same pan and add in a teaspoon of Indian sesame oil and add one cup of chana dal (kadalai paruppu). Roast the chana dal in low flame until golden brown. Keep sauteing to avoid burning. Have patience and roast slow until the aroma comes and the dal turns color.
Remove from the pan once the dal is golden. Set aside on a plate to cool
Dry roast the chillies. I use a combination of the regular guntur chillies and my favorite byadagi chillies. The byadagi chillies are not hot. But they give a very nice colour to the podi. If you cannot get byadagi chillies, please substitute kashmiri red chillies. Also adjust the chillies according to the taste of your family.
Place the pan back again on the stove and add in the sesame seeds. Fry on low flame till golden. Keep sauteing and spread the seeds on the pan evenly so the seeds doesn’t burn. Sesame seeds burn fast. So roast on low flame until it starts to pop. Remove the seeds from the pan and set aside on a separate plate to cool. Keep the roasted lentils and the seeds separately.
Add in the sunflower seeds on the pan and slow roast till the seeds are golden. Set aside on a plate.
Add in the seedless tamarind and roast for a minute. Set aside. In the same pan, add in the fenugreek seeds and roast for a few seconds. Remove from heat and set aside on a plate to cool. Remember that fenugreek seeds are bitter and adding a lot will spoil the taste of the idli podi. A little goes a long way. So a word of caution on that. Go easy on fenugreek seeds.
The roasting is done. To the roasted ingredients, also add in the salt, asafoetida and the jaggery. At home, we like the slight, very faint sweetness that so well balances the tangy and spicy taste from the tamarind and the chillies. Jaggery is optional. Omit it if you don’t want to.
Let all the ingredients cool to room temperature.
Now its time to grind the podi. There is a tip I follow to avoid the seeds from becoming oil. Here is how I do it.
Add in about a cup of lentil mixture along with the chillies to the mixie. Grind till its a slightly fine powder.
On top of the ground powder, add in the seeds mixture and grind again. The lentil powder will help in keeping the seeds from becoming into oil. Do not grind for a long time. Use the pulse setting in the mixie and pulse it several times until it becomes a powder. Keep checking the mixie as the podi will go from powder to an oily mess in no time. All eyes on the mixie please!!!
Grind the lentil and the seed mixture in batches. Overloading the mixie will cause the mixie jar to heat up. Once all the ingredients are ground, mix the ground podi well. Taste for salt and add more salt if necessary.
You can store this idli milagai podi / idli molaga podi at room temperature for upto 15-20 days. If you are going to need it for a longer time, then store the podi in zip tote bags in the freezer. It stays fresh for upto 4-5 months in the freezer.
A note on the seeds used
This recipe makes a fairly large amount of idli podi close to about a kilogram (It disappears fast at my place). I have used 300 grams of seeds today. 200 grams of sunflower seeds and 100 grams of sesame seeds. The kind of seeds you use is totally up to you. Mix and match the quantity and it works perfectly well. Here is a list of seeds and nuts you can use for making the idli podi.
Seeds and Nuts: Pumpkin seed, Peanuts, Walnuts, Pine nuts, Flax seed, Chia seed, Hemp seed, Sunflower seed, Sesame seed.
Grinding the seeds separately makes the seeds to ooze out oil. So always grind along with the lentil powder. Lentil powder is our safety guard.
You may ask if its ok to grind the lentils and seeds together instead of grinding the lentils first and then adding the seeds and grinding again – Remember that roasted seeds grind fast and becomes into oil in no time. Whereas lentils take a longer time to grind. So grind the lentils first and once it is a powder, add the seeds and grind again so we are safe.
- Prep Time: 5m
- Cook Time: 20m