Idli Podi, Milagai Podi or Gunpowder is the quintessential South Indian condiment

A delicious accompaniment that can be enjoyed with Dosa, Idli, Uttapam, Pesarattu etc. I also love to eat it with Rice. 

The nutty taste and the toasted spice flavor is truly delicious making this Idli Podi a must have in my pantry always. 

I learnt to make this many years ago from my friend Shanthi, when I lived in the Maldives . Her idli podi was unlike any that I’ve ever had. I was pregnant with my second son that time and lived on the island. Shanti would lovingly make me delicious South Indian meals and pampered me endlessly with her cooking. She is an exceptional cook and my love for South Indian food has a lot to do with the food she fed me.



The ingredients used to make Idli Podi are simple pantry staples we cook with every day. Chana and urad dal, whole red chillies, curry leaves, garlic and sesame seeds are all toasted and pounded to a coarse powder along with salt and tamarind. This powder can be stored in a jar in a cool dry place for a couple weeks or can be stored in the refrigerator for months.


More ingredients like black pepper, flaxseeds, jaggery, asafoetida etc can be added to enhance the flavor of the Podi. To give a brighter red color use Kashmiri mirch or Mathania Mirch. Some recipes add a little Ghee or oil while roasting the ingredients however I do not use any oil. I feel that the Sesame Seeds have enough oil to make the Podi come together.



Although I enjoy Idli podi with almost all South Indian food, I especially love to make Podi Idli

To make simply add a tbsp of Idli Podi to a bowl along with 2 tbsp of hot Gingelly Oil or Ghee. Toss in some hot idlis and mix well. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Do tag me on Instagram @supaintsonplates #supaintsonplates if you make this recipe. I would love to hear from you.



IDLI PODISurabhi Sehgal
A vibrant and flavourful roasted lentil and spice mix. The quintessential South Indian condiment.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Sides
Cuisine south indian


  • 1/4 Cup Chana Dal
  • 1/4 Cup white Urad Dal
  • 2 tbsp Sesame Seeds
  • Whole red chillies to taste
  • 1 tbsp seedless Tamarind
  • 4-5 Garlic cloves
  • 10-12 Curry leaves
  • Rock Salt to taste


  • In a pan dry roast separately Chana dal, Urad Dal, Sesame Seeds, whole Red Chillies, and Curry Leaves. 
  • Once each of these is roasted until aromatic, transfer to a plate to cool.
  • Transfer all the roasted ingredients along with Tamarind and Salt to a mortar and pestle or a blender and pound to a coarse powder. 
  • Transfer the powder to an airtight jar and use as needed.
Keyword Gunpowder, Idli Podi, Milagai Podi

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