Milagai Podi For Idli/Dosai

Srilatha Sides, South Indian Leave a Comment

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Milagai Podi For Idli/Dosai
Milagai means chili in Tamil, and podi means powder. This phrase could mean simply the red chili powder or the special, fragrant powder that is mixed with oil, and used as a side for idli/dosai. To differentiate, sometimes it's called dosai milagai podi in Tamil, or idli podi, or idli karam in Telugu (Telugu folks, please correct me if that's incorrect). In any case, this is always the backup option for dosa/idli when there is no time to make an elaborate sambar or chutney. Most South Indian households will always have this podi on hand and it's delicious on hot, steaming idlis as well as dosais. My kids both love, love, love this! It is typically mixed with oil, preferably sesame oil or nallennai as it's known in Tamil. My girl loves it with ghee, and my son sometimes will make it like a dip with yogurt and dip his dosai in it. Anyway you eat, it's a hit!
Course Sides
Cuisine South Indian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes, to cool
Servings
jar
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Urad dhal black gram dhal, husked, whole preferred; split dhal will also work
  • 1 cup channa dhal Bengal gram dhal
  • 1.5 cups red chilies can use less if you don't want it nice and hot
  • 3/4 cup White sesame seeds
  • 10-15 leaves Curry leaves
  • 1/4 cup dhania/coriander seeds
  • 5 tsp Salt
  • 3 tsp oil divided
  • 1 tsp Asafoetida/hing
Utensils And Tools
  • 1 Vaanali/kadai/pan
  • 1 dry blender/mixer/spice grinder
Course Sides
Cuisine South Indian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes, to cool
Servings
jar
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Urad dhal black gram dhal, husked, whole preferred; split dhal will also work
  • 1 cup channa dhal Bengal gram dhal
  • 1.5 cups red chilies can use less if you don't want it nice and hot
  • 3/4 cup White sesame seeds
  • 10-15 leaves Curry leaves
  • 1/4 cup dhania/coriander seeds
  • 5 tsp Salt
  • 3 tsp oil divided
  • 1 tsp Asafoetida/hing
Utensils And Tools
  • 1 Vaanali/kadai/pan
  • 1 dry blender/mixer/spice grinder
Instructions
  1. Gather all ingredients in a couple of plates
Main
  1. Take the pan and heat it on medium
  2. When hot, without adding any oil, add the sesame seeds to the pan and keep stirring; when they start to pop, remove to the plate
  3. Add 1 tsp of oil to the pan
  4. When hot, add the urad dhal and fry till golden; remove to plate
  5. Add 1 tsp of oil, fry the chana dhal till aromatic; remove to plate
  6. Add the last tsp of oil, and add the red chilies, and saute till they are coated and shiny and look polished; take care not to burn
  7. Add the coriander seeds, and the curry leaves and fry for a couple of minutes with the chilies
  8. Turn off the heat and remove the chilies, coriander seeds and the curry leaves to the plate
  9. Let the ingredients cool completely
  10. Take a little bit of each of the ingredients (this can get a bit messy), and powder in batches - as much as your blender/grinder will tolerate and still make a fine powder.
  11. Transfer the powder to a container
  12. Add salt and hing to the container, and give it a good mix. Serve with oil/ghee and with dosa/idli.
Recipe Notes
  1. I have used everything from a tiny spice grinder, to an Indian Sumeet style mixie, to my current Vitamix. Use whatever you have, but make sure it's ground to a fine powder
  2. It's important to not dump all of the ingredients in the grinder/mixer at once. Instead, do it in small batches.
  3. I prefer to have a mix of all ingredients in each of the batches I grind, instead of grinding the chilies separately, and the dhals separately and mixing them at the end
  4. Optional to add: a small, gooseberry sized piece of tamarind - warm it slightly with the chilies and powder with the rest. Adds a tangy taste
  5. Another variation is to fry 1/4 cup of coconut (fresh, or thawed frozen) at the end and add it to the powder
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