Idli podi (or molaga podi or chammandhi podi or..)

Call it any name , the taste never fails. I’ve always loved the combination of idli and podi(who doesn’t), this particular recipe is from my mom’s mom. This is more intense, more flavorful and more salivating 🙂 There are a few brands of podi available in stores (in NJ that is, I am sure there are more options in India), but I usually find them to be either very mild or they look very reddish as if the red chillies are raw. This recipe is very simple, so I always make it at home.
If you just want a basic podi…these are the only ingredients you need.
Urad dhal – 1 cup (you can use urad dhal without the peel too)
Channa dhal – 1 cup
dry red chillies – 2cups (loosely packed)
These are just embellishments that add more layers of flavor. You don’t have to add these for a simple podi. If you are adding sesame seeds, the shelf life is less.Sesame seeds (black, brown or white) – 1 cup ; Garlic cloves – a few
Heat a pan and dry toast the lentils (urad dhal and channa dhal). Do not add oil, just toast them dry for a few minutes, until you get the flavor and the urad dhal becomes slightly pinkish.(Make sure to keep stirring to avoid burnt lentils).Image
Set the toasted lentils aside. Heat 1 tsp of oil and toast the chillies until they slightly change in color (again no burning).
Toast the sesame seeds in a tsp of oil.
Roast the garlic in a tsp of oil.
Let everything cool down for atleast 30 minutes. Then dry grind it to a coarse powder.
Add salt only after grinding. The right texture should be like beach sand, if you add salt while grinding, it will add moisture.
Hot idlis, podi, sesame oil and a cup of good Madras coffee…..mmmm….what a wonderful life !!
You can also add podi to spice up the idli upma.
Make “crispy idli fingers” (cut the idlis into finger shaped pieces and coat them with the podi and oil mix and shallow fry them. You won’t believe how crisp they come out.)Image

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