Simple Indian Recipes...
Delicious and healthy dishes that can be made even by first timers.

Idli Podi (With Sesame Seeds)

 Published 2008-Sep-24   Updated 2020-Jun-09

- Submitted by Dahlia

(இட்லிப் பொடி, Spicy Idli Podi with Garlic and Sesame Seeds, Kaaram Podi, Milagai Podi, Gun Powder)

Idli Podi, also known as gun powder or kaaram podi or idli milagai podi is a dry powder that is typically served with idlis or with dosais in Southern India. It is found in every South Indian household every time. Some hotels serve it too. Often times, South Indian hotels in other parts of India or other countries may not have this as an accompaniment. But there is no other combination that is more comforting than this one, if you ask any South Indian. 

I once had a North Indian friend of my brother who gave a surprise visit one night. Since we had already finished out meals, I had nothing else on hand. I decided to make him some hot dosas and serve with some idli podi. It was the first time he tasted it but instantly fell in love with it. I taught him the way we serve it -take one or two spoonful of the idli podi, make a well in between, pour a generous spoonful of gingelly (sesame) oil in the well and mix it till it is well combined. Take a piece of spongy idli or dosa, smear it with this podi mix and pop it in your mouth. Yumm!! He enjoyed this authentic way of mixing the podi with oil and eating with crispy dosas.

Other than this way of serving, the podi is often mixed in a separate bowl and then smeared on the entire idli. Normal idlis or mini idlis are used for this. It is known as Podi Idli and is a common dish taken during train travels, picnics and for school snacks. It is also sprinkled while making thick dosas (known as uthappams).

Coming to the recipe, I have already shared the basic idli milagai podi recipe with just a few ingredients. Today's recipe is the more aromatic, flavorful idli podi variation. In this a few additional ingredients are added like garlic, tamarind and sesame seeds. You can skip one or two ingredients if you do not like to add it. This type of idli podi is made in nagercoil, tirunelveli and madurai. So here is the recipe.

Recipe for Idli Podi

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 10-20


  • Urad dal - 1 cup
  • Chana Dal - 1/2 cup
  • Sesame seeds - 1/4 cup (Use white or black)
  • Dry red chilly - 10(as per your spice level)
  • Oil - 1 tbsp (optional)
  • Asafoetida - 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves - 2 strands
  • Fenugreek seeds - 5-8 seeds
  • Salt - as needed

Optional Ingredients

  • Garlic Cloves - 4-5 cloves
  • Tamarind - blueberry size
  • Peppercorns - 1/2 tsp
  • Flax Seeds - 2 tbsp


  1. Toast the ingredients in 1 tbsp of oil in a very low flame for 10-15 minutes until each ingredient is nicely roasted. Keep stirring constantly to prevent it from getting burnt. (Note :- Add the ingredients in the following order while roasting - Chana Dal, Urad dal, Sesame seeds, followed by the remaining ingredients. This will prevent the lighter ingredients from getting burnt before the chana dal gets roasted.)
  2. Roasting on stove top needs a little patience. You have to roast on medium low flame while constantly stirring till the dals turn golden brown. Only when the dals are properly roasted, the idli powder will taste good and have a good color. After the channa dal just starts changing color, add the urad dal. 
  3. After it starts becoming golden brown, add the sesame seeds. Almost immediately the sesame seeds starts popping. White sesame seeds are traditionally used but you can use black one too. In fact, in the above picture I have used black sesame seeds which gives a darker color to the podi.
  4. Next add the curry leaves, dry red chilies, asafoetida, garlic cloves, tamarind (if adding). After a minute switch off. The heat of the pan is sufficient to crisp up the curry leaves and dry red chilies. Garlic cloves and tamarind are optional but adds a very good flavor.
  5. Alternatively, you can spread out the ingredients on a cookie sheet and roast it in the oven preheated to 150 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
  6. I just let the ingredients cool down in the pan itself since I use a non stick pan. If you are using a iron pan which may retain heat longer, transfer the items onto a plate and let it cool.
  7. After it cools, add required salt and powder it using a blender or Indian mixie. You can make it a coarse powder or a fine powder.
  8. Store it in an air tight container for 3-6 months.


  • To make a healthier variation of idli podi, I sometimes add whole blackgram (with skin) to make the podi. You can also add 2 tbsp of flax seeds while roasting.

Serving Idli Podi

  • Take 1 tbsp of idli powder, mix 1 tbsp of sesame oil or coconut oil or ghee and serve.
  • If you prefer a sweet touch, take required amount of idli podi, add little sugar or jaggery, little sesame oil and mix it. Many people prefer to serve idli podi this way too.
  • You can also add 1 tbsp of this podi while making vegetable side dishes or while making omelette.

dli Podi (with sesame seeds)

More Dry Chutney Recipes

Sambara Podi Sambara Podi Idli Milagai Podi Basic Idli / Dosa Milagai Podi Flaxseed Gun Powder Flaxseed Gun Powder Neem Flower Powder Neem Flower Powder
See more ⟩⟩

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Comments (2)

Person   ()
Please let me know whether the whole black gram be added after urad dal and roasted?
Person   ()
You can use whole black gram instead of urad dal to make the idli podi.

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Old Comments

Comment by raji ramakrishnan
some people add a handful of roasted rice too along with all the above ingredients.

Reply :-
 Oh is it. Thanks for sharing the variation.

Comment by priya priya
 asaefoetida means wat
Reply :-
 Asafoetida is also called perungayam in tamil or hing in hindi.

Comment by mukesh kumar
 why don't you people add coconut in idli podi ingredients, very bad
Reply :-
 Hi Mukesh, Traditional idli podi does not have coconut. Are you a big fan of coconut?? I'll post a recipe of 'chammandi podi' soon which has coconut as its main ingredient.

 Published by on and last updated on 2020-06-09.