Podi – Spicy Fairy Dust!

Podi is a spicy condiment made as an alternative for chutneys. It’s specially invented for busy moms and lazy cooks. Since chutneys take more time to make we wanted an alternative that is quick, easy and has a longer shelf life. Tada! Podi is born!

Podi is a very flavorful dry powder made with different types of lentils or roasted chickpeas and spicyred chilies. We usually mix this with sesame oil or ghee and have it as a side especially with idlis and dosas. It’s also sprinkled on top of prepared dishes to enhance the taste. Believe it or not, our kids love it.

My daughter came up with a wonderful name for this condiment, “Spicy Fairy Dust!”

Yep, she is right! Just a sprinkle makes everything mighty tasty!

Idli/ Dosa Podi – Spicy Lentil Powder

If you visit any of our households, you will see this tasty trio sitting on our dining table as a center piece. It is one awesome condiment which we South Indians can’t live without.

Tasty Trio – Sesame oil , Podi and Ghee

Let’s see how to make this tasty podi…

📍This recipe yields – 1 jar


  • Urad dal – 1 cup
  • Red chilies – 25 broken = 1 cup
  • Asafetida – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt – 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Garlic – 2 small pods
  • Oil – 1/2 teaspoon

📍Podi can also be made with the following Dals /Lentils

  • Urad dal -ulundam parrupu
  • Chana dal – kadalai paruppu (dry split chickpeas)
  • Or a 50\50 mix of both dals

* I specially make it with urad dal since it has very unique aroma!

📍Keep in mind – The spiciness depends on the variety of chilies you are using.

  • Long dark ones are mild
  • Small light red chilies are spicy

First we need to toast the ingredients

  1. Add oil in a pan heat it up, then add the whole chilies and roast it for a couple of minutes. Keep it in a medium flame.
  2. The chilies need to crisp up and become aromatic
  3. you should be able to hear the sound when you move them around
  4. And the seeds inside need to be browned as well.
  5. You literally have to keep your eyes on it, If the chilies get too dark it gives a bitter taste.
  6. So do not rush this process.

📍Since this process takes sometime, I came up with a short cut…

  • I break the chilies into pieces and toast them
  • This way you can clearly see.
  • when the seeds get the brown color you know the chilies are toasted as well.

  1. Immediately transfer the roasted chilies to a clean dry plate and let it rest for sometime.
  2. In the same hot pan add the Urad dal and toast it until it gets the golden brown color and a nice aroma
  3. Now add the asafetida, mix it well
  4. Add the chilies back, add the salt mix it well.
  5. Take it out of the heat and let this stay in the pan until it comes to room temperature.
  6. It will be nice and crisp at this point.
  7. Now it’s ready to be powdered.

  1. Transfer the mix to a blender
  2. Pulse it until it becomes a coarse powder
  3. Now add the garlic pods with the peel, it’s very important because it helps the garlic blend very well with the rest of the mix.
  4. Pulse it just until the garlic is well mixed.

📍Keep in mind the podi must have a slightly coarse texture so don’t blend it into a fine powder.

📍If you see garlic peel here and there it’s totally fine it actually adds a lot of flavor.

📍But if you see chunks of garlic take them out, otherwise it gets sticky and reduces the self life of the podi.

📍The mix gets slightly warm once you finish blending, so let it rest for sometime before you transfer it to a jar.

📍Podi tastes really spicy on the day you make it, but if you let it rest for a day, the flavors get a chance to meld very well and make it taste perfect.

📍Keep it in a air tight jar, it stays fresh for a month.

Let me show you how we south Indians eat this 🌶spicy Podi

Podi Dosa with coriander chutney. Doesn’t this look so appetizing?

Idli with Podi and coriander chutney

South Indian Podi – Milagai Podi

If you are new to Indian cuisine and you have never tried this condiment before do give it a try. Many south Indian restaurants serve this podi with dosa or idli along with the other chutneys. It won’t be that spicy since it’s mixed with sesame oil to bring down the heat. It has a nutty taste and crunchy texture. 📍I would say it tastes very much like a dry version of hummus. Hope you love it as much we do! Enjoy!! .




Published by Latha @ savvysouthindian.com

Copyright © All rights reserved.


6 Comments Add yours

  1. InspiresN says:

    Hi Latha, I have nominated you for the blogger recognition award. Please do checkout

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Nisha, thank you so much for the nomination, I really appreciate it! Your blog showcases your love for food and photography so beautifully. I’m such a big fan of your recipes, I’m so thrilled to see those lovely pics on Instagram. Self hosting is not an easy thing, you are doing an amazing job. Your site looks beautiful and classy!! You deserve this recognition!!Keep up the good work!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful presentation

    Liked by 1 person

  3. InspiresN says:

    so well presented and the podi tastes out of the world! nice post Latha!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ramyarecipes says:

    One of my favorite Podi latha.. perfect explanation 👍

    Liked by 1 person

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