Ellu podi (spiced sesame seeds powder) is delicious and aromatic dry chutney powder.
I completely forgot its existence until my father spoke of it recently. The ellu podi holds a lot of special memories for me. It was a Saturday staple at home. For those who are not familiar with the dish, it’s a common prasadam (offering) in many South Indian temples.
Appa would make a small, fresh batch of ellu podi every Saturday to mix with rice and offer as prasadam. I looked forward to it each week, and would savour the podi sadham with delicious, crispy vadam. It was so loved that much after I grew up and moved cities, I would pack a tiny container to last me a month or so before I could access a top-up.
Recently, my father called to tell that he had made a fresh batch of ellu podi and that the home is filled with the aroma of the condiment. #MEMORYTRIGGERED
Just like that, I was instantly taken back to my teen years when ellu podi was a weekly affair. My urge to make this only got stronger as Appa discussed the day’s menu in detail. Quickly, I noted down his recipe to make my own batch. There was one problem.
My Indian food loving husband has never tasted Ellu Podi ever and was apprehensive as about trying it. Imagine my disappointment when he didn’t share my excitement for a delicious dish that I love!
I just requested that he keep an open mind about this. He agreed and sure enough, I made a fresh batch of Ellu Podi at home. I tossed hot, steamed rice, a heaped teaspoon of the podi and a drizzle of sesame oil. And guess what? He loved it!
It was such a hit that he has been picking this over Idly/Dosai Milagai Podi or Thenga Podi for his tiffin. He is clearly developing a new-found love for the condiment. Now, I am glad that we can share the love for Ellu Podi.
Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do in our home.
- Black sesame seeds – 1/4 cup
- White sesame seeds – 2 heaped tbsp
- Urad dal – ¼ cup
- Whole peppercorns – ½ tbsp
- Dried red chillies – 8 to 10
- Curry leaves (optional) – 2 sprigs
- Asafoetida – ¼ tsp
- Salt – As required
- Heat a pan.
- Dry roast urad dal and asafoetida.
- Roast until fragrant and golden brown. Transfer to a clean plate.
- In the same pan, dry roast dried red chillies and black pepper corns.
- Remove the roasted ingredients and transfer it to the plate with urad dal.
- Toss the black and white sesame seeds.
- Roast them in low flame.
- Stir continuously until it is fragrant and starts sputter.
- Transfer the roasted sesame seeds to a separate dry plate.
- Toss in the curry leaves and stir around until it is roasted; you could even do this in the retained heat of the pan.
- Allow all the roasted ingredients to cool.
- Grind the roasted sesame seeds. Grind the ingredients in short bursts or use the ‘Pulse’ mode in the mixer. If ground for a longer time, the natural oils in sesame seeds may make the podi too clumpy.
- Set aside the ground sesame seeds.
- Coarsely grind all the remaining roasted ingredients with the required salt.
- Now add the ground sesame seeds to the mixer and give it a short blitz to combine the ingredients.
- Transfer the podi to a clean, dry container.
Serving Suggestion: Mix a heaped tablespoon of ellu podi with hot rice, millets or sevai with a drizzle of sesame oil or ghee.
- Add or omit ingredients to suit your taste.
- If you prefer to use only one type of sesame seeds, do so. Note that it may alter the colour of the final output.
- To add more texture and flavour, you could roast some channa dal along with the urad dal.