Idly/Dosai Milagai Podi

Growing up in a home where people loved a spicy hit in their food, it was not very hard to train my tastebuds to like milagai podi. This lentil and spice blend was a common feature in my home. It was so loved that the podi was preferred over chutneys and sambhar for idly/dosai.

My mum used to dedicate a Saturday to prep and make variety of podis to keep us going for a whole month or a little longer. The aroma of the roasting spices was delight and I can still smell it as I write it!

After my mum’s passing, we mostly resorted to buying podis from stores. Little did we know that my mum had meticulously written down the recipe in a notebook for future reference. Upon its discovery, my father has been making this podi.

Although this recipe is adapted from my mother’s version, my father takes the credit for improvising it and making it one of my go-to recipes. This recipe has become a staple in my home and my husband shares my love for it too.

So, here it I am sharing a much loved family favourite with you all. Posting this recipe awakens my South Indian soul. In most South Indian homes, this milagai podi is made, and each home has its unique little ‘secrets’ to make the powder taste splendid. And my father’s ‘secret’ is sesame seeds and jaggery.

Recipe Makes 500g plus a little more


  • Channa dal – 2 levelled cups
  • Urad dal (whole) – 3/4 levelled cup
  • Sesame seeds – 1 tblspn.
  • Dried red chillies – 100 gms or 1 heaped cup, stems trimmed
  • Sesame seed oil/ gingely oil – ½ tblspn.
  • Asafoetida – 1 tspn.
  • Jaggery (optional) – 1 tblspn.
  • Salt – As required


  1. Heat oil in a skillet, add channa dal and urad dal.
  2. Roast dal in medium flame.
  3. Keep constantly roasting until they are slightly browned.
  4. At this stage, add dried red chillies and asafoetida.
  5. Roast all the ingredients until the lentils are golden brown and the chillies are toasty.
  6. Remove the skillet from the flame, and transfer the contents into a plate.
  7. In the same pan, in slow flame dry roast the sesame seeds until golden.
  8. Once done, remove from flame and transfer to the plate along with the other roasted ingredients.
  9. Allow the roasted ingredients too cool before grinding.
  10. In a blending jar or a spice grinder, add the roasted ingredients. To it, add jaggery and salt.
  11. Blend into a coarse or fine powder depending on your preference.

Serving suggestion:

  • Serve this podi with gingely oil. It is a great side for idlies and dosai
  • Some like this podi with ghee, melted butter or sunflower/vegetable oil.


  •  You can omit sesame seeds if you do not like the nuttiness of it.
  • Garlic is a lovely addition. You can add roasted whole garlic cloves while grinding. Garlic powder or garlic flakes work just as well; add about 1 tablespoon while grinding.
  • Desiccated coconut roasted to a golden colour is another tasty addition.
  • I like my podi a little coarse and bitey. I stop the blending process one step short of a fine powder. You can grind it according to your liking.

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