Kuzhambu Milagai Thool


Every family has its own little secret recipe for podis and powders which make their food taste different from ours. And thats one simple reason why “The grass always look greener on the other side”. A slight alteration in the proportion and adding few this and that could make a lot of difference in taste and texture of the dish prepared. In typical Tamilian homes, instead of using chili powder and dhania powder separately they substitute with Mixed Gravy Powder (Kalantha Milagai Podi). In some homes its just a combination of dry red chili and coriander seeds, while some include extra items to give good aroma and texture. Here is my family recipe for one such all-purpose gravy powder which we usually make in bulk and store for up to a year. The key ingredients are sun dried for few days and then dry roasted in huge kadais and then sent to mills to get it ground to a fine powder. Then its air-dried for few hours and stored in air-tight boxes sealing tightly.

I’ve given the recipe for bulk and as well as in cup measures. For not so fortunate friends who do not visit home town that often could use this recipe to make a small batch using a dry mixie. There’s always a difference in texture when ground at home, the dry mixie has only got limited capacity or power to grind the ingredients and will look coarse how much ever you grind. Whereas the mill ground podi will have fine soft powdery texture which gives rich colour and thick gravy consistency.

This powder can be used for Sambar, Kaara Kuzhambu, Pulusu, Meen Kuzhambu, Kurma Preparations, Varuvals, Dry Gravies, Poricha Kuzhambu, literally any recipe which calls for red chili powder and dhania powder.

Kuzhambu Podi / Kuzhambu Thool / Chettinad Kuzhambu Podi / All-purpose Milagai Podi / Kalavai Milagai Thool / Milgai Podi / Kalatha Milagai Powder / Spice Mix / Spice powder / Spice Podi / Kulambu Thul / Kolambu Podi / Aracha Podi / Kuzambu Podi / Masala Powder

¼ kg Dry red chili (long)
¾ kg Dry coriander seeds
100 g Black pepper corns
100 g Cumin seeds
100 g Split red gram / thuvaram paruppu)
50 g Fenugreek seeds
25 g Turmeric powder
25 g Curry leaves
50 nos Dry red chili (long)
1½ cup Coriander seeds
¼ cup Split red gram / thuvaram paruppu)
¼ cup Black pepper corns
¼ cup Cumin seeds
1 tbsp Fenugreek seeds
1 tsp Turmeric powder
10 nos Curry leaves


For the Bulk : Ingredients under table-1,  Sun dry each item separately except curry leaves and turmeric. Then dry roast one item at a time (except turmeric) until they release nice aroma, they should bear the colour (shown above) when roasted. Let cool and then send it to the mill for grinding along with the pack of turmeric to mix. When they are back, spread on a newspaper and air-dry for few hours. Then store in air-tight boxes.

For the small batch : Ingredients under table-2, Dry roast each item in a plain tawa or pan except turmeric. Roast them until the colour turns to light brown or aroma awakens. Let cool and then grind them using an Indian  mixer mate or dry coffee grinder in small batches. Use turmeric while grinding and spread the ground powder on a paper to dry or cool. If its too coarse then i would suggest you to use a sieve or jalladai to filter the big ones and grind them again. Cool them before storing in air-tight boxes.


Spice level can be adjusted according to your family needs, this one is definitely very spicy as it includes chili and black peppercorns. Turmeric and curry leaves are optional and can be added directlly when cooking.

Normally would add 3 tsp of this powder, for a dish which serves 2 (approx) substituting the related items.

Some kuzhambu powders include bengal gram but we personally ignore as it makes the gravy too gooey. Addition of Toor dal ensures thick gravy and helps to increase quantity if feeding a large family.

Yield: Small batch would yield about 1.50 cups (approx) of Kuzhambu Powder. This could last about 2 months depending on use. The bulk will yield roughly 1 kg of powder.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Orkut
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn

25 comments to Kuzhambu Milagai Thool

  • Premayap

    Hi Mullai. Just signed up cos wanted so much to try your kuzhambu milagai thool. But need some help with proportion. Not sure how much to use for say a small fish curry and if I should use plain curry powder on top of your podi? Pls help. Would it be too much to ask for a recipe?

    • Prema,
      Kuzhambhu thool can be added along with your regular chili powder, its similar to sambar powder. The toor dal, cumin adds volume to the gravy consistency by thickening it. You may also use it plain but need to add more but remember this has got toor dal which will make your gravy or curry look very thick. I would recommend about a tablespoon or two for Kaara Kuzhambu , Fish kuzhambu and sambar varieties and about 1 to 2 teaspoon for your varuvals+ your regular chili powder.
      Follow this Fish kuzhambu recipe and add about 1-2 tablespoon of Kuzambhu thool add little water to adjust the consistency if its too thick.


      This recipe will serve 3-4 members. Hope this helps. Thanks.

  • monapaul

    hi mullai , thank you so much ,ive been trying for so many brands for kulambu millagai as itis bit hard to get homemade at my place in us.now i can make my self with right proportions.

  • jasmine

    Hi Mullai,
    This is jasmine,I am a regular visitor of this site. Can you give me a tip how to make meen kuzhambu and kurma with this powder?
    thank you.

  • spicygirl

    Hi Mullai, I am new to this site. I tried some of your recipes. All came out excellent. Really you are doing a good job. Now I am visiting this site regularly and doing new attempts. I referred this site to three of my friends. I have a question about this recipe. Can we do this thool in Ultra Grinder? Will that comeout as soft as the one we get from the mill? Eagerly waiting for your reply. Thanks Spicygirl.

    • Mullai

      Spicygirl, only a heavy duty blender with small jars, Indian mixie or mixer mate, Coffee grinder will work. Ultra grinder is for wet stuff and it will not work of podis and powders. thanks.

  • shalinivenkatesh

    hi mullai,

    as usual smashing recipe with pics……
    u have mentioned to matilda tht this if used along with sambhar podi, will taste good, so wat wud be the proportions?
    i use 2.5 tsp of sambhar podi. so how much shud i use along with this podi??


    • Mullai

      Shalini, if you add both then use more of this podi and 1 tsp of your podi. Sambar powder is usually concentrated so start with a tsp first and if you can tolerate then add some more. My kuzhambu podi is all-purpose.. so red chili and dhania plays a major part with the rest used mildly. While regular sambar podi will have more of Toor dal, mustard, fenugreek and bengal gram. Thanks.

  • matilda

    thanks mullai for the advice,i'll try soon and let u know and another big thanks for creating such a wonderful website esp newly married women like me i used to call my mother while making any food preparation .u saved my phone card,once again thank u very much mullai

  • matilda

    hi mullai,
    am i supposed to use both sambhar podi as well as kuzhubhu milagai podi while making sambhar

    • Mullai

      Matilda, sambar podi includes just few other items like bengal gram and mustard along with these and the proportion slightly varies. But that doesn't mean you cannot use this, it will still taste good when made with this podi provided well seasoned. Sambar podi is not always a must, if added gives good flavour.

  • m.viji

    mullai kuzhambhu “milagai thool” Dhool, Dhool.

  • S.Priya

    Fantastic presentation..will be very helpful for ppls leaving in abroad n out of stock of this precious spice powder..simple superb..

  • Sadhanaraveen

    Wow Mullai very nice presentation anmd explanation,,kalakiteenga ponga!!!

    Sadhana Raveen

  • Arthi Selva


    Simply superb.. I have been asking this podi preparation from many people.. but the way you explain is really good. no words to appreciate

  • vijayaperumal

    Hi Mullai,

    Please send me two bags of Kuzhambu Milagai Thool ASAP. Looks like just came out of the grinding mill. Very nice.

  • kaviarun

    Thool Dhool kilapputhu…..non stop-aa kalukkunga, vera enna solla??

  • rashmisasi

    The picture is really innovative..Thanx mullai’

  • jlakshmi


    Fantastic.. I have some stock left from India.. surely will try them as soon as I finish my current batch. They look so so yummy. I will add this to my favorites and keep it handy. sorry for being so dump.. what does 1.4 cnt
    Black pepper corns means. ( ingredients 2). Can you give that measurement in terms of cups / numbers / tsb.

    Thanks & Regs

    • Mullai

      Hey Lakshmi, thanks.. there was some error in settings, I fixed it. Those are cups and default setting (count) got up there somehow and I missed it. Thanks !!

  • swathi

    Mullai, Kuzhambu milagai thool is great, I was looking for it last week. See you came up with this week . Only a week difference

  • shaliniprabhu

    Dear Mullai,

    I lack words to appreciate you .These are essentials which matters a lot.Just a small doubt,is there a chance that we could get some bugs when we store for a long time.

    • Mullai


      If using in India, then they would do this powder every 3 months depending on family needs. They stay fresh and bugs free, provided stored properly. Normally only a small quantity is used in kitchen and rest stored undisturbed until use in a safe place in your pantry. Seen some sun-dry every month to avoid bugs.

      The batch which I get from India to use it here are all well vacuum sealed in small plastic bags and stays in a box. Every time I grab one pack and use, when i run out of stock, then go for grinding small batches which usually last for a month. Repeat the process until my next visit. Moreover making too much in advance also has got limitations, they tend to become stale, the colour and spice level changes. Thanks.

  • Vijitha

    Wow Mullai.. Did you really took brief break?. I dont think so.. You have come up with different varieties of food. Wow nice presentation Mullai.. VIJI

    • Mullai

      Viji, thanks… pazhaka thosham… thirutha mudiyathu!!! Actually i make these often, running short of supply, its been a year since my last visit.

Leave a Reply





You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

January 2015
« Dec