Thirunelveli Poondu Milagi Podi


Idli Milagai Podi has many versions and this one is my favourite which I learnt from family friends who are from Elenchi (Kutralam / Cutrallam side), a small town in Thirunelveli district. Most of their podi preparations include whole black gram (with skin), black sesame seeds , or combination of lentils which give a unique smoky flavour. Here is a simple version of one of their style which would sure tingle your tongue-tations.

Idli Milagai Podi / Idli Podi / Spice Powder / Dosai Podi / Thirunelveli / Gun powder / Kara Podi / Thool / Milagai Thool / Milagai Podi / Garlic Powder / Velluli Podi

10 nos Dry red chili (long)
¼ cup Bengal gram (kadala paruppu)
¼ cup Black gram (whole with skin0
10 clove Garlic
15 nos Curry leaves
¼ tsp Asafoetida powder
1½ tsp Salt (exact)
1 tsp Black peppercorns
½ tsp Cumin seeds
1 MarbleSz Tamarind
1 tsp Oil


Take a non-stick pan or kadai, heat few drops of oil and start frying each item separately until well browned. Follow this order (whole black gram, Bengal gram, dry red chilies, black peppercorns, cumin seeds and curry leaves). Remove and let cool. Now add remaining oil and fry the garlic cloves(skin removed) for 4 minutes over  low medium flame, remove and let cool. Now grind roasted dal and garlic along with salt, tamarind and asafoetida to a coarse texture. Serve as a side for idli or dosai with a light drizzle of sesame oil.


Indian variety baby garlic cloves will suit very well for this recipe, but its also ok to use large ones, partially removing the skin would result in whitish garlicky flakes show up here and there in the podi, which give nice appearance and texture. If using American garlic (malai poondu) then use 5 to 6. You can also substitute with regular skinned variety of black gram 9whole or split) but will result in slight change in the taste. Store in air-tight box for upto 3 months.

Colour of the podi will look dark brown with normal roasting, browning too much will result in blackish colour.

Yield: 1 cup approx.

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