During my childhood days, at my grandparents place, grandma used to make hot steaming idlis on woodfire. She would hurl up all us kids and make us sit in a circle. She would sit in the middle and keep the steaming idli pan, chutney, sambar, podi, and sesame oil next to her. She would go round one full circle dolling idlis out of the moulds directly into the plate. She would then drizzle a big spoon of sesame oil over them. As each kid had their preference, she would serve either chutney or sambar or podi to them. The podi was premixed in a big bowl with sesame oil. All that had to be done is whisk it a bit with a spoon and serve.
This method of serving the podi is quite common even now. The use of sesame oil makes it absolutely authentic to taste because in olden days cooking was done either in sesame or coconut oil.
The podi has found its way into the hearts of the younger generation as well. This can be had on a toasted bread as well. Just butter the toast generously and sprinkle a good helping of this podi and there you have it! This is how my son loves to eat it!
Another variation of having this is smothering idli’s with the oil-podi mix. This is a great lunch box idea and kids love it. Make it with mini idli’s or regular idli’s, they look cute and taste good as well. Mini podi idli’s are a great party snacks as well.
Since it is so commonly used weekly at my house, we have reduced the spice levels, that is, use of the number of red chillies in this recipe. I always make a double batch of this recipe. Almost 3/4th of the podi is stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer. I refill only a limited quantity as required so that they stay fresh in the freezer. They can stay in the freezer upto 6 months. So if you get hold of good quality dried red chillies, this would surely be one of the ways to use and store them.
25 red chillies, cleaned, stem removed,
1 cup urad dal,
1/2 cup chana dal,
1/2 inch piece of whole asafoetida,
1 tbsp of sesame seeds,
1 tsp oil from roasting
Salt as per taste
1.) Heat 1/2 tsp of oil in a non stick pan and fry the asafoetida until if puffs up. Remove and set aside.
2.) In the pan roast the red chillies. Remove and set aside.
3.) Next, roast the urad dal until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
4.) Roast the chana dal until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
5.) Roast the sesame seeds until they start to splutter. Remove and set aside.
6.) Once all the ingredients have cooled down, put them in a mixer and churn. Add salt and powder until its grainy in consistency. Check for salt and adjust.
7.) Once cooled, store in a sealed container. This stays fresh for 15-20 days.
8.) While serving, mix with sesame or coconut oil and serve idli or dosa.
Do check out more Masala Podi and Spice Mix Recipes here.