How to Make Idli Podi - The Traditional
Mix Enjoyed in Tamil Nadu Cooking

Making your own super versatile idli podi takes a bit more time to put together but is well worth the extra effort. This flavourful mix is used widely in Tamil cooking and the blend is often infused in oil and used as a dip for traditional breads. It can also be used as a tasty all-purpose seasoning for numerous dishes. (See the bottom of the page for links to more of my recipes)

What You'll Need: (makes about 1 cup)

6 tbsp Bengal gram (chick pea)
5 tbsp urud dal (black gram)
4 tbsp coconut flakes
2 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp chili powder
4 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp salt (see note)
2 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp asafetida powder
25-30 dried curry leaves

tbsp = tablespoon
tsp = teaspoon


  • Add the cumin, coriander, peppercorns, fenugreek, gram and dal to a dry pan
  • Over a medium heat dry toast for a few minutes until you can really smell the fab aromas (stir or shake the pan whilst toasting)
  • Once they're toasted take off the heat, add to a bowl and let them cool
  • Once cooled, add to your grinder along with the salt and coconut flakes and grind
  • Add the ground ingredients to a bowl and stir in the asafetida, chili and garlic powders
  • Finally, crumble in the curry leaves and give another stir

Store your idli podi in an airtight jar out of direct sunlight. Use within 2 months before making a fresh amount. Click here for detailed tips and photos on toasting and grinding ingredients. (Link opens in new window)

Note: I use flakes or a quality rock/sea salt for my seasonings as I find these add the best flavours. However, you can happily use regular table if that's what you have available.

Ingredient Note: To get the most out of this recipe, I use a few whole ingredients as these will give the best flavours. If you don't have them all use pre-ground powders and reduce the quantities by half. For example, for 2 tablespoons of cumin seeds you use 1 tablespoon of pre-ground cumin. Reduce any others you don't have whole by half as well and stir in with the other powders when making. You will need whole gram if you want an authentic tasting blend.

Idli podiHomemade Idli Podi

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