Idli Podi is a pretty standard accompaniment to most South Indian breakfasts, especially with idly and dosa as a dipping condiment — and curiously, it’s great on toast, too! It is a simple combination of roasted lentils and chilis, ground to a coarse powder, and mixed with sesame oil before eating. The crunch and heat really do wake you up!

Idli Podi: Indian Spicy Lentil Condiment [Vegan]



  • 1/4 cup black lentils
  • 1/4 cup green lentils
  • 1/4 cup chana dal (dry split chickpeas)
  • 4-6 long dry red chilis
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida powder, garlic powder, or onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons curry leaves (optional)
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Over low-medium heat, roast each of the lentils separately in a few drops of oil until the lentils turn light brown and become fragrant.
  2. Roast sesame seeds without oil until slightly browned.
  3. Add long red chilis and curry leaves in what oil remains in the pan until the chilis are browned and curry leaves dark green and crisp.
  4. Add salt and asafoetida on the warm ingredients. Let everything cool completely.
  5. Grind all the ingredients in pulses until slightly coarse.
  6. Spread out on a plate to dry and cool. Store in an air-tight container for a month.


Yields 1 cup.