If you are a regular reader of Kannamma Cooks, you know the legendary kola urandai which is a signature dish of neikarapatti amma. This ellu podi is another signature dish on the breakfast table in Neikarapatti. This is my brothers’ favorite. So all year round, whenever Amma came to Coimbatore, this ellu podi was packed in stainless steel dabbas with initials and left at my aunts’ house for my brother. In those days, all dabbas/boxes were made of stainless steel or brass. He would have the initials of the lady of the house, carved on them. There would be so many dabbas going back and forth from one’s house. The initial would indicate the identity of the dabba and would be returned correctly. Then came the world of Tupperware and zippers. Aw! my beautiful eighties and nineties. Life was slow, people met more often in person, and life was just enjoyable. They are all but beautiful memories now! Back to this ellu podi! This is an excellent lentil powder that can be served with idli and dosa just like idli milagai podi. It also goes well with rice mixed with a little ghee. Here’s how to make ellu podi!
Ellu Podi – Sesame seed lentil powder for Idli Dosa and rice/saddam. Tamil style recipe of kongunad. Black Ellu Idli Milagai Podi.
We will be roasting all the ingredients separately. First we will toast the black sesame seeds. Traditionally seeds and lentils are dry roasted. But I add a teaspoon of peanut oil while roasting. It fry very well taking out the robust aromas. Take a pan and add a scant teaspoon of oil. Add the black sesame seeds and fry over low heat. Low Flame is the key when making any South Indian lentil powder. Cooking over high heat will burn the ingredients. Fry the seeds until they have a bright shine and are very hot to the touch. It will look oily. The seeds will begin to burst. That’s a sign that the seeds have been roasted. Remove from the pan and spread on a plate or newspaper to cool.
In the same pan add a teaspoon of oil and add whole white urad dal. Use unpolished urad dal. Roast the lentil until it smells nutty and the dal changes color. It should be golden in color. Always roast over low heat. That’s the key. Remove from the pan once the dal is golden. Set aside on a plate to cool.
In the same pan, dry roast the curry leaves and dried red chilies. Wait for the curry leaves to dry and the chili peppers to fluff. Remove from the pan and spread on a plate or newspaper to cool.
Spread all ingredients in a newspaper and let it cool completely
Add the cooled ingredients to a mixie jar. Add the salt and asafetida (hinge). Grind until a slightly coarse powder is obtained. If you like your powder to be soft, tap several times mixing between them. I like the slight crunch of the lentils. So I keep it a little thick. Grind until you get a consistency you like.
You can store this ellu podi at room temperature for up to 15-20 days. If you will need it longer, store the podi in zippered bags in the freezer. It stays fresh for up to 4-5 months in the freezer.
Mix the ellu podi with sesame oil (nallennai) or ghee and serve with idli or dosa. If serving with rice, add a teaspoon of the powder and a teaspoon of ghee to a cup of rice. Mix well and serve.