Idli podi is a South Indian condiment made by roasting together different lentils, spices and herbs to make a fragrant and tasty powder. This is mixed with a cold pressed oil of choice or ghee and used as an accompaniment with steamed rice cakes or flat rice pancakes etc
The recipes for these powders vary from one household to another with each family having many versions which focus on different ingredients like peanuts, curry leaves, coconut, garlic and so on.
The podi made with moringa leaves is a simple but effective way to keeping having small intakes of moringa goodness. It is easy to make and keeps well for a couple of months in an airtight container. This podi can be made with or without using oil.
Fresh moringa leaves - 2 Cups
Chickpea lentils (Chana Dal) - 1/2 Cup
White lentils (Urad Dal) -1 Tbsp
Moong lentils - 2 Tbsps
Dried red chillies - 3-4
Black peppercorns -1 tsp
Turmeric -1 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 Tbsp
Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Cold pressed sesame oil -1 Tbsp (optional)
Asafoetida - a pinch
Wash and dry the moringa leaves. Set aside on a plate.
Take a deep bottom wok and set on low heat.
(If using) add the oil and when hot, add the asafoetida.
Add in the dried red chillies, all lentils, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, turmeric and black peppercorns and roast on low heat for about 6-8 minutes until the ingredients are golden and aromatic.
Add the moringa leaves, salt and continue to toss on low heat until the leaves wilt and become dry.
Set aside and allow it to cool.
Grind to a fine powder and store in an airtight container.
To make without oil, simply follow the above steps and dry roast all the ingredients.
The traditional way to enjoy a podi is to heap a spoonful on the plate. Using the forefinger make a small hole in the middle of the mound.
Pour a spoonful of ghee or cold pressed oil into the hole and mix well. This can be an accompaniment to a South Indian tiffin or even be used as a spice marinade for vegetables or added as a flavoring.