This is a coarse chutney powder made of dals (lentils), dried red chillies and asafetida, and to be found in most Palakkad Iyer and Tamil kitchens. Also pronounced as molagapodi by us, it is popularly known among the rest of the non-Tamil Indians as “gun powder” because of its level of spice from red chillies (milagai/ molagai) in it. Home-made versions are usually less spicier and when it is mixed with oil the spice levels are less discernible to the tongue. Milagipodi/ molagapodi is best eaten with idlis though it is excellent with dosas as well.
Usually, Milagapodi is made with urad dal and chana dal in a 2 or 3: 1 ratio.
In the version I make at home, I have incorporated a wider variety of dals. This gives a different but nice and nutty taste to the powder. I would like to believe this is healthier (though adding oil ensures health goes out of the window and calories come in)!
The ultimate combination would be idlis with milagaipodi. For me personally, if milagaipodi is available (and it always is in my home), then I would definitely give sambhar and chutneys a miss. My daughter totally agrees with me here.Mixed Lentil Chutney Powder (Milagaipodi/ Mulagapodi)
To serve, take a large spoon of the chutney powder and add spoonfuls of oil, as required. Mix to a thickish flowing consistency.
In fact, she almost always adds a bit of sugar to the milagaipodi and oil which my husband refers to as Akshaya’s “concrete”!!! He prefers his idlis and dosas with chutney or sambhar, though.
Traditionally, we use either sesame seed (gingelly) oil or “varutha ennai” (fried oil - direct translation) for Milagapodi. Varutha ennai is oil left over from frying pappads or other food and is never reused for frying. It has an interesting flavour. Regular cooking oil is just fine, too.