MilagaipodiMolagapodi / or Gunpowder as it popularly known, is a coarse chutney powder. It is made of lentils, dried red chillies and asafetida, and found in most Palakkad Iyer and Tamil kitchens. It is popularly known by 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. When 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.
Traditionally, Milagapodi is made with split Black Gram lentils (urad dal) and split Bengal Gram lentils (chana dal) in a 2 or 3: 1 ratio. However, one can add small amounts of other lentils to the mix if one chooses to. There would a minor difference in taste but would still be nutty and just as tasty. I usually use a combination of whole Mung lentils, split Bengal lentils and split black gram lentils. You can use whatever variety of split Black Gram lentils you can find, white or the one with the black skin still on it. Even whole Black Gram lentils without skin works. I also add sesame seeds, something I learnt from my mother-in-law.
To serve, take a large spoon of the Milagaipodi/ Molagapodi (chutney powder)and add teaspoonsful of oil, as required. Mix to a thick-ish flowing consistency. 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.
The ultimate combination would be idlis with Milagaipodi. For me personally, if Milagaipodi is the choice of accompaniment with idlis, dosas and a variety of other South Indian Tiffins/ breakfasts and I would never miss the usual chutneys or sambhar. Our daughter loves this just as much. 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.