Ellu Podi or Spiced Sesame and Lentils Dry Chutney Powder

A Spiced Sesame and Lentil Dry Chutney Powder from South Indian Cuisine that transforms your breakfast staples, especially Idlis to another level.

Ellu Podi or Spiced Sesame and Lentils Dry Chutney Powder

Ellu Podi or Spiced Sesame and Lentils Dry Chutney Powder

Though the recipe of Ellu Podi has been around since ages as part of the South Indian Cuisine, I fell in love with this spiced dry chutney powder post my marriage on our trips to our hometown – Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu. One of the hotels in Tirunelveli served the Ellu Podi  along with some piping hot idlis with a generous drizzle of ghee or clarified butter and I was immediately in love with it. Though this Ellu podi or spiced dry chutney powder has similar ingredients to that of the quintessential and famous Gunpowder or Molagapodi, the aroma and the flavor of the black sesame seeds really stands out, making it now a must have list of podis or powders that I grind every month when the stock replenishes.

Now, you may ask what is the difference between black sesame seeds and white sesame seeds? Well, not that much. It’s basically similar with the only difference that black seeds have their hulls or shells intact whereas the white ones have theirs removed. You may have noticed the toasted white sesame seeds sprinkled over the lovely starters or appetizers in Chinese restaurants along with finely sliced or chopped spring onions. It’s nutty taste is appealing and adds a great flavor to the dish, not to mention sesame seeds are extremely healthy (read the health benefits below). The Black sesame seeds are the ones that are cold pressed into producing the flavourful sesame oil.

How to make Ellu podi or Sesame dry chutney

Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of consuming Black Sesame seeds. Information source credit – livestrong.com

    • They are an excellent source of magnesium and calcium that are essential minerals help regulate blood pressure, reduce the likelihood of developing tension and migraine headaches (triggered by blood vessel spasms), reduce the occurrence of airway spasms in asthmatics and regulate sleep patterns, especially in women suffering from menopause-induced sleep disturbances.
    • Consuming zinc-rich foods, such as black sesame seeds, reduces the risk of suffering from bone fractures caused by reduced bone density (common among the elderly) or osteoporosis. 
  • Black sesame seeds help lower serum cholesterol levels (which contributes to cardiovascular health) in several ways. They contain two unique substances known as sesamin and sesamolin. These substances belong to a group of fibers called lignans (flaxseeds are another rich source of lignans). Lignans are rich in dietary fiber and have a cholesterol-lowering effect.

Please don’t go by the not so great looks of this podi or chutney powder. I assure you, once you mix them along with some sesame oil or clarified butter and smear them on your hot idlis, you are guaranteed to convert the not so idli crazy people into going for seconds. Trust me, when I say this, as I am not fond of idlis either but with this ellu podi or chutney powder, I have managed to eat them without complaining how bland idlis are by themselves.

By the way, if you need a fail proof recipe to make idlis at home, here is the link – Idli Platter.  

Do read the recipe below, make a batch of this podi and I assure you that this will be your go to podi recipe especially for idlis at home.

Ellu Podi Or Spiced Sesame and Lentils Dry Chutney Powder


  1. Black Sesame Seeds (Black Til) – 1 cup
  2. Urad Dal or Split Black Lentils or Black Gram – ¾ cup
  3. Chana Dal or Split chickpeas – ¼ cup
  4. Whole Red Chilies – 5to 6 nos.
  5. Hing – a pinch
  6. Salt as per taste
  7. Sesame Oil for roasting – few drops

Method –

    1. Heat a non-stick pan or small kadhai, add urad dal with a few drops of oil and roast the dal on low heat until brown and then keep aside for cooling.
    1. In the same pan, add Chana Dal and a few drops of oil, roast the dal on low heat until they turn slightly brown and then keep it aside for cooling.
    1. Roast the whole red chilies with a drop of oil on low heat until nice and crisp and then keep it aside for cooling.
    1. Add the black sesame seeds or til to the hot pan & once they start toasting, they will splutter / pop (which takes few seconds only). Keep them aside for cooling.
    1. Once all the above ingredients have been cooled slightly, add them into a mixer grinder jar along with salt as per taste and some hing.
    1. Grind the contents into a slightly coarse powder. Please refer to the picture for the texture.
  1. Transfer the contents into an airtight glass container. Stays good for atleast a month.


Recipe Notes –

    • Ideal to sprinkle on hot idlis and drizzle them generously with sesame oil / clarified butter or ghee. You can also use this podi or spiced dry chutney powder to sprinkle on your other South Indian breakfast specials like upma or dosa.
    • You may reduce the quantity of red chilies in case you don’t prefer spicy food. I have used pondi red chilies that don’t give out much colour but are extremely spicy.
  • I’d recommend not replacing Black sesame seeds with white ones as the flavor and taste will not be the same.

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Vidya Narayan

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Vidya Narayan

Hi Everyone, I am Vidya Narayan & Welcome to my blog MasalaChilli. Born in a Traditional Palakkad Iyer (South Indian) Family with strong value systems to an exceptionally strong and independent Single Mom, spent most of my childhood studying well (as most Iyer girls do).

This Post Has 33 Comments

  1. Lovely flavorful sesame powder !

  2. Great post! Very interesting to read about the health benefits of sesame seeds. Very nice recipe as well. I’m sure black sesame podi and idli’s go very well together!

    1. Glad you liked it. Yes they really go well together. thank you!

  3. Love chutney powders 😋😋sesame powder we usually don’t prepare…I will try this and let you know how it turned out 😊😊thank you for sharing dear!!!

    1. My pleasure dear.. I started this only post my marraige 6 years back & since then I have been in love with it.

  4. Never heard of black sesame powder….sounds very interesting Vidya….must be damn yumm with hot piping rice✔

  5. Never heard of black sesame powder Vidya….sounds very interesting….must be damn yumm with hot piping rice✔

    1. absolutely delicious. I would recommend having it with breakfast as accompaniments instead of rice. For rice, the spice content has to be slightly less & the qty of dals or lentils should be more.

  6. This spice mixture looks great and it must be so aromatic when the ingredients are all roasted releasing their flavours.

    1. I completely agree with you. The flavour is lovely. Thank you so much!

  7. Wow Vidya I m salivating as I read thru the recipe, we love sesame idly podi, on hot idlies and idhyam nalayennai, it is out of the world!!

    1. Priya, you said it ma, nallayennai with ellu podi is super combo and my husbands fav too at home. Thanks dear, glad to know you!

  8. Absolutely gorgeous and tasty powder, I bet it taste and aroma must be amazing!

  9. Looks really interesting 😊
    Will bookmark it to try later👍

  10. Reading the health benefits the colour doesn’t matter. It looks so nice.

  11. Hey Vidya, I hope this go weill now. Sesame powder is new to me. But a very healthy one to consume.

  12. Lovely podi, need to try this. Make other varieties, not this.

    1. Thanks dear, please do try, I am sure this will be a regular feature at your home, esp for idlis.

  13. Mymother in law makes this lovely podi and serves with rice. Yumm. Yours looks so beautiful, the black and white contrast is superb.

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