It is impossible for us to understand South Indian cuisine completely, so at some point we stopped. For how do you truly claim to understand something so diverse, so rich, and something that is ever evolving. The number of local and foreign influences here is mind-boggling in itself, besides that, how can we ignore the pronounced use of seasonal ingredients. No seriously, how many of us can name all the vegetables that are used in a bowl of Sambhar? Then there are regional variations to take into account as well, Sambhar in Andhra is remarkably different from that of Tamil Nadu, which in turn, is nothing like the sambhar from Karnataka. Even when it comes to idli, the moment we hear about it, most of us start picturing the round, steamed puffed cakes made rice batter, often neglecting countless other varieties of idlis that are equally drool-worthy.

Podi idli are a bunch of mini idlis made with lentils that come covered in a thick coating of a vibrant podi masala. The tantalising podi masala which is the most important component of the recipe is made by roasting urad dal, chana dal, peanuts, dessicated coconut, red chillies and other whole spices. This red spicy, coarse mix is hot, pungent and rich. It is categorized as a chutney, even though it has a dry, powder-like consistency. You would be surprised to know that there are many dry chutneys in India and Podi or Gun Powder is arguably the most popular contender on the list.  

The podi idli can be served with sambhar or coconut chutney, but it holds its own even without any side dish. Here’s a lovely recipe of podi idli that you must try to truly understand the hyper surrounding it. A dash of ghee could take the experience up by a notch.