Teesi – Indian Spiced Flax seeds Powder

Summer. A season not many appreciate or look forward to. Especially if it is anything like the summer one experiences in many parts of India. I, on the other hand, have a different story to tell.

For as far back as I can remember, I always looked forward to summer. The heat didn’t dampen my spirits. The train journey to my grandparents home, the love of mangoes and lychees, the day and night fun with cousins, the self-declared little or no studying just made it my favorite season of the year!

Every summer vacation started with a long train journey to visit my grandparents. A journey where getting the window seat was of utmost importance, almost like my life in the next 24 hours depended on it. Well, it almost was. With a constant gaze outside the window at surroundings that kept changing every kilometer or less, I soaked in the countryside of India. A journey where I could peek into the daily lives of many, often left wondering what their story was… Where little children played fearlessly beside the train tracks.. Where hawkers that came every few minutes made the journey seem worthwhile.

Mom always prepared meals for the train, so we never got to eat the meals sold onboard. I wasn’t too happy about it then. It was not until recently that I ate the meals served on the train. The verdict: A deep appreciation of my Mom’s efforts in preparing food for the entire family!

Summer vacation was synonymous to abundance of mangoes followed by lychees, all from my grandparents’ orchard. We would get boxes (or petis as they are called in the local dialect) of mangoes and lychees as they came in season – sheer bliss!

Apart from the freshest seasonal produce, we were privileged to have some of the best home cooked meals. My grandmother (or Mai as we called her) was one of the best cooks I have ever known. Her cooking philosophy involved using different types of spices but in the right balance. Every spice in her spice box came with a purpose and it was through the magic in her fingers that she would use them in the right place and the right proportion to transform something extremely simple to exemplary.

One of my favorite things that Mai prepared was “Teesi”. Teesi is traditionally had in Bihar. It is prepared by dry-roasting brown flax seeds together with some spices and stored as a powder. It is usually prepared and stored in airtight bottles to prevent moisture from coming in. We always packed Teesi on the way back home and enjoyed it for the next 2-3 months.

Indian Spiced Flaxseed Powder or Teesi

To Print this recipe, click here.


Flax seeds: 1 cup
Dried bay leaves: 3 small
Dry red chillies: 4 (Use more if you like)
Coriander seeds: 2 tablespoons
Salt: 1/3 tsp (adjust to taste)

How I Did it:

Heat a pan. On slow heat, Dry roast each of the ingredients above (except salt) separately. The ingredients should be roasted separately as the roasting time for each ingredient varies. In order to avoid any burning, make sure you stir continuously during the roasting process.

Flax seeds when done start to sputter. Be careful and make sure the heat is slow and the flax seeds don’t get burnt.

Once all the ingredients are roasted, allow them to cool.

When the ingredients have cooled off, combine all the ingredients together with the salt and dry grind it to a coarse powder using the dry grinder / miller attachment of your food processor.

Store in an air tight jar at room temperature. Teesi is usually had as a condiment with your regular meal or added to natural yoghurt (dahi) to make it more flavorful. You can simply add it to your regular Dal and Rice for adding flavor to an otherwise regular meal. The usual serving of Teesi is about 2 tablespoons. Having said that, food is a personal experience and has to be had in the way that one enjoys it. So, go on and enjoy this simple, healthy and flavorful condiment in the way you like it.


Author: Sublime Palate

food and thoughts...

49 thoughts on “Teesi – Indian Spiced Flax seeds Powder”

  1. So *that* is teesi – spiced flax seeds powder! Boiled rice mixed with teesi and ghee was a much-loved comfort food for me as a child. In my case too, at grandmom’s place during the summer hols. Long time since I had it…thanks for rekindling those memories. I should check with mom if my grandmom used the same recipe as yours.

  2. I absolutely love the way your memories knit together with such simple yummy food…makes for a very interesting meal…will try for sure

  3. I love your story! It’s amazing how foods are tied to memories from our childhood. My Oma always made brisket and to this day the smell takes me back to her cozy kitchen! This is a great recipe, I can’t wait to try it.

  4. Hey V congrats for winning the Liebster Blog Award, it was nostalgic to read about Teesi, i remembered my mom who is no more but definitely ur blog reminded me of her and i will also be get going for Teesi Luv u

  5. Thanks so much for that comment on my blog Vishaka!! If not for that I would not have known about your lovely blog. Loved this recipe and the photography. I have some flax seeds in my pantry. I will be trying this spice mix very soon. 🙂

    1. Hi Kankana, Thanks for coming over:) Many multi-grain breads have flax seeds as an ingredient. supposed to be highly rich in omega-3.. they come in 2 colors – dark brown and golden.

  6. My neighbour from Bihar used to make something like this – so nutritious..no? She also added some sesame seeds. Love it with yogurt as well as on top of dal & soups. I used to call it siitti (as in whistle) 🙂

  7. Lovely recipe! I always have a bottle of flaxseeds and this looks like a great way to include it into my indian meals! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. I’m glad to know a way to use the flax seeds in Indian cooking… I can have this with some steamed rice and vegan yogurt… now I’ve got to try it… my mouth is watering!

  9. First, I didn’t know brown flax seeds existed; second, I didn’t know they were used in Indian cooking too! I use the golden flaxseed meal though, for baking (egg substitute, sigh.) and sometimes add to wheat flour when making roti (my friend does this & said it’s healthy, so I started too).

    I’ve not heard about teesi, and I don’t think my mom made anything with it either. She usually put salt-sugar-cumin powder-red chili powder on curd, but this with completely different ingredients sounds intriguing.

    It was nice reading about your memories. And hehe, I think we all start to appreciate mom’s food more when we don’t get it 😛

  10. Hi my friend at Sublime Palate, this flax seeds recipe is wonderful. I spent my summer holidays in UP and never had a savory flax seeds preparation there. It was only teesi ka laddoo or burfee there. Later in my adult life I had a Bihari neighbor (from Bhagalpur region) who told me about this powder which they used for thickening gravies too. I never got around this recipe as the neighbor didn’t share her’s, but I started making some savory recipes with teesi after that. How wonderful to land up here and see what I was told long back 🙂
    Nice blog and good pictures to boot.

    1. Thanks Sangeeta:) I’m Vishakha.
      So glad you liked my blog and found this post useful. This is my grand mother’s recipe. My dad told me later that one can even add some khatai (aamchoor) to make this recipe more chatpata!

  11. hi vishaka… came over to your blog from foodgawker. loved your photography.

    i do use flax seed in my cooking and make some blends with sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. i have never heard about teesi. looks so good and what a great way to incorporate the goodness of flaxseed and the spices in your daily meal.

  12. I love your photography! I am always buying Flax Seeds coz I keep on reading that it’s very healthy. And have tried sprinkling on food in a very amateurish way. This is a very very novel recipe for sure. Perfect for me coz I’ve never known how to use it with more elan! BTW, thank you for the comment you left on my blog – have bookmarked it:)

  13. Wow that sounds so good. Usually I prepare by adding garlic, red chillies and dry coconut. I will try your method. Sounds so interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Have you ever considered creating an ebook or guest authoring on other
    sites? I have a blog centered on the same ideas you discuss
    and would really like to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my subscribers would appreciate your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e mail.

  15. Hi Sublime Palate:

    Your post took me too down my memory lane. A lot of similarities – Teesi, Bihar, going to grandmother’s place and Mai – we used the same word!! Please connect if possible and introduce yourself (email: ratlak24@yahoo.com) – will be a pleasure to find a cousin lost wit time! Nidhi

  16. Thanx ,this reminds me of my childhood journey from Mumbai to bihar every summer,we used to bring jars of tissi,sattu,pickles.by the way flaxseeds are riches source of omega 3 fatty acid,good for heart,brain.

  17. Thank you for this recipe! I found it looking for for ways to add healthy flax seed to my meals in a way that is, perhaps, more traditional and not a fad. This will be the third time I’ve made Teesi following your recipe, it’s a delicious addition to my lunch time yogurt!

  18. I used to eat it by mixing it with water and little salt and chapati. Thanks for the great recipe

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