Making of the South Indian Spice Hero – Gunpowder

by Ankita Sehgal Freelance Blogger, Lives in New Delhi
South Indian food is popular on many counts - it is light and not greasy, it offers great options that can be consumed at any time of the day, and it is bursting with flavours from the use of rich spices. Idli, dosa, uttappam, vadai, and pongal are among the best loved dishes this cuisine has to offer. The secret to a great southern meal, however, is not the dish itself but its sides or accompaniments. Can we really imagine eating a couple of the oh-so-popular idlis (fluffy and steaming as they may be) without the sides of chutney and sambar? Bland, you may say, but the true bred southerners (and now many others) have worked out that the real secret to having a really amazing culinary experience is to ask for a side of Gunpowder. Yes, that mix of coarse ground dry spices soaked in gingelly or sesame oil that is served in some of the best Indian restaurants in London, is the real hero. 

Slathered over the idli or as a side to dosa, uthappam, upma, no matter how you choose to have this spice mix, the Gunpowder, also referred to as the idli podi, dosa podi, milagai podi, is the true essence of south Indian food. Here is the authentic recipe for this powder that is made and stored in most southern homes –


•Oil – 1 tsp
•Red chillies – 50 grams
•Split Black Gram Dal (skinless) -120 grams 
•Split Bengal Gram Dal (skinless) - 120 grams 
•Asafoetida cake – ¼” * ¼”
•White Sesame seeds – 100 grams
•Salt -1 tbsp 
•Dried curry leaves – handful 


•Dry roast the sesame seeds and the curry leaves (separately) in a wok.
•Heat ¼ tsp oil and roast the Black Gram Dal till golden brown.
•Remove from the wok, add another ¼ tsp oil and roast the Bengal Gram Dal until golden brown.
•Now heat ½ tsp oil and roast red chillies. 
•Add asafoetida to the wok and roast till it is crisp. Leave all the ingredients to cool.
•Grind sesame seeds for a few seconds. Avoid overgrinding as this will extract the oil. 
•Now dry grind the dals in a grinder till they are coarse.
•Grind the red chillies along with the salt and the curry leaves. This can be ground to a fine powder.
•Mix all the ingredients together till it is a homogenous mix.

Store the Gunpowder in an airtight container and use a dry spoon.

This mix is made into a paste with sesame seed oil (gingelly oil) and is used as a side for idli and dosa. It is also used as a topping for podi idlis, podi dosas and uthappams.

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About Ankita Sehgal Advanced   Freelance Blogger, Lives in New Delhi

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Joined APSense since, September 1st, 2017, From New Delhi, India.

Created on Aug 5th 2019 01:48. Viewed 259 times.


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