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Gunpowder Recipe – Authentic Podi Spice Blend

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Gunpowder goes so nicely with so many different things.

Lately I’ve been experimenting a lot with south Indian recipes. I love making dosas and idlis and I’m really into the coconut and curry leaf flavour of so many curries. One of my favourite recipes at the moment is gunpowder.

Gunpowder or milaga podi is hugely popular in southern India. What makes this podi ‘gunpowder’ is the use of a lot of dried chillies. The spicy powder is so versatile. It can be sprinkled over dosas and it is awesome stirred into rice with a little oil or ghee. Try it as a dry dip for homemade idlis and you’ll be happy you did.

Indian Gunpowder

The finished gunpowder is excellent as a snack, simply eaten on its own.

Many south indian spice masalas use the same ingredients and are stirred into curries. These are usually ground a little finer than a gunpowder.

This recipe is a simple version but I like it. You could get creative and add other popular ingredients to yours like peanuts, rice, mustard seeds, black peppercorns and/or asafoetida.

I usually roast all the ingredients together as it is much faster. For best results, roast them separately as I do in this recipe so that all of the different ingredients roast to perfection.

By the way, give it a try when you’ve ground it all up. Add a little salt to taste. This mix is addictive eaten on its own!

Making gunpowder podi

The sesame seeds will become quite fragrant. You need to stir constantly until they are a light brown.

Making gunpowder podi

I used half a teaspoon of rapeseed oil when toasting the urad dhal. It isn’t necessary though.

Making gunpowder podi

Toast the channa dhal until nicely browned.

Making gunpowder podi

Use lots of chillies if you want it spicy. Use less if you don’t. Roast with a teaspoon of salt.

Making gunpowder podi

The curry leaves need to be toasted until they are quite brittle.

Making gunpowder podi

The coconut flakes are a tasty touch!

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How To Make Gunpowder

Indian Gunpowder
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • ½ teaspoon rapeseed oil (optional)
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • ½ cup urad dhal
  • ½ cup channa dhal
  • A large handful of dried Kashmiri chillies (more or less to taste)
  • 30 fresh curry leaves
  • Salt to taste


  1. using the oil, add it to a pan over low heat. The oil isn't necessary but speeds up the dry frying. You will need to soak up the oil with paper towels before grinding!
  2. Dry fry the ingredients separately, as shown over low heat or all together.
  3. When roasted as photographed, you need to let the ingredients cool.
  4. Then, grind to a powder. This is not a really fine powder but it is still quite fine.
  5. Season with salt to taste and use as required. I'm sure that once you try it, you'll think of a lot of good and perhaps even unique uses!

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I hope you enjoy this gunpowder recipe. I love it! Please let me know if you try it by leaving a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Sachin Jawale

Thursday 6th of August 2020

Wow looks tasty. I live in western part of India and only had this once in a restaurant when I traveled down south couple of years ago. Will certainly try at home.

Dan Toombs

Monday 10th of August 2020

Great to hear. Thanks Dan


Saturday 28th of March 2020

Hi Dan. How long does the gunpowder last for once made, if stored in a jar? Thanks

Dan Toombs

Wednesday 1st of April 2020

Hi Clair

It will keep for at least a month. I kept some for about 3 months and it was still really good but weaker in flavour.

Thanks, Dan

miss universe 2017

Thursday 1st of February 2018

This quintessential Indian condiment is used to top many Indian appetizers and is made with mangoes, vinegar, sugar, and spices.

Dan Toombs

Monday 5th of February 2018

I've tried that one too. Love it.


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