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Gunpowder (podi), as the name suggests is a fiery dry powder which is basically a blend of spices and lentils. It’s a popular southern Indian food condiment typically served as side dish with idli as a dipping condiment along with ghee or sesame oil.

This Milagai podi is a traditional recipe especially from the state of Tamilnadu. Each state of south India has their own variations of podi recipe. Podi is used as a substitute for the traditional chutneys served for breakfast with idli, dosa, appam or even uttapam.

Every household in the south of India has their own podi recipe, but I’m sharing the one which I learnt from a friend from Tamilnadu. This particular recipe which I'm sharing is a traditional one, but sometimes I make different variations by adding flax seeds or peanuts.

To see one of the ways I use the Gunpowder masala in a dish, click here!


YIELDS: 200g approx.

PREP TIME: 5 minutes

COOKING TIME: 12 minutes

KEEP TIME: 1 month


  • 1/2 cup urad dal

  • 1/4cup chana dal

  • 10-12 dried red chillies

  • 3 stalks curry leaves

  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida (hing)

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

  • 1 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds

  • 3 tsp oil (vegetable oil, sesame oil or coconut oil)

  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste


  1. In a pan, dry roast the sesame seeds on medium low heat until lightly golden. Put it aside.

  2. In the same pan, warm 1 tsp of oil, add chillies and curry leaves, roast them on medium low heat for about 3 minutes, until the curry leaves are crispy. Put them aside to cool.

  3. In the same pan again, add rest of the oil, warm up slightly and add chana dal and urad dal, toast them for 3 minutes on medium low heat.

  4. Now add asafoetida, turmeric and salt and roast them for 3 more minutes on medium low heat until its toasted and turns golden brown.

  5. Transfer all the prepared ingredients in a blender and blitz to a coarse powder.


  • If you don't like too much heat in the podi powder, substitute the normal red chilies with Kashmiri red chillies which are mild in taste.

  • You can make days in advance and preserve it in an airtight jar for up to a month.

  • It’s bit dry on the throat on its own so it must be eaten with ghee (clarified butter) or sesame oil.

  • Serve these with steamed idlis, uttapam or appams. I even sprinkle on my toast with cottage cheese and avocado, it tastes delightfully delicious! Or learn the recipe of my Cocktail Idli Skewers that I made with this Podi by clicking here!


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