Nagi's Garlic Gunpowder - Dry Andhra Chutney Recipe

Nagi's South Indian Gunpowder Chutney
Nagi's Gunpowder Chutney. Image © Santhosh Raj |
  • 20 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4
Ratings (5)

The famous South Indian Gunpowder Chutney or Molaha Podi is chilli hot, hence the interesting name. This Andhra (from Andhra Pradesh in South India) version of it was created by a family friend, Nagi. While it is traditionally enjoyed with Idlis (steamed South Indian rice cakes), Dosas (crispy savory South Indian rice pancakes) or Uttampams (savoury rice and lentils pancakes) and Sambar, you can actually eat it with anything. One of my favourite ways to eat Gunpowder Chutney is sprinkled on to p of a serving of freshly cooked, fragrant and long grained rice like Basmati. Drizzle the whole with a spoonful of ghee and you've got yourself an extremely simple yet delicious meal! Sprinkle Gunpowder Chutney on top of anything to add zing and heat! 

What You'll Need

  • 4 tbsps Chana Daal (large split yellow lentil)
  • 3 tbsps skinless Urad daal (black lentils, skin removed)
  • 5 dry red chillies (this is already really hot. Add more for more heat)
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 3 tbsps dried garlic granules
  • 1 tbsp vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar

How to Make It

  • Heat a griddle or frying pan on a medium heat. Add the Chana and Urad daals and roast on very low heat till they start to turn a light brown in color. When this happens, you can remove them onto a plate and allow them to cool completely for later use.
  • In the same pan, dry roast the cumin seeds and dry red chillies in the same way, till they turn darker and slightly aromatic. When this happens, remove them also fro the pan and put into the plate with the Chana and Urad daals and allow to cool completely for later use.
  • Now, use a coffee grinder or food processor to grind the above roasted ingredients plus the garlic granules and sugar into a coarse, grainy powder (not chunky and not flour-like either - somewhere in-between).
  • Remove into a suitable serving bowl and add salt to taste and stir well to mix.
  • To serve, make a well in the centre of the powder and pour in some melted ghee. Serve with Idlis (steamed South Indian rice cakes) or Dosas (crispy savory South Indian rice pancakes) or Uttampams (savoury rice and lentils pancakes) and Sambar or simply sprinkle it on plain boiled rice and drizzle with ghee.
  • You can store Nagi's Garlic Gunpowder in a closed container in the fridge for at least a week. 


I have one coffee grinder set aside just for grinding my different spice powder mixes. Using a small coffee grinder means I can make up small portions of spice mixes easily and quickly. This means I can mostly use freshly made spices which are more potent and taste better. I make sure to keep coffee grinder clean and as dry as possible since any moisture would damage the spice powders and make them less potent. Not riding coffee and spices in the same grinder also ensures that my coffee does not smell and taste like spices!