Molaha Podi: South Indian Gunpowder Chutney

  • 40 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 12 servings
Ratings (14)

The famous South Indian gunpowder chutney (or Molaha Podi) is spicy hot--hence the name! It is the dry red chilies that create the heat, so this chutney is not for the faint of heart. While it is traditionally enjoyed with idlis (steamed South Indian rice cakes), dosas (crispy savory South Indian rice pancakes) or uttampams (savory rice and lentils pancakes) and sambar, you can actually eat it with anything. Sprinkle gunpowder chutney on top to add zing and heat! 

A favorite way to eat gunpowder chutney is sprinkled on top of a serving of freshly cooked fragrant and long grained rice like basmati. Drizzle the whole dish with a spoonful of ghee and you have got yourself an extremely simple yet delicious meal. The gunpowder chutney will last at least one week when stored in an airtight container.

What You'll Need

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable, canola or sunflower oil
  • 1/4 cup chana daal (large split yellow lentil)
  • 3 tbsp. skinless urad daal
  • 5 dry red chilies (this is already really hot, but you can add more for more heat if you like)
  • 3 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. sugar

How to Make It

  1. Heat the oil in a deep pan over medium heat. Add the daals and dry red chilies and toast over very low heat until they start to turn light brown in color.
  2. Add the sesame seeds and keep roasting until the seeds turn golden. Turn off heat.
  3. Use a coffee grinder or food processor to grind the roasted ingredients to a coarse powder (not chunky and not flour-like either, but in between).
  4. Remove to a serving bowl and add salt to taste. Add sugar and stir well to mix.
  1. Serve with idlis (steamed South Indian rice cakes) or dosas (crispy savory South Indian rice pancakes) and sambar, or simply sprinkle it on plain boiled rice and drizzle with ghee.
  2. You can store this chutney in an airtight container for at least a week.