Molaha Podi: South Indian Gunpowder Chutney

Molaha Podi: South Indian Gunpowder Chutney

The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
35 Calories
2g Fat
3g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 35
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 66mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 9mg 47%
Calcium 26mg 2%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 61mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, canola or sunflower oil

  • 1/4 cup chana daal, large split yellow lentils

  • 3 tablespoons urad daal, skinless

  • 5 dried red chilies, this is already really hot, but you can add more for more heat if you like

  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds

  • Salt, to taste

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Molaha Podi: South Indian Gunpowder Chutney ingredients

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  2. 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.

    daals and dry red chilies and toasting in a pan

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  3. Add the sesame seeds and keep roasting until the seeds turn golden. Turn off heat.

    Add the sesame seeds to the mixture in the pan

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  4. 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).

    grind the mixture in a coffee grinder

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  5. Remove to a serving bowl and add salt to taste. Add sugar and stir well to mix.

    Molaha Podi: South Indian Gunpowder Chutney in a bowl

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii


  • 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.
  • You can store this chutney in an airtight container for at least a week.

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