Tasty Tuesday… South Indian Gunpowder

Cooking, Photography, Tasty Tuesday ..., Vegan Dishes

Of all the great cuisines of the world, South Indian food is my absolute favorite! It’s a vegetarian/vegan dream come true! There are very few Indian restaurants which serve this type of food. I have yet to figure out why. South Indian dishes are very different from their North Indian counterparts. Some of my favorites are cauliflower sambar, lemon rice, garlic rasam, masala dosa, a delightfully crunchy salad of cucumber, tomato, cilantro, chile peppers and lemon juice. Then fresh curry leaves, mustard seeds, dried cayenne peppers and asafetida are heated and popped in a bit of oil until fragrant. This is the drizzled over the salad and let me tell you, it is fantastic!!IMG_0809 However, no South Indian meal would be complete without a little heat and crunch from “Gunpowder”. I’ve been making it for many many years, and everybody who has tried it likes it. The original recipe I found in one of Julie Sahni’s cookbooks. She calls for far more dried cayenne peppers than I use. I like it hot – but I am not the only one eating it! The gunpowder tastes great on avocado, radish, cucumber and tomato sandwiches. It can be mixed with a teaspoon of melted ghee or sesame oil to put on basmati rice. It also is great on popcorn.

Avocado Sandwich with Gunpowder

Avocado Sandwich with Gunpowder

To make it you will need: 6 tablespoons of chana dal (uncooked) 6 tablespoons of urad dal    (uncooked) 6 tablespoons of sesame seeds about 30 dried cayenne peppers, broken into pieces 1 teaspoon asafetida 3 teaspoons salt 3 teaspoons of brown sugar 3 tablespoons oil (I use peanut or regular sesame oil)

Heat a heavy skillet or wok (preferably cast iron) and add the oil. When it’s nice and hot, add the chana dal, urad dal and the cayenne pepper. Stir and sauté until the dal and chillies are starting to brown a bit. Add the sesame seeds and asafetida. Keep stirring until everything is nicely browned and the sesame seeds are fragrant. Transfer to a large plate and let it cool. Then mix in the salt and brown sugar. To grind it, I use the attachment container of my immersion blender. A clean coffee grinder used only for spices would work, as well as a food processor. The trick is to not bring it into a fine powder. There should be bits of crunchy lentils and peppers. Let it cool all the way and then store at room temperature in a sealed glass jar. It keeps well for a long time, as long as you keep out any moisture. This yields about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of mildly hot gunpowder.

कृपया भोजन का आनंद लीजिये !

कृपया भोजन का आनंद लीजिये ! Bon appetit!

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My passions in life are vegetarian cooking, gardening, photography, writing, good books, traveling and nature. Thanks for stopping by, Sabine

4 thoughts on “Tasty Tuesday… South Indian Gunpowder”

  1. Sabine, the photos alone make me want to prepare “gunpowder” right now…enter the drooling. I’m a big fan of avocado with most anything, so that opened-faced sandwich looks divine.


    • Hi Missy, I think you would like this. Easy and quick to make once you have all the ingredients ready. In addition you can adjust the spice level by adjusting the cayenne peppers. Try it and let me know how it turned out.
      Loved your dandelion post. Very thought provoking. The commenting box still kicks me out, so I will enlist Marlene’s help next time I see her.


  2. I do like things a bit on the spicy side, but I’ll go slowly with adding the heat.
    Thanks for reading my posts. I’m not sure what’s up with the commenting…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Still the same problem. I log in with my WordPress account, comment and then click on post, at which point I get kicked off and the comment disappears. I will enlist Marlene’s help !! I will get it to work!!!


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