Gun powder or chutney puddi (or powder) is a South Indian condiment served with idlis, dosas or mixed in with plain rice. You add some ghee with it. There are more than a 100 varieties of chutney puddi in Bangalore. I’m sure there are much more around other parts of South India.
It is called gun powder for a reason. It usually blows your socks off. It is fire in your mouth. Of course, that depends on which kind you eat.
This condiment is usually a dry mix of different lentils, tamarind, dry coconut (copra), asafetida (hing), fenugreek, jaggery, sometimes nuts…and so much more. You can even include flaxseeds and sesame seeds.
Find a combination you like and keep it in your pantry – it could come handy if you want a quick Indian meal. I’ve made a non-spicy version (without the chillies) for my girls. I also don’t add any sweetener – it is perfectly fine without any. But you can add jaggery if you wish.
Jaggery is an unprocessed sweetener that comes from sugar cane. It is used to make processed white sugar. Unlike sugar, jaggery contains all the vitamins and mineral of sugar cane.
Keep this powder dry if you want to keep it for a few weeks in your pantry. Mine lasts at least a month.
So…what’s in here that’s good for you? Everything is! But we’ll go through only a few here –
Lentils – Organic urad dhal (split black lentils) is hard to find in Australia, but I’ve managed to find it here – www.santosorganics.com.au
The benefits of lentils are many. It is anti-inflammatory, could help breastfeeding mothers increase their milk, is fiber-rich, reduces cholestrol, great for diabetes, etc.
It can be used topically as a poultice for muscle or joint pain. It can also be ground into a flour and used as a face mask when mixed with other beneficial ingredients.
Curry leaves – are another mighty nutritional powerhouse. They contain calcium, phosphorus, niacin, Vitamin C and iron. They help to reduce cholesterol levels and manage type 2 diabetes.
They help to reduce the effects of chemotherapy, is good for the eyes, it protects your liver, is anti bacterial, anti fungal, an antioxidant, helps to prevent cancer and is good for your hair and skin.
Got a burn? Reach for the curry leaves. The paste, if applied topically, can help with burns, stings and bites.
Phew! That’s a long list of nutritional benefits for this humble leaf.
Tamarind – is a super food.
Tamarind extract can used to treat snake bites!
It is anti-inflammatory (helps with joint pains and other inflammation in the body) and is an antioxidant (helps to reduce free radicals in our body that is caused by all the toxins around us).
Tamarind also fights bacteria and viruses, is high in magnesium (so it’s good for our bones), it helps keep our heart healthy, promotes weight loss and relieves constipation.
Chutney puddi (powder)
- 1 cup urad dhal
- 1 cup almonds / brasil nuts Or any nuts you want. If you want it nut free, add a cup of yellow split peas
- 5 red chillies (optional - add if you want it spicy)
- Handful curry leaves
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- Golf ball sized piece of tamarind without the seeds
- 1/4 cup jaggery optional
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp coconut oil / ghee
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp asafoetida
- In a warm pan add the urud dhal and the nuts & stir till it starts to brown
- Remove from pan and place this on a plate & to cool
- Next, add the chillies (if adding) & curry leaves to the pan & cook till the leaves are dry & crispy
- Add this mix to the plate with the lentil mix
- Add the coconut to the pan & quickly stir for around 30 seconds - be mindful as it burns very quickly
- Turn the stove off & add the coconut to the plate
- Let this mix cool
- Add oil to a heated skillet
- When the oil heats up, add the mustard seeds
- Once the mustard seeds pop, add the turmeric powder & asafoetida & turn the stove off
- Add to the same plate as the lentils to cool
- Add the cooled mixture along with the salt, jaggery (if adding) & tamarind to a blender & blend till coarse (or fine if you prefer)
- Keep in an airtight jar and store it either in the fridge or in a cool, dark place for upto 1 months
- Serve with ghee / coconut oil / olive oil as a side to idlis and dosas. This can be mixed with hot rice as well
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