Make Gun Powder, Andhra's Fiery And Flavourful Powder And The Healthy Curry Leaf Powder At Home  

This dal powder is standard fare at many Andhra restaurants like Nagarjuna in Bengaluru or Amaravati in Chennai and is always available in homes across Andhra.

Ashwin Rajagopalan  |  Updated: October 11, 2019 16:14 IST

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Make Gun Powder, Andhra's Fiery And Flavourful Powder And The Healthy Curry Leaf Powder At Home  

It's also common to blend this powder with a raw tamarind (Chintakaya) chutney, rice and ghee

Highlights
  • This dal powder is standard fare at many Andhra restaurants
  • It's common to blend this powder with raw tamarind chutney, rice, ghee
  • It tastes the best when paired with crunchy raw onions

Some food cravings are easier to satisfy. Almost any time I feel the urge to taste the fiery dal powder or kandi podi (in Telugu) mixed with piping hot rice and ghee, I try and make it to National Lodge in the heart of Chennai's old Georgetown area. This restaurant has been serving Andhra meals tirelessly since 1952. The 'full meals' at the restaurant would set you back by 25 paise (or 4 Annas) in the 1950s. Back then Georgetown was the financial nerve centre of Madras and probably the Madras Presidency. The state of Andhra Pradesh had not yet been demarcated from the Madras Presidency, North Madras had a sizeable Telugu speaking population. That hasn't changed to this day and neither has the quality of the Andhra meals at National Lodge. 

Most regulars back then used to keep coming back for the restaurant's dal powder, usually the first course that is mixed with rice and ghee. Even today diners don't just enjoy this at the restaurant but also take back a packet of the powder. This dal powder is standard fare at many Andhra restaurants like Nagarjuna in Bengaluru or Amaravati in Chennai and is always available in homes across Andhra. It's also common to blend this powder with a raw tamarind (Chintakaya) chutney, rice and ghee and pair it with crunchy raw onions. 

(Also Read: The Magic Of Gongura, Andhra's Most Loved Spinach)

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This dal powder is standard fare at many Andhra restaurants

This is not the only powder that's always available at Andhra homes where everyone loves their podis. A few weeks ago I was at Vijayawada and made a quick-stop at Mana Gramam, an organic retailer with a focus on local and healthy food alternatives. The store has a variety of powders including a flaxseed-based powder but my favourite is the karivepakku or karuvapillai (in Tamil) powder made with curry leaves. It's a clever way to add the goodness of curry leaves to your diet. Curry leaves are rich in antioxidants and vitamins with proven health benefits. Later that day, I had dinner at the Novotel Vijayawada Varun, where the Executive Chef - Vinay Talgadadevi, and his team showcased traditional Andhra cuisine. Chef Vinay has preserved some of his family recipes including the dal and curry leaf powder.

Kandi Podi (Dal powder or gun powder) recipe
Recipe courtesy - Vinay Talgadadevi - Executive Chef, new Novotel Vijayawada Varun


Ingredients:

Channa dal: 40 gm
Toor dal: 40 gm
Cumin seeds: 15 gm
Dry red chillies: 5 nos
Curry leaves: a few sprigs (about 5 gm)
Asafoetida: 5 gm
Oil: 15 ml
Salt to taste

Method: 

Heat a pan and add both the dals; dry-roast them on low heat stirring them constantly till they turn red. Keep it aside and let it cool.

In another pan, roast the cumin seeds, red chillies and curry leaf in oil. Fry till it turns crispy and let it cool once you are done.

Grind all the ingredients along with the salt and asafoetida to a slightly coarse texture. Store in an air-tight jar.

Karivepakku Podi (Curry leaf powder) recipe
Recipe courtesy - Vinay Talgadadevi - Executive Chef, new Novotel Vijayawada Varun


Ingredients:

Channa dal: 30 gm
Urad dal: 30 gm
Sesame seed powder: 30 gm
Dry coconut: 30 gm
Red chillies: 5 nos
Cumin: 15 gm
Garlic: 20 gm
Curry leaves: 100 gm
Oil: 30 ml
Salt to taste 

Method: 

Clean and wash curry leaves and dry them in a cloth. 
Dry-roast channa dal and urad dal until golden brown. Add red chillies, cumin, coconut, and sesame seed and toss it and turn off the stove. Set it aside to cool. 
Take another pan, add oil and fry curry leaves until crisp and then let it cool.                             
Powder them in a blender and add the seasoning. Store in an air-tight jar.

While it's common to mix the curry leaf powder with rice, I usually add a spoon to a glass of buttermilk for the flavours and the health benefits. These powders are easy-to-make and you can add your own tweaks like incorporating finely ground flaxseed to the dal powder. You can also buy these powders online or at some Andhra restaurants in your city.  

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