Molagapodi was fondly called as Gun powder by my friends at school and college. Molagapodi when it is translated actually means chilly powder, but it is not chilly powder, it has a recipe with a few ingredients, most of which is usually available in your kitchen, chilly being one of the ingredients. This powder is usually spicy and goes well with bland dishes like Idli and Dosai. Molagapodi is a standard powder available in most South Indian homes as a side dish for the snacks, incase there is no time to prepare chutneys and sambhars. I cant do without Molagapodi in my home. What is an Idli or a Dosai without Molagapodi .Even if there is chutney and sambhar, I still need molagapodi, so much is my love for the molagapodi. Its one of the staple spice powders of my kitchen, I also use it while preparing vegetables. It adds to the crispness and spice of the vegetables. There are many variations to the the recipe of the molagapodi and different houses make it differenty, some add black sesame seeds to the podi instead of the white ones, but my grandmother used to usually avoid using black sesame seeds in cooking as it is used for Devasham/ Shraddham (prayers to the dead ancestors). Some even add Garlic to the podi and there are yet others who add curry leaves, tamarind etc.
This is my mom’s recipe of the Molagapodi. I could say my mother is one of the connoisseur’s of this powder and makes the best molagapodi in this world. She has fans all over, I usually used to pack and bring Molagapodi which would last me a whole year from
Udad Dal – 1 cup
Chana dal – 1cup
Red chillies – ½ cup (broken into small pieces and tightly packed)
White Sesame Seeds – ¼ cup
Oil - 1 tsp
Asafoetida (Hing) – 1-2 teaspoons
Salt to taste
Destalk the red chillies. Preferably use Kashmiri chillies as they give a strong color to the powder and aren’t so spicy. Break the red chillies into smaller pieces (to enable easier powdering). Heat oil in a Wok (kadhai) and fry the red chillies on a slow fire till the chillies turn plump, this also removes the pachai vaadai (raw smell) of the red chillies. Keep aside on a plate.
Now in the same kadhai add the Udad dal and Chana dal and roast till it is light pink in colour.
When it is well roasted , a lovely aroma is emanated. Roasting enables the dals to get powdered easily and also roasting enables to store the masala powders for longer time. Once roasted, remove from flame and allow to cool.
In the same kadhai, roast the White sesame seeds. Sesame seeds should be roasted separately as they get roasted very fast unlike the dals, When the sesame seeds start spluttering, remove from fire and allow to cool down.
Grind the dals and the chillies together to a coarse powder in a mixie, keep aside and grind the sesame seeds separately, Don’t grind the sesame too much as it will become oily and form lumps and the molagapodi will have the lumps in it as well. Just grind until you see that it breaks and is powdered. Now mix the powdered sesame seeds with the rest of the ingredients, Add Salt and Hing and mix well. Store in an airtight container.
This powder can be stored for a few months, Always use a dry spoon to remove the masala powders. This powder goes well with Idli, Dosai, Adai etc. It can be used as a Masala while preparing vegetables. Why my appa likes it with even Curd Rice.