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Gunpowder Greens

In this easy vegan recipe, a South Indian-inspired "gunpowder" spice mix transforms sautéed kale, broccoli, and leek into a fiery and flavoursome side dish.

From the book

Grace Regan


‘Gunpowder’ is a popular spice mix in South Indian cooking, where it is known as molaga podi. It gets its name from the punchy quantity of dried chillies and the mix is ground to a similar consistency as gunpowder. This is a simplified version of the traditional mix and will make more than you need for the recipe. Stored in an airtight container, it will last at least a month and is a great way to spice up salads and stir-fries.

If you can’t find the right dried red chillies, you can use chilli flakes.

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70g sesame seeds
A large handful of dried red chillies (ideally milder Kashmiri chillies but if you can’t find these, then standard dried red chillies work, just avoid the super-fiery small Thai ones)
1 tsp sugar
30ml sesame oil
2 medium leeks, washed and thinly sliced
1 small broccoli, cut into small florets, stalks thinly sliced
150g kale, roughly shredded, tough stalks removed
juice of 1 lemon
A small bunch of coriander (stalks included), roughly chopped


Start by making the gunpowder spice mix. Heat a medium frying pan on a medium heat and add the sesame seeds and dried red chillies. Toast until the seeds turn golden. Place in a spice grinder or blender with 1 teaspoon of salt and the sugar. Blitz to a rough powder.

Heat a large frying pan or wok on a medium heat and pour in the oil. When it’s hot, add the leeks with a large pinch of salt, turn the heat down low and cook really slowly until they’re soft (about 10 minutes).

Add the broccoli to the leeks, and when it begins to soften after a minute or two, add the kale. Cook until the kale has just started to wilt. Take it off the heat and add 2 tablespoons of the gunpowder mix. Finish by stirring through the lemon juice and coriander. Taste for seasoning.

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