Gunpowder is the name of a spice blend that contains dal that's common in Southern Indian cooking, used here to spice up fried brussels sprouts.






Skill level

Average: 3.1 (12 votes)


  • vegetable oil, for deep – frying
  • 300 g brussels sprouts, halved
  • salt, to taste
  • lemon wedges, to serve


  • 100 g (½ cup) urad dal
  • 50 g (¼ cup) chana dal
  • 40 g (¼ cup) sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 8 whole dried chillies, seeds removed
  • 15 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp asafoetida
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. For the gunpowder, place the dals in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
  2. To the pan, add the sesame seeds, salt, chillies, curry leaves, cumin and peppercorns. Shake over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
  3. Place the cooled dals in a spice grinder and grind into a coarse powder. Transfer to a bowl. Add the toasted spices, asafoetida and turmeric and grind into a fine powder. Transfer to the bowl with dal powder and stir to combine. This will make more than you need for this recipe, but it will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 months.  
  4. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or deep saucepan to 180°C.
  5. Deep-fry the brussels sprouts for about 3 minutes or until well browned. Drain on a wire rack. Season with a little salt, then cover generously with the gunpowder. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Danielle Abou Karam.