Sambar Powder (Sambar Masala, or Sambar Podi) is a South Indian condiment or spice mix which is added in sambar to give it a delicious flavor. Use it to make a kickass sambar or add it in a simple stir fry, this is going to make your recipes a keeper.
If you like to make such powder recipes at home, here are some more homemade masalas for you – Cumin Powder, Homemade Dry Mint Powder, Kerala Garam Masala Powder, Thandai Masala Powder, and Bisi Bele Bath Powder.
About This Recipe
Sambar Powder is an aromatic blend of a few lentils and whole spices. It is used while making sambar (South Indian lentil stew) and gives it a very unique taste and aroma. It can also be added to stir-fries to make them flavorful.
Each household has its own recipe to make sambar masala powder and it also differs from region to region. The base ingredients like lentils, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and dry red chilies remain the same though. Other ingredients like grated fresh coconut, cinnamon, or stone flowers can be added to it for a change.
To make sambar podi, all the ingredients are slow-roasted until they are fragrant and browned. They are then cooled and ground to make a powder. This step also makes sure there is no moisture left in the spices increasing the shelf life of sambar powder.
Although sambar powder is easily available in stores, there is nothing that can beat the fresh homemade one. Homemade sambar masala powder uses the best ingredients, it’s hygienic and very easy to make. It comes together in just 15 minutes and keeps good for 2-3 months in an airtight container at room temperature. Moreover, it is very economical to make at home.
In today’s post, I am sharing the sambar masala recipe I learned from my mom. I always use my homemade masala to make sambar and trust me it’s the best sambar you will ever make. This recipe will yield, approximately 2 cups of powder which is good to make 45-50 servings of sambar. You can easily half, double or triple the recipe.
Lentils – You will need Bengal gram lentils (chana dal) and split and skinned black lentils (white urad dal).
Spices – Whole spices that are added to this powder are coriander seeds (dhaniya), cumin seeds (jeera), mustard seeds (sarson), fenugreek seeds (methi), and black peppercorns (kali mirch). You will also need asafetida (hing), Kashmiri dry red chilies, and a few curry leaves.
I like to use Kashmiri dry red chilies as they give a lovely color to the powder without making it too spicy.
You can also add some turmeric powder to this spice mix. It will also add to its color.
How To Make Sambar Powder
Add 1 cup Bengal gram lentils and 1 cup split and skinned black lentils to a pan. Roast on medium heat until they’re golden brown in color and a nutty aroma starts to emit (8-10 minutes). Keep stirring frequently while roasting. Transfer the roasted lentils to a large bowl and set them aside.
Add 1 cup coriander seeds, ½ cup cumin seeds, ¼ cup mustard seeds, 2 tablespoon fenugreek seeds, and 2 teaspoon black peppercorns to the same pan and roast on medium heat until they are browned (6-7 minutes). Transfer the ingredients to the large bowl and set aside.
Add 50 g of Kashmiri dry red chilies to the same pan and roast on medium heat until they are crisp (3-4 minutes). Remove them in the bowl and keep them aside.
Add ¼ cup chopped curry leaves to the same pan and roast on medium heat for 2-3 minutes until they are crisp. Remove them in the bowl and set them aside.
Cool the roasted ingredients completely.
Add the roasted ingredients to a grinder along with 1 teaspoon asafetida and grind to make a smooth powder.
Note – If your grinder is small or is not high-powdered, then grind the ingredients in batches and then mix them once ground.
Pro Tips By Neha
Use fresh and high-quality ingredients to make sambar podi for the best taste and flavor.
Different ingredients have different roasting times. So do not roast them all together.
The color of the sambar powder depends on the variety of chilies used. If your powder is dull in color, add some Kashmiri red chili powder to enhance the color. You can also add some turmeric powder for a brighter podi.
Let the roasted spices cool down completely before grinding so that there is no moisture left in them.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, these two are very different spice mixes. While sambar powder is used to make South Indian lentil stew, curry powder is not traditionally used in Indian cooking. It is a British invention to imitate the Indian flavors in their curries.
Sambar powder is made using lentils, dry red chilies, curry leaves, and whole spices while there are no lentils and curry leaves used to make curry powder.
Sambar powder is made using chana dal (Bengal gram) and urad dal (skinned black lentils) while rasam powder is made using chana dal (Begnal gram) and toor dal (pigeon peas lentils). The quantity of black peppercorns is more in rasam powder as compared to sambar powder.
Use this sambar podi to make a delicious Sambar.
You can also use it to enhance the flavor of any Sabzi, Curry, Bisi Bele Bath, Pulao, Biryani, Rava Upma, or Bread Upma. This podi will add a unique flavor to your everyday recipes and make them very special.
You can store this homemade powder in an airtight container for about 6 months in the refrigerator. At room temperature, you can store it for 3 months.
Make sure that you use an airtight container, otherwise, it may lose its flavor, aroma, and color.
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Sambar Powder Recipe
- 1 cup Bengal gram lentils (chana dal)
- 1 cup Split & skinned black lentils (urad dal)
- 1 cup coriander seeds
- ½ cup cumin seeds
- ¼ cup mustard seeds
- 2 tablespoons fenugreek seeds
- 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
- 50 grams Kashmiri dry red chilies
- ¼ cup chopped curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
- Add Bengal gram lentils and split and skinned black lentils to a pan. Roast on medium heat until they’re golden brown in color and a nutty aroma starts to emit (8-10 minutes). Keep stirring frequently while roasting. Transfer the roasted lentils to a large bowl and set them aside.
- Add coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, and black peppercorns to the same pan and roast on medium heat until they are browned (6-7 minutes). Transfer the ingredients to the large bowl and set aside.
- Add Kashmiri dry red chilies to the same pan and roast on medium heat until they are crisp (3-4 minutes). Remove them in the bowl and keep them aside.
- Add curry leaves to the same pan and roast on medium heat for 2-3 minutes until they are crisp. Remove them in the bowl and set them aside.
- Cool the roasted ingredients completely.
- Add the roasted ingredients to a grinder along with asafetida and grind to make a smooth powder.