Sambar Powder (Sambar Masala, Sambar Podi, Milagai Thool, or Sambar Pudi) is a South Indian condiment or spice mix which is added to sambar to give it a delicious flavor. Use it to make a kickass sambar or add it to a simple stir fry.
Add chana dal and white urad dal to a flat, large and wide pan.
Dry roast on medium-low heat until they’re golden brown in color and a nutty aroma starts to emit (4-5 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-low heat until they are lightly browned and fragrant (3-4 minutes). Keep stirring continuously.
Transfer the ingredients to the large bowl and set aside.
Note – Some people roast the ingredients individually and that is how it was done traditionally. It was also because this powder was made in bulk and roasting everything together was anyways not possible. But you can roast the ingredients with similar roasting time together like I have done, to save time. I assure you there won’t be any difference in the taste or quality of the sambar powder.
Add Kashmiri dry red chillies (stalks removed) to the same pan and roast on medium-low heat until they are crisp and the color becomes darker (2-3 minutes). Keep stirring continuously. Remove them in the bowl and keep them aside.
Tip – You can break the chilies into small pieces for easy roasting and grinding.
Add curry leaves to the same pan and roast on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes until they are crisp. Keep stirring continuously while roasting. Remove them in the bowl and set them aside.
Cool the roasted ingredients completely.
Grind The Ingredients
Add the roasted ingredients to a spice grinder along with asafetida and grind to make a fine powder.
Note – If your grinder is small or is not high-powdered, then grind the ingredients in batches and then mix them together once ground.
Store The Sambar Powder
Sambar podi is ready. It might be a little warm because of grinding. Let it cool down to room temperature and then transfer it to an airtight container.
While filling the sambar powder in the container, fold a kitchen towel into 3-4 layers and keep it beneath the container. Fill some podi in the container and tap the container over the towel. It will settle down the podi and you will be able to fill more in the same container.
Store in a cool and dry place at room temperature for 4-5 months. You can also refrigerate it to increase its shelf life.
Close the lid of the container tightly every time you open it. Use a clean and dry spoon to take out the podi.
This recipe will yield, approximately 3 cups of powder. You can easily half, double or triple the recipe. In my house, this amount lasts for 4-5 months and I make sambar once a week. For ½ cup of Toor dal’s sambar, I use 2 tablespoons of sambar podi.Make sure to use the best quality ingredients. Check their shelf life. We will be storing the sambar podi for at least 3-4 months so the shelf-life of the ingredients must be good enough.If you want to rinse the lentils before making the podi, then just rinse them well with water and drain all the water. Now spread the lentils on a plate and keep in the strong sun for 3-4 hours. Bring them back inside and keep the plate on the kitchen counter (preferably under a fan) and let them dry well.You can also add some turmeric powder to this spice mix. It will also add to its color.Roast ½ cup grated fresh coconut and add it to the recipe for a coconut-flavored sambar powder. Keep in consideration that the shelf life of sambar pudi will be reduced if coconut is added to it.Roasting the spices well is the key to making a good sambar powder. It releases the oil from the spices and makes them very flavorful. Do not over roast the spices otherwise, they will become bitter.Never add any extra oil while making the podi. It will reduce its shelf life.The color of the sambar podi depends on the variety of chilies used. If your powder is dull in color, add some Kashmiri red chili powder to enhance the color. Let the roasted spices cool down completely before grinding so that there is no moisture left in them.To make it gluten-free, skip adding asafetida (hing).