Sambar Powder Recipe

Sambar Powder Recipe
South Indian sambar powder (aka sambar masala) is a wonderful mix of spices & dals – lightly toasted and then ground into a fine powder. This versatile blend of spices can be used to flavor your dals, stir-frys, curries and can also be used as a spice rub for any grilled food. Now the variations for sambar masala are virtually endless, so feel free to add your own special touch to my recipe if you wish.

Traditionally, sambar powder is used to make sambar – a delicious vegetable & lentil curry that is served with idlis (steamed lentil cakes) & dosas (lentil crepes).

Now sambar powder is readily available in any Indian grocery store or market but nothing beats my homemade version for both taste & flavor. But I do understand, so my personal favorite readymade, store bought brand of Sambar Powder/Masala is the MTR brand.

SAMBAR MASALA (South Indian Spice Blend)


8-10 dried red chilies, to taste
5-6 fresh curry leaves
pinch of asafetida (hing)
2 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
2 tsp black peppercorns
2 tbsp cumin seeds
4 tbsp coriander seeds
½ tbsp yellow moong dal (split & skinned green gram dal)
½ tbsp white urad dal (split & skinned black gram dal)
½ tbsp chana dal (split & skinned Bengal gram dal)
1 tbsp toor dal (split yellow pigeon peas)
1 tbsp turmeric (haldi)
1 tsp red chili powder


In a medium size dry skillet on medium heat, combine all of the ingredients (except for the turmeric & red chili powder) and toast until fragrant. Let cool slightly and then using a spice mill or clean coffee grinder, grind into a fine powder. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months or longer in the refrigerator.


Ways to use sambar powder:

Toss with shrimp along with a little salt & about 1 tsp of cornstarch. Set aside for 30 minutes (covered) in the refrigerator. Then pan fry on both sides for just a couple of minutes until crispy.

Toss with pieces of any firm fish (skinned & de-boned) along with a little salt & about 1 tsp of rice flour. Set aside for 30 minutes (covered) in the refrigerator. Then pan fry on both sides for just a couple of minutes until crispy.

Mix it into warm rice with a little ghee & squeeze of lemon for a quick nutritious meal.

 photo Sambar powder.jpg

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