How to make sambar powder

A South Indian meal is incomplete without sambar. Sambar, a spicy lentils and vegetable curry is served as an accompaniment with idlis, dosas, wadas etc. You can easily whip up sambar, if you have the sambar powder handy. And if it is homemade, there is nothing like it. Store bought masalas cannot beat the flavour of a homemade sambar powder. I know, we rely on store-bought sambar powders because of the convenience factor. But, fresh homemade masalas have their own charm and are more healthy, without any preservatives.

Sambar powder is very easy to prepare and can be stored for a long time. The list of spices may seem a bit intimidating. But believe me, its worth the effort.


2 cups  Dry Red Chillies  ( a mix of Kashmiri and byadagi chillies)
1 ½ cups Coriander seeds (dhaniya)                        
2 tbsp Mustard seeds (Rai)                                          
3 tbsp Cumin seeds (Jeera)                                         
4 tsp Whole black pepper (kali mirch)                     
2 tbsp Fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)                   
2 tbsp Split black lentils (Udad dal)                          
2 tbsp Split Bengal gram (Channa dal)                    
2 tbsp Split pigeon peas (Tuvar dal) or split red lentils (masoor dal)
2 tbsp Rice                                                                         
2 tbsp Asafoetida (hing)                               
2 tbsp Turmeric powder (haldi)                 
¼ cup Dried curry leaves
1 tsp oil to roast the red chillies.    

Sambar Powder



  • Heat oil in a pan and roast the red chillies for 5 to 7 minutes. Keep it aside.
  • In the same pan, add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and mustard seeds and roast on slow flame for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and keep it aside.
  • In the same pan, add chana dal and saute.
  • When it is slightly roasted, add udad dal and roast.
  • When the udad dal starts changing colour, remove and keep it aside.
  • Add methi seeds and roast till it  starts changing its colour. Set it aside.
  • Add black pepper and roast. Set it aside.
  • Add  rice. Once it starts changing colour, remove and keep it aside. 
  • Add tuvar dal or masoor dal, roast till it changes colour.
  • Remove from the fire and add curry leaves to the same pan and roast till it starts changing colour. Remove and set it aside.
  • Allow all the ingredients to cool down.
  • Transfer the roasted ingredients to a mixer jar and blend to a fine powder.
  • To the ground powder, add turmeric powder, hing and mix well. 
  • Store in an airtight jar and use as and when required.


For sambar recipe, click Sambar


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