Heat a pan and then add 1/2 cup coriander seeds and 2 tbsp cumin seeds.
On a low flame, stir and roast the coriander and cumin, till they become fragrant and change color. It just takes 1 to 2 minutes in a low flame to roast these. They should smell aromatic.
Then remove from the pan and add to a large plate or tray.
Wipe the pan with a cotton napkin and add 16 to 18 dry red chilies. Remove the crown from the red chilies, before roasting them.
Roast the red chilies, stirring them till they change color and you can get their pungent smoky aroma. Place the roasted red chilies in the same plate.
Now add 1.5 tsp methi seeds. Stir often and roast them. Roast till they get browned. Remove in the same plate.
Add 1 tbsp black pepper (kalimirch). Stir often and roast. The black peppers will get aromatic and this is the time you remove them from the pan. Add roasted black peppers to the same plate, where all the spices are kept.
Now add 2 tbsp chana dal to the same pan. Keep on stirring at intervals, while roasting the chana dal. Chana dal takes longer to cook than the spices. The dal should get browned or golden. For uniform cooking and color, keep on stirring them. Remove aside in the same plate.
Now add 1 tbsp urad dal to the pan. Keep on stirring these lentils too while roasting them. Roast till they become golden and you a get a nice waft of the roasted urad dal. Remove them in the same plate.
Now add 1/3 cup curry leaves (fresh or dried). Roast the curry leaves till the leaves become crisp. Keep aside.
Now add 1/2 tbsp mustard seeds (rai). When all the mustard seeds finish popping, then remove them and keep aside.
Switch off the flame now and add 1/2 tbsp hing in the pan. Quickly stir as soon as you add hing.
Just the color needs to change of the hing and you should get its aroma. Remove and keep aside.
making sambar powder
Now let all the roasted spices cool down and come at room temperature.
In your grinder jar, add the spices. Also add 1/2 tbsp turmeric/haldi. I ground in two batches. Depending on the size, you can grind in 2 to 3 batches or in one go.
Grind to a fine powder.
Remove on a plate. If grinding in batches, remove the ground masala on a plate and mix very well. Due to grinding the sambar powder will become warm.
Once the sambar powder cools at room temperature, then spoon it carefully in a jar.
Do tap and shake the jar, so that the sambar podi settles down while filling the jar.
Close tightly with a lid and keep at room temperature.
Add sambar masala powder to the sambar recipes whenever making them.