16 to 18dry red chillies- halved and seeds removed
1.5teaspoonfenugreek seeds(methi seeds)
2tablespoonchana dal(split husked bengal gram)
1tablespoonurad dal(split husked black gram)
½tablespoonturmeric powder(ground turmeric)
Roasting Spices, Lentils
Before you begin roasting the ingredients, measure them and set aside. Halve or break the dry red chillies and remove the seeds with a spoon. Also remove their crowns.
Heat a frying pan and then add coriander seeds and cumin seeds.
On a low heat, stir and roast the coriander seeds and cumin seeds, till they become fragrant and change color. It just takes 1 to 2 minutes in low heat to roast these. They should smell aromatic. Do not brown them too much.
Then remove from the pan and add to a large plate or tray.
Wipe the pan with a cotton napkin and add dry red chilies. Remove the crown and seeds 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 the fenugreek seeds. Stir often and roast them. Roast till they get browned but make sure not to burn or brown them too much. Remove in the same plate.
Add black peppercorns. 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 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 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.
Add curry leaves (fresh or dried). Roast the curry leaves till the leaves become crisp. Keep aside.
Next add mustard seeds. When all the mustard seeds finish popping, then remove them and keep aside.
Switch off the heat now and add asafoetida (hing) in the pan. Quickly stir as soon as you add the asafoetida.
Only 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 turmeric powder. 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 the ground sambar powder 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. Use as needed when making any recipes with it.
Usage and Storage Suggestions
Add sambar powder to any of the sambar recipes you make. For a serving of 4, add about 2 to 3 teaspoons of this sambar masala.
Store the sambar masala powder in a clean air-tight jar in a dry, cool place. When taking the spice mix from the jar, always use a dry spoon. Never use a wet spoon.
Note that if any moisture or water goes into the jar, it will deteriorate the spice blend and may get moldy or have fungus.
After you are done with taking the required amount of sambar masala for your recipe, close the jar well with its lid.
This sambar powder keeps well for 3 to 4 months in a dry and cool place. Store it in a cool and dry place in your kitchen which does not have any moisture. if you live in a hot and humid region then store in the refrigerator.
Use spices that are within their shelf period. Check the spices carefully for hidden mold or fungi or insects. If the spices have gone rancid or do not smell good, then discard them.
For dry red chillies, break them open and check to see if there is any mold or fungal growth inside. The red chillies should feel crisp and dry. If they feel moist or wet, this means the presence of a mold inside. Do not use such dried red chillies.
If you want, you can choose to rinse the lentils in water before roasting them. Prior to roasting lentils, rinse once or twice in water. Drain the water spread them on a small plate. Sun dry them for some minutes or keep them under a fan until they are dried.
If you want to add coconut, then add about ⅓ cup shredded desiccated coconut. Roast the coconut until golden and grind or powder with the remaining ingredients. But do note that with coconut, the shelf life will reduce. So I recommend to store this sambar powder made with coconut in the refrigerator.
Store the sambar powder in a cool, dry place in an air-tight jar or container.
This recipe can be scaled to make a larger portion or a smaller portion. If you plan to make a very large barch, then I recommend to grind or powder the roasted ingredients in your local flour mill (chakki).
Note that the approximate nutrition info is for 1 teaspoon of sambar powder.