Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sambar Powder

Yet another essential in your pantry for South Indian cooking. I make this in small batches to retain freshness of the spice mix. I mostly use this mix to make Sambar and dal palak. You can also add it to stir-fries like kovakkai poriyal.

Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Channa dal - 1/2 tbsp (adjust, see note)
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Black peppercorns - 1 tbsp
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Dried red chillies - approx. 5 nos.
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp

Heat a wok on medium-low heat. Add coriander seeds, chana dal, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, red chillies and curry leaves. Gently roast the spices for a couple of minutes, constantly stirring so as not to burn them. The smell will start to emanate from the spices. Once the dal turns golden brown, turn off the heat and transfer the ingredients to a cool plate. Allow it to cool completely.
Then roast all the spices in a spice grinder. Mix in turmeric powder, asafoetida and red chilli powder.
Store in an air tight container, in a cool dry place.

Notes: Channa dal will help thicken the gravy, so adjust according to your preference.
Some also roast toor dal and urad dal in this mix.
Adding the powders in the end is optional, as you would most likely be adding it separately while making sambar, but this is how I do it. I add a tinge now, and a tinge later by doing a taste test.