Monday, January 16, 2006

The secret Sambar Powder recipe (that is no longer a secret anymore)

Recipe for this powder came from my friend's mom, as I mentioned in my previous post. I have found that it is incomparable to any of the store-bought ones.

Dry coriander seeds - 2 cups
Dry Red chillies - twice as much as you can grab with your palms, say 2-3 cups
Poppy seeds - 2 tight fistful [about 2 tbsp]
Dried curry leaves - 1 cup [packed lightly]
Methi seeds - 1 tbsp
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp

Dry roast each of the above ingredients, slowly in a thick bottomed pan (preferably cast-iron) at very low heat. It is important to roast each of these separately and without using any oil. Allow them to come to room temperature. Add 1-2 tbsp Jeera (un-roasted) to these and 1/4 tsp salt. Grind coarsely in the mixie and store tight in the refrigerator and use within 1 and 1/2 months for best results.

Make Sambar according to these instructions.

ETA: To make the measurements more clear. When I make sambar powder again in a few more days/weeks, I'll measure and update the dry chillies measurements in cups too.


sailu said...

I do have my own formula of the home made sambar pwd,Kay.Thanks for sharing your secret recipe..:).
Of course for those who would rather go with ready made pwd,I think MTR is a good brand...esp for those living overseas and are hard pressed for time.
But anyday,home made freshly ground sambar pwd takes the honours..:)

Ashwini said...

Hi Kay thanks for sharing. I think it might be the poppy thats giving it a uinque taste. Come to think of it havent noticed poppy in a lot of South Indian preparations. I am going to try this when I am in one of my 'moods'!!

mayenfeld said...

hi kay,
the food photos on here makes my mouth water esp. that roasted salmon!

GourmayMasala said...

Kay -

It gets obvious when recipes are described by veteran chefs. The ingredient measurements are in fistfuls :-)

Personally, I get my sambar powder freshly milled from India. Yes, freshly ground spice has a fragrance and flavor of its own.

Tina Jennifer D'Silva said...

Hey Kay... Am gonna try this at home & give you my opinion very soon... Thanx for sharing the recipe..

Tina Jennifer D'Silva said...

Hi Kay...

Have tagged you for the 7 Meme...

For further details..visit..

Kay said...

Sailu, Yes, The taste of homemade masalas using good recipes beats the ready made stuff hands down.

Ashwini, I've seen poppy seed based curry preparations used a lot in Madurai, Kumbakonam, Chettinad type cuisines, but not otherwise. Do tell how it turned out, if you try.

Thanks Kesi!

True Garam masala, very true! all veteran chefs give their recipe in fistfuls.

Tina, Do tell how it turned out, when you get to try.

Unknown said...


I have lived all my life in south India and this is the first time I have come across a sambar podi having 25% by weight of Poppy seeds.
If I may ask you, can you tell me if this recipe was given to you by a south Indian person?

Naga Jolokia Addict

Kay said...

Naga, The poppy seeds don't come to 25% of the weight.. My fistful is just 1 tbsp. I have edited the measurements to make them more clear.

The recipe was given to me by a South Indian Aunty, originally from Karnataka, settled in Tamilnadu. So, this recipe might have regional influences. The recipe is very good. Lot of people [South Indians, especially] have asked me for this recipe, after they tried the sambar. Try it, you won't be disappointed.

Anonymous said...

i think channa dal, urad dal are missing in this sambar powder. some people even use a bit of rise.

i have used shakthi sambar masala powder which is the best. MTR is the worst. try with shakthi you will know the difference. plese do not mistake me, i am not supporting any company here. its my experience.

Kay said...

Anon, channa dal and urad dal are not MISSING from the recipe, its just a different recipe without those. :)

and to me, homemade spice blends are way better in taste and quality when compares to store bought spice blends. Each to their own.