Sambar/Sambhar masala is a fragrant spice blend used in South Indian cooking. It’s the key ingredient that gives the lentil stew; sambar, its rich and spicy flavor.
- Yield: About 1 cup/160 g
2 Tbsp chana dal
2 Tbsp urad beans/black gram (with or without skin, whole or split)
1 Tbsp split pigeon peas/toor dal
8 to 12 whole dried red chillies (see Notes), stalks removed and discarded
4 Tbsp whole coriander seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tsp whole cumin
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 sprigs curry leaves
½ tsp ground turmeric
1/8 tsp asafoetida
- Heat a dry stainless-steel skillet or medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the chana dal, urad dal, split pigeon peas, dried red chillies, coriander, fenugreek, cumin, and black peppercorns and roast until the spices start to turn fragrant and light brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Swirl the contents of the skillet occasionally to prevent burning. Add the curry leaves and continue to roast until the leaves turn fragrant and crisp, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add the turmeric and asafetida, and transfer to a plate to cool completely.
- Transfer the cooled spices to a blender and pulse to a fine powder. Store the powder in an airtight container for up to 4 months.
- For the chillies, I use Kashmiri chillies for a mild amount of heat, and for a hotter flavor use, Byadgi.