Sambar Powder Recipe (Sambar Masala)
Sambar Powder Recipe – Flavorful & aromatic sambar masala powder. Sambar is one of the most delicious South Indian foods often served as a side with rice and vegetable stir fry. There are different kinds made like Idli Sambar, Udupi sambar etc. This masala powder is the main ingredient that adds aroma and taste to the dish.
About Sambar Powder
There are plenty of sambar powder recipes across South India prepared with varying ingredients. Most of these are made with coriander seeds, cumin and lentils as the base. Ingredients like coconut, cinnamon and even stone flower are used in some regions.
For years I had been bringing sambar masala from my mum’s home. For the past one year I have been making my own since I don’t travel frequently.
Most times I make the it fresh just enough for one time preparation. I have shared it on my Sambar recipe and Idli sambar posts.
Making this spice powder at home is easy and can be prepared just under 15 minutes. It is very flavorful and hygienic to make it at home.
This keeps good for about 6 months in the fridge. At room temperature it will keep good for 3 months.
This recipe yields about 1 cup of sambar masala powder. This is good enough to prepare 24 to 30 servings of vegetable sambar. We do not use pepper in this powder. If you prefer you can use it.
This spice powder can also be used to make rasam just add some pepper powder towards the end of making rasam.
More homemade spice powders
Biryani Masala Powder
Pav Bhaji Masala
How to Make Sambar Powder (Stepwise photos)
Roast Lentils and Spices
1. Heat a pan. If making sambar powder in large quantity then dry roast each ingredient separately as the cooking time is different. Since this recipe is to make little sambar powder I have roasted them together but in batches.
Pour 1 ½ tablespoon chana dal, 1 ½ tablespoon urad dal, 1 tablespoon toor dal and 8 to 12 dried red chilies. You can also use more red chilies than mentioned in the recipe. But with the amount I mentioned it was too hot for my kids. So if you have kids do adjust. Dry roast them on a low flame until the dal is golden in color & begin to turn aromatic.
2. Add ¼ cup coriander seeds and ¾ teaspoon methi seeds. Roast until coriander seeds turn crunchy and the methi seeds are deep roasted & aromatic.
3. When you smell the roasted methi seeds, add 2 sprigs curry leaves and roast until they turn crisp. By now the methi seeds will turn slightly darker in color.
4. Add 2 teaspoon cumin seeds and roast till crunchy. You will smell the cumin good very soon. Turn off the stove. If you prefer to use pepper corn, you can add 1 teaspoon black pepper corn along with cumin. We use pepper only for rasam powder.
5. Add ¼ teaspoon turmeric and 1/8 teaspoon hing to this. Turmeric is used here as a preservative to keep the sambar masala good. Transfer all these to a wide plate and cool completely.
Grind Sambar Powder
6. Add them to a mixer/grinder jar. You can also get these milled in a flour mill if you are making in large quantity.
7. Make a fine powder.
Store sambar powder in a air tight glass jar for freshness. You can also use steel jar.
Sambar Powder Recipe (Sambar Masala)
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1 ½ tablespoons bengal gram (chana dal or senaga pappu)
- 1 ½ tablespoon black gram (skinned urad dal or minapappu)
- 1 tablespoon toor dal (pigeon peas split or kandi pappu)
- 8 to 12 red chilies (adjust to taste)
- ¼ cup coriander seeds (or daniya) 4 tbsps of 22 to 25 grams
- ¾ teaspoon methi seeds (fenugreek seeds or menthulu)
- 2 sprigs curry leaves (kadi patta or kervepaku) (optional)
- 2 teaspoon cumin (or jeera)
- 1 teaspoon pepper corn (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon asafoetida (hing) (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric (haldi powder)
- Clean lentils, coriander seeds and cumin seeds.
- Heat a pan and regulate the flame to low.
- The entire roasting should happen on a low flame which brings out the aroma from each ingredient.
- Dry roast chana dal, urad dal, toor dal and red chilies until golden. If you are making this in large quantity then roast each ingredient separately until deep golden.
- Add coriander seeds and methi seeds.
- Roast till the coriander turns crunchy and lightly roasted. By then methi seeds also turn slightly dark & aromatic.
- When you begin to smell the methi seeds nice, add curry leaves and roast until they turn crisp.
- Then add cumin and pepper (optional). Roast until it turns crunchy. Turn off the stove.
- At the end of this step, you should have deep roasted dal, methi, coriander seeds, crisp red chilies & curry leaves.
- Add turmeric and hing. Transfer to a wide plate and cool completely.
How to make Sambar Powder
- Add these to a blender/grinder jar.
- Make a fine powder. Cool completely and store in a airtight glass or steel jar.
- Use sambar powder as needed. It keeps good at room temperature for 3 months.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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Hin..i want to know one thing.in sbar powder u have not addeed grated dry coconut so will it taste like south indian style..as in general we dont add coconut seperately in sambar making
Many traditional South Indian sambar recipes don’t use coconut in any form (in sambar and in powder both). Using coconut is just one variation & it is done for Udupi Sambar. Also adding coconut to sambar powder cuts down the shelf life. Hope this helps
Hello Swasthi, I want to thank you for your very very amazing and wonderful site. Your recipes are great and I have made many of them. The pictures are great too. Earlier I used to carry sambar powder and garam masala from home in India but now I stopped because I can make them easily with your recipes. Today I made a small batch of sambar powder and your sambar as well. It turned out so good. My Indian neighbour knocks the door to know what sambar powder I’m using. I showed her your blog.
Thank you so much Pragathi. You made my day! So happy to know!
Thanks for detailed and simple recipe
I followed the exact recipe. My sambar smells awesome with this powder. Next time I will double the red chilies. Thank you.
Thank you Vaidehi. Glad to know!
Yes you may double the red chilies if you want spicy like store bought.
I made this exactly as written and did not like it at all. It is the first time I did not like one of your recipes. I must have done something wrong. Do fenugreek seeds become bitter if roasted too long? Could it have been the curry leaves? I could only find dried. It had a bitter aftertaste that lingered. I want to try again but I’m not sure where I went wrong.
Actually sambar powder is not to be eaten/tasted without cooking in sambar. Uncooked sambar powder tastes bitter, pungent and can’t tell you how inedible & funny it tastes. Fenugreek seeds are naturally bitter but after cooking the powder in the sambar you won’t taste the bitterness. I don’t think even the curry leaves would have impacted because that’s only 2 sprigs. I don’t think anything has gone wrong, unless you have under roasted the lentils. You are just not used to the smell. Try cooking a small batch of sambar to know if something has really gone wrong with the powder. I would be happy to assist you further. Hope this helps.
Thank you for your reply; I did use the power in your sambar recipe and that’s what I meant when I said I didn’t like it. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I will just try it again. I love everything you post and want this one to work very badly.
Laurie, Yes if the methi seeds are over roasted it can taste bitter. But these days I am tasting even the lentils bitter, especially the toor dal. I wonder if it is the toor dal itself. There is a shortage of lentils in the market due to pandemic and all we are getting is quite old stock. Taste test your lentils before or after cooking. You will know. If so use more moong dal & less toor dal in your sambar. Hope this helps.
Where are the measurements?
Please scroll down and check the recipe card
Hello Swasthi, i need a clarification. Your Sambar Masala Powder states TOOR dal. However in the Sambar Recipe – where you have given how to make Sambar Masala Powder – NO Toor Dal is mentioned. Do we have to add the Toor Dal to make the Sambar Masala Powder. Thank you.
Yes both sambar powders are different. If you want to make a batch and store follow this sambar powder recipe. If you want to make fresh every time you make sambar you use the recipe (without toor dal) I mentioned in my sambar recipe. Hope this helps.
Thank you very much Swasthi….i follow most of your recipes, recently modak and they are absolutely fantastic. Best part is they are in tablespoon measure which is easy to follow. Even my 75 year old mother loves your recipes and each time we talk ( I live out of India) she says check Swasthi’s recipes …as though you are her bestie….but yes we love your recipes and thank you for your trouble and efforts. Going to print off the recipe for Sambhar Masala Powder WITH the toor dal. I have to make and store it since i am a working lady.
Michelle, That’s awesome!
I feel so honored to know Mom says that.
Thanks a lot and you made my day!
It took me a very long time to make this, sambar powder included per your instructions. Good things come to those who wait, right? 🙂
Finally done and it is quite tasty. Going to eat it with Idly. Thank you very much.
Certainly yes! Haha! So glad you tried it! Thank you so much for letting me know.
Excellent!!! Home sambar pakka! Too much nostalgia making this. Would you consider this as Iyer Sambar podi?
Iyer sambar podi usually does not have urad dal and toor dal.
Thank you Swasthi
I made a batch of this and the aroma is so good. Like the way my Mom and sis makes it.
Glad to know Lakshmi Priya
Hello, the recipe was perfect. Powder cane out very well with the right amount of punch. Using it in all recipes like sambar, spinach pulusu, charu (radian). Thanks very much.
Glad to know it is useful. Thank you so much!
I just had a small doubt, do we first was dals? I want to try this receipe. Kindly let me know.
You can rinse and sun dry or fan dry them on a cloth. If using organic lentils, you can skip the rinsing.
I love all your recipies the simplest way you present with authentic taste.
Good job mam
Thank you Snehlata
Very excited to make this recipe! I’m an Anglo that LOVES Indian food and lives in New Mexico. What is the name of the type of chili you would use so I can find a substitute?
Glad to know you! I use kashmiri red chillies. If you don’t find something similar, you may skip them and use more kashmiri red chilli powder when you make the sambar. I usually do that. Hope this helps
Good Style and Lovely
Hi Joan, see if you can find an Indian/Pakistani or Sri Lankan store near you (or online). You can get Kashmiri or South Indian (bydagi) dried chilles The Mexican chillies will give a very different flavour and hence not recommended. Kashmiri chillies are not too spicy but you can experiment based on your tolerance levels.
I have always used sambar powder made by my Mother in law Today i have made it for the first time following your recipe. it smells so good, cant wait to make sambar tomorrow. Thank you so much
Thank you Jen!
Glad you like it!
Hi Swasthi, I have tried a couple of your recipes. Thank you so much for putting up these recipes. For how long can I store the sambar powder? Also what ki d of veggies can I use?
Glad to know! It keeps good even for an year in the fridge. You can check my sambar recipe here
Hi, I’m going to be trying many of your recipes after a first trip to India in February everything you post looks great and we loved the Sambar we had in Kerala and Karnataka.
Can I just check on the urad dal you use in this recipe – is it skin on or skin off? Whole or split?
Thank you! It’s skin off urad dal. Hope you enjoy the sambar.
Thanks for the recipe
I tried your sambar recipe it turned out yummy…l love all your recipes…. Ur a good soul…. u teach n guide us vry well…. God Bless U Abundantly…
Thank you so much Grace
Glad to know!
Nice recipes,i want taste of south india,been to south ,chennai for eight yeras
enjoyed the diderent foodv at different places of south
blog some kerala stuff also
Thank you! Yes sure I will