Pile of  Powder

Sambar Podi #2   (Sambar Powder)
India - South

Sambar Podi (Sambar Powder) is the basic seasoning for sambars, one of the signature dishes of Southern India. These dal based first course dishes appear at most meals in these vegetarian cuisines, but you don't have to be a vegetarian to enjoy them. See also our Sambar Podi #1. Amounts given will fill a 4 oz jar.




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1/2
1/4
1/2
1/4
1/4
1
1/4
1/4
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10
1
1/2
1/4
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T
c
T
t
t
T
t
c
---

in
T
t
-- Toasted
Cumin seeds
Coriander seeds
Black Peppercorns
Fenugreek seeds
Mustard seeds, black
Chana Dal (1)
Poppy seeds, white
Red Chili, dry (2)  
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Curry leaves (3)
Cinnamon stick
Coconut, dry
Turmeric powder
Make   -   (20 min)
  1. On a dry tava, comal or skillet, over moderate heat, separately dry toast each of the Toasted items, stirring often and being careful not to burn them. Each is done when it's unique aroma becomes more intense and it just starts to darken. Since this happens at different points for each, it's important they be toasted separately (see Note-4). Have everything measured in advance because toasting time is very short. I always start with Cumin seeds because they make it easy to tell when the pan is at the right temperature. Chilis should be last because they can affect the sense of smell. They should just darken a bit but not become black.
  2. Cool the pan and dry the CURRY LEAVES until brittle. This should be on very low heat, turning frequently.
  3. Mix all ingredients together and grind them in a spice grinder until very fine.
  4. package in an airtight jar - it'll keep 6 months or so.
NOTES:
  1. Chana Dal:   This is peeled and split Indian Chick Peas, which are smaller than the familiar Garbanzo. Any market serving an Indian community will have chana dal. In some recipes a mix of several different dals is used.
  2. Chilis:   Hotness depends on how hot your dried chilis are, and how many of them you use. The not so hot Japones in this quantity will yield a fairly mild masala. Dried Arbols or Thai chilis will deliver more impact, and if you like you can increase the quantity. In Southern India they like their masala pretty hot. For details see our Chili Page.
  3. Curry Leaves:   These are the signature flavor of Southern India, but if you don't have them, you'll have to leave them out - unfortunately there is no acceptable substitute.
  4. Method:   In India, where this is done every few days (or used to be - now many buy ready made from their local spice vendor), the toasting would be done in one pass. Ingredients would be added in a particular order so they all come out right. I don't have that much practice, so I do them all separately.
  5. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required, tt=to taste
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