Sambar powder is another of my favorite spice blends. I use it on eggs, on grilled cheese, on roasted potatoes and veggies, in chili, and I could go on. There is also a dish called sambar but this is different. To be honest, I've never made the dish sambar but I keep making the powder. This week I made a giant batch. It will last a year - easy. Though some will be given to friends, we will have a huge amount for ourselves.
Like most spice blends, there are countless variations and preferences. This is a recipe I've made before and I've mentioned it many times on this blog.
3 fresh red chiles
1 tsp oil
2 oz. coriander seeds
1.5 oz. cumin seeds
1 oz. black peppercorns
2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 oz. fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground asafetida
2 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 tbsp. oil
2 oz. channa dal
1 oz. urad dal
Heat heavy frying pan and dry roast the whole spices over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Keep shaking that pan. When the seeds stop spattering, add the asafetida and tumeric and stir for a minute longer. Remove the mixture to a dry bowl.
Add the oil to the pan and fry the dals until they darken to a toasty color, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Add to the bowl of spices, mix well and let completely cool.
In the meantime, add about one teaspoon oil to the frying pan and fry chilies for about 5 minutes. Open some windows and turn on a fan. Those frying chilies can let off some sting to the eyes and nose. Remove the peppers and let completely cool on paper towels.
Once cooled, grind spices in a spice grinder in little batches. Grind peppers in food processor. Then grind everything in food processor. You might find this isn't enough of a grind. So, again, work in small batches with your spice grinder. Now, I should warn you, I have killed a spice grinder making sambar. I think I simply blew it's little motor. So if you are making a BIG batch (like the batch that killed my grinder) perhaps you should work in several batches but not all in one day?
Store the mix in an airtight container.