Sambar Masala

Dosa with Sambar
Ideowl/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
  • 22 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 12 mins
  • Yield: 2 servings
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Indian cuisine includes a wide variety of regional and traditional cuisines native to India. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate, culture, ethnic group and occupations, these cuisines vary significantly from each other and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits. Indian food is also heavily influenced by religious and cultural choices and traditions. There has also been Middle Eastern and Central Asian influence on North Indian cuisine. Indian cuisine has been and is still evolving, as a result of the nation's cultural interactions with other societies.

Historical incidents such as foreign invasions, trade relations and colonialism have also played a role in introducing certain foods to the country. For instance, the potato, a staple of the diet in some regions of India, was brought to India by the Portuguese, who also introduced chillies and breadfruit. Indian cuisine has also shaped the history of international relations; the spice trade between India and Europe is often cited by historians as the primary catalyst for Europe's Age of Discovery. Spices were bought from India and traded around Europe and Asia. 

Sambar Masala

Masala refers to any of a number of spice mixtures ground into a paste or powder for use in Indian cooking.

Almost a staple in South India, Sambar is eaten with plain boiled rice (a staple food of Indian cuisine), Idlis, Vadas, Dosas...well almost everything. The main ingredient in Sambar is Sambar Masala.

Sambar Masala uses cumin and coriander, two of the most important and frequently used spices and flavorings in Indian cuisine. 

Here's how you can make Sambar Masala in your kitchen.

What You'll Need

  • 1/2 cup coriander seeds
  • 1/4 cup cumin seeds
  • 1/4 cup chana daal (large split yellow lentils)
  • 1/4 cup urad daal (black gram)
  • 1/4 cup fenugreek seeds
  • 1/4 cup black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup dry red chilli flakes
  • 1/4 cup grated dessicated coconut
  • 1/4 cup mustard seeds
  • 20 dried curry leaves
  • 2 tbsps tumeric powder
  • 2 tsps asafetida powder

How to Make It

  • Roast all the ingredients - except the asafetida - on a hot griddle till they begin to release their aroma.
  • Cool on a tray.
  • Add the asafetida and grind into a fine powder. Store in an air-tight container.