Basics - Sambar Powder and Brinjal, Okra Sambar

I typed, retyped and deleted already 5 times now, will not keep this post waiting for another day...all I have to say is I'm enjoying doing basic recipe's. Fortunately or unfortunately I don't get all required spice powder's here, which has kicked the basic instinct in me to start everything from scratch. Thanks to coffee powder maker, it grounded my sambar powder beautifully. This post is heavly loaded with pictures...I did the shoot on a bright sunny day with good light diffusor (2 white curtains) and also made proper use of camera stand. Took the pictures in raw format and did minimal editing. Totally it was enjoyable recipe to make and to shoot!

Sambar powder recipe is from mom and aunt, it does't taste like commercial or something from restaurants, but i can say it has simple, beautiful and fresh flavour. I'm proud of making sambar powder by myself, considering my limitations of vegetarian cooking ability!  

Though there are so many varieties of sambar and every house has a unique way to prepare it, this is how its made at home. I prefer thicker consistency for rice and more runny for idly and vada.  

Geek note: using camera stand brought great clarity and sharpness to pictures. Will stick to it from now on, can't trust my wobbly hands anymore. Also thumbs up for pictures in raw formant, you can play a lot with it. Happy cooking peeps!

Preparation Method

Sambar Powder (Powder was medium spicy, if you need more spicy included two more dry red chilies) 


4    Tbspn Coriander seeds
2    Tbspn Channa dal
1/4 Tbspn Fenugreek seeds
1/2 Tbspn Cumin seeds
4    Dry Red chilies
1/4 Tbspn Whole black pepper
1    Spring of curry leaves 
1/4 Tbspn Asafoetida
1/4 Tbspn Turmeric powder


On medium heat in a heavy bottom pan, dry roast all the above ingredients (except Asafoetida and Turmeric powder) individually. Let them cool to room temperature and grind them to fine powder. Fresh sambar powder at your service!

Sambar Recipe


100 gram Toor dhal
15   gram Tamarind
1 tbspn Oil
150 gram vegetables diced (I used okra and eggplant. In principle you can use, pumpkin, zucchini, okra, eggplant, drumstick and/or may be even potato)
1 medium  size Tomato finely chopped
6 to 8 Shallots finely chopped (or one medium sized onion)
1 Pod Garlic
1/4 tspn Turmeric powder
2 1/2 Tspn Sambar powder
Salt to taste


1 tbspn Oil
1/4 tspn Mustered seeds
1/24 tspn Cumin seeds
1 Green chilly
1 Spring Curry leaves
Pinch of Asafoetida
2 Tbspn of chopped fresh coriander


Cook toor dhal in pressure cooker with 1 pod of garlic, till they are tenderly soft. 

In the side soak, tamarind in about 100 ml of water. After tamarind becomes soft in water, extract the tamarind juice, add in more water and extract the tamarind juice well.

(If not in pressure cooker, dhal can be pot boiled along with garlic, it might take long time for the dhal to cook. Tip for quick cooking soak dhal in water for 1 to 2 hours, it will speed up the cooking process )

In a medium sized pot, add 1 tbspn of oil. When oil warms up, add in chopped shallots and cook till they become soft and transparent. Now add in okra first and fry till the sliminess goes for about 3 - 4  mins. Next add in egg plant, along with it add in some salt, turmeric powder and let vegetable cook for another 3 to 4 mins. Next add 1 1/2 tspn of sambar powder give it a gentle mix, pour in tamarind juice. Check for salt if required add more salt. Let the vegetables cook. Once the vegetable becomes soft, pour cooked dhal in to boiling vegetable mixture, now let the dhal come to boil.

Tempering : In a small pan, add 1 Tbspn of oil, when oil warms up add 1/4 tspn Mustered seeds, 
1/24 tspn Cumin seeds. Let them splutter then quickly 1 Green chilly, 1 Spring Curry leaves, Pinch of Asafoetida. Give it a gentle mix and add to the boiling sambar. 
Finally add remaining one 1 tspn of sambar powder and fresh coriander.

Serve with steaming rice and roasted potato 

Roasted potato 
In a heavy bottom pan, add 1 tbspn of oil, as oil warms up add in diced potato (say 150 grams), salt and turmeric. Give it a gentle mix and cover the pan and let the potato cook, occasionally give them a mix, once the potato is cooked, add 1/2 tspn of chilly owner 1/2 tspn coriander powder and 1/4 tspn cumin powder. Toss them and garnish with finely chopped coriander. 


Torviewtoronto June 4, 2013 at 2:56 AM  

delicious combination of flavours lovely pictures enjoyed looking at them

anjana June 4, 2013 at 8:06 AM  

wow!loved the beautiful pics..perfect sambhar recipe..awesome!!!

Padhu Sankar June 4, 2013 at 10:18 AM  

Extraordinary pictures.

Prema June 4, 2013 at 1:54 PM  

wow awesome post,clicks are amazing...

Angie's Recipes June 5, 2013 at 6:42 AM  

A fantastic red lentil recipe, Ananada. So are the clicks...really beautiful.

Priya Suresh June 5, 2013 at 11:11 PM  

Omg, homemade sambar powder looks fantabulous, beautifully done.Sambhar is just inviting.

Sanchita June 7, 2013 at 11:22 PM  

Aw! how much I missed your photos! I just love all the photos! you are just brilliant!

Pooja Mittal June 14, 2013 at 3:15 PM  


Would you like to follow each other..!!!

Keep in touch,

Shanthi Krishnakumar July 5, 2013 at 9:51 AM  

Nice one . Tempting and wonderful. :)

Unknown October 22, 2013 at 1:14 PM  

Amazing clicks...U can also try this..

sambar powder

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