Sambar Powder

Homemade sambar powder recipe to make delicious south Indian lentil-based vegetable stew to go with breakfast items like idli, dosa and vada and rice for lunch! 

Sambar Powder Ingredients

Sambar Powder ingredients roasted in a cast-iron pan

Sambar Powder processed in a mixie grinder

Recipe for Sambar Powder

Yields: Enough to hold in a 500gms honey bottle 


  • 2 tablespoons chana dal (split chickpeas or bengal gram)
  • 2 tablespoons urad dal (split and husked)
  • 2 tablespoons toor dal
  • 30gms to 50gms dried red chillies 
  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • a pinch of hing
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder 


  1. Keep all the ingredients measured and ready to use. Make sure to go through each ingredient to remove any debris. 
  2. Heat a cast-iron pan or a thick bottomed pan on low flame. Maintain the low flame throughout the process. 
  3. You may roast each ingredient one by one or one after the other until golden and fragrant. If doing it for the first time, I would suggest one by one method. Roast each item in the order listed above on low flame until fragrant or golden, remove them to a bowl and stir in the hing and turmeric powder.
    • If doing one after the other, add similar ingredients together (as listed below) but don't wait for them to turn fully golden before you add the next item. This way, no ingredients will get burnt. Switch off and stir in the hing and turmeric powder.
      • Chana dal, urad dal, and toor dal
      • dried red chillies 
      • coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds (methi)
      • cumin seeds
      • curry leaves
      • black peppercorns
      • mustard seeds
  4. Spread the roasted items on a larger plate and let it cool completely. 
  5. Grind or process them until fine. Spread the powder on a plate to cool completely before storing it in a clean dry airtight bottle. 
Sambar Powder Cooling
  • Before you switch off and stir in the hing and turmeric powder, make sure all the items are roasted and crisp including the curry leaves. 
  • Before grinding or processing, pick and discard any burnt black items. 
  • You may add up to 100gms of dried red chilli for a more spicy version.
  • The colour of your sambar powder will depend on the type of red chilli used. 
Use this homemade sambar podi to make my version of Sambar
Check my Coconut chutney recipes that you can serve with idli and dosa.