Sambar Masala Powder Recipe

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Experience the authentic flavors of South Indian cuisine by creating your own sambar masala powder at home.

This aromatic blend of handpicked spices will elevate your dishes, giving them the perfect balance of warmth and depth.

Crafted with precision and care, this homemade masala powder is the secret ingredient that transforms a regular meal into a culinary delight.

Join me on a flavorful journey as I unveil the step-by-step guide to making this essential spice blend that will undoubtedly become a staple in your kitchen.

Sambar Masala Powder


  • The recipe features key ingredients like lentils, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and aromatic spices, creating the authentic taste of sambar masala powder.
  • Roasting lentils and spices requires careful attention to prevent over-browning. Achieve a golden hue for optimal flavor without bitterness.
  • The combination of garlic, curry leaves, and dry red chilies contributes to a balanced and savory taste, elevating the overall flavor profile of the masala powder.
  • Grinding roasted spices in batches ensures a consistent blend. It’s important to add subsequent ingredients in appropriate portions for a well-balanced powder.
  • Preserve the freshness of homemade Sambar Masala Powder by storing it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Regularly check for changes in aroma and color to maintain its quality.

How to Make Sambar Masala Powder? (Step by Step Guide with Images)

Step 1: Take a frying pan and heat it on a low flame on your gas stove. When it is hot, add a cup of split chickpeas (chana dal) to the pan.

Adding a cup of split chickpeas (chana dal) to the pan

Step 2: Follow it with a cup of black gram split (mash dal).

A cup of black gram split

Step 3: Now, add 1 cup of split pigeon peas (toor dal) to the frying pan.

Adding 1 cup of split pigeon peas (toor dal) to the frying pan

Step 4: Stir all the lentils in the frying pan continuously to dry roast them for about 5 minutes.

Stirring all the lentils in the frying pan

Step 5: Remove the pan from the gas stove when you notice the color of the lentils has changed, indicating they are roasted nicely and there is no moisture in them. Transfer them to a plate and keep them aside to cool.

Color of the lentils has changed

Step 6: Now, add 1 cup of coriander seeds in the same pan.

Adding 1 cup of coriander seeds in the same pan

Step 7: Stir them continuously for about a minute until they are roasted nicely and you notice a slight change in their color.

Stirring them continuously

(Expert tip: Remove the pan and transfer the roasted coriander seeds immediately to the plate to prevent them from being over-roasted).

Step 8: Now, put ½ cup of fenugreek seeds and ½ cup of cumin seeds into the pan.

Putting ½ cup of fenugreek seeds and ½ cup of cumin seeds into the pan

Step 9: Roast them nicely by stirring them continuously for about a minute or two and you notice their color change to a slight golden brown. Keep them aside.

Roasting them nicely by stirring

Step 10: Now, put 1 cup of fresh curry leaves into the pan.

Putting 1 cup of fresh curry leaves into the pan

Step 11: Stir them continuously for about a minute so that they lose their moisture and do not get burnt but become crisp.

Stirring them continuously

Step 12: Now, put 12 to 15 pieces of dry red chilies into the pan. Stir them and roast them nicely until they emit their natural aroma.

Putting 12 to 15 pieces of dry red chilies into the pan

Step 13: Now, take a clean and dry grinder.

dry grinder

Step 14: When the roasted spices and lentils are cool enough, transfer them all and the red chilies to the grinder.

Roasted spices and lentils are in grinder

(Expert tip: If your grinder is small, you can grind the ingredients in small batches. However, make sure you add the subsequent ingredients in appropriate portions as well).

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Step 15: Add ¼ cup of garlic without their skin to the grinder.

Adding ¼ cup of garlic

Step 16: Follow it with 1 tbsp of regular table salt.

Adding 1 tbsp of regular table salt

Step 17: Grind the ingredients to a fine powder.

Grinding the ingredients to a fine powder

Step 18: Take a clean and dry bowl.

Dry bowl

Step 19: Transfer the powder from the grinder to the bowl and your sambar masala powder is ready to be used.

Sambar masala powder is ready

Pro Tips for Making Sambar Masala Powder

Choose Quality Ingredients: Opt for fresh and high-quality spices to ensure the best flavor in your sambar masala powder. Freshness matters!

Control Roasting Time: Keep a close eye on the roasting process. Over-roasting can lead to bitterness, so aim for a golden brown color without burning the spices.

Sequential Grinding: If your grinder is small, grind the ingredients in batches. However, maintain the proper proportions when adding subsequent ingredients for a consistent blend.

Balancing Act with Salt: Use the recommended amount of salt, but feel free to adjust to your taste. Remember, you can add more later when preparing your dishes, so start with a moderate amount.

Cool Before Grinding: Allow the roasted spices and lentils to cool before grinding. This helps retain the flavors and prevents the powder from becoming clumpy.

Experiment and Personalize: Don’t be afraid to tweak the recipe to suit your preferences. Add a personal touch by adjusting the spice levels or trying different varieties of chilies.

Use a Dry Grinder: Ensure your grinder is clean and dry before starting the grinding process. Any moisture can affect the texture and shelf life of your sambar masala powder.

Be Mindful of Curry Leaves: Roast curry leaves until they become crisp but not burnt. This step adds a unique fragrance to the masala powder, so handle them with care.

Sambar Masala Powder Storing Tips

Airtight Container: Transfer your freshly made sambar masala powder to an airtight container. This helps to preserve its aromatic flavors and prevents moisture from seeping in.

Cool and Dark Storage: Choose a cool, dark place in your kitchen for storing the masala powder. Sunlight and heat can diminish the potency of the spices, so keep the container of the masala powder away from direct sunlight.

Avoid Refrigeration: While it’s essential to keep the powder away from moisture, refrain from refrigerating it. The fluctuating temperatures in the refrigerator can affect the texture and flavor of the masala.

Use a Dry Spoon: When scooping out the masala powder, always use a dry spoon. Introducing moisture can lead to clumping and spoil the quality of the spice blend.

How Does Sambar Masala Powder Taste?

Warm and Earthy: The combination of roasted lentils, coriander seeds, and cumin creates a warm and earthy base that forms the essence of the masala powder.

Spicy and Aromatic: Dry red chilies and fenugreek seeds contribute to the spice level, providing a delightful kick. The aromatic blend of these spices adds a depth of flavor to your dishes.

Balanced and Savory: The careful inclusion of garlic and curry leaves ensures a balanced and savory profile. These ingredients add a rich undertone, enhancing the overall taste.

Smoky and Nutty: The smokiness from the roasted lentils and the nuttiness of cumin seeds contribute to a distinct and satisfying flavor profile.

Herbaceous and Fresh: Fresh curry leaves bring an herbaceous and fresh note to the masala powder, enhancing the overall vibrancy of the blend.

Mildly Tangy and Citrusy: The slight tanginess from coriander seeds adds a pleasant twist, while also infusing a subtle citrusy undertone to the masala powder.

Robust and Peppery: The combination of black gram split and fenugreek seeds introduces a robust and peppery element, adding depth and character to the overall taste.

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Slightly Bitter and Pungent: Fenugreek seeds contribute a slightly bitter and pungent note, providing a unique edge to the overall taste profile.

Sambar Masala Powder Featured Image

Sambar Masala Powder Alternatives

For a closer match to sambar masala powder, you may consider the following alternatives:

Rasam Powder: While traditionally used for making rasam, this spice blend shares some common elements with sambar masala powder. Look for a high-quality rasam powder for a closer flavor.

Homemade Blend: Create a custom blend using coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, and red chili powder. Adjust the ratios to mimic the flavor profile of sambar masala powder.

Madras Curry Powder: Opt for a Madras curry powder with a balanced mix of spices, including coriander, cumin, and red chili powder. This can provide a rich and aromatic taste similar to sambar masala powder.

What Dishes Can Sambar Masala Powder be Used in?

Sambar: As the name suggests, sambar masala powder is an essential ingredient in preparing the classic South Indian dish, sambar. It adds depth and richness to the lentil-based stew, making it a flavorful and comforting meal.

Kootu: Kootu is a South Indian dish that combines vegetables and lentils. Sambar masala powder can be used to season and elevate the taste of this wholesome and nutritious preparation.

Rasam: For a tangy and spicy South Indian soup known as rasam, incorporating sambar masala powder enhances the overall taste. It contributes warmth and depth to the tomato-based broth.

Poriyal: Poriyal is a stir-fried vegetable dish common in South Indian cuisine. Adding a pinch of sambar masala powder to the stir-fry enhances the flavors of the vegetables, creating a delicious side dish.

Kuzhambu: Kuzhambu is a gravy-based dish in South Indian cooking. Sambar masala powder can be a key spice blend to impart a well-balanced flavor to the tangy and spicy gravy.

Usili: Usili is a traditional South Indian dish made with coarsely ground lentils and vegetables. Sambar masala powder can be used to season the lentil mixture, providing a delightful spiciness.

Pitla: Pitla is a popular dish in Maharashtra made with besan (gram flour). Adding sambar masala powder to the besan mixture enhances the taste and elevates this simple dish.

Stir-Fried Vegetables: Use sambar masala powder as a seasoning for stir-fried vegetables. It imparts a unique South Indian flavor to the dish, making it a delightful accompaniment to rice or roti.

Recipe Card

Sambar Masala Powder Featured Image

Sambar Masala Powder

By Mita Mondal
Sambar Masala Powder is a traditional spice blend originating from South India. It consists of a combination of roasted and ground spices, including lentils, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, dry red chilies, curry leaves, garlic, and salt
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Course Condiments
Cuisine Indian
Servings 50
Calories 57 kcal


  • 1 cup Split chickpeas (chana dal)
  • 1 cup Black gram split (mash dal)
  • 1 cup Split pigeon peas (toor dal)
  • 1 cup Coriander seeds
  • ½ cup Fenugreek seeds
  • ½ cup Cumin seeds
  • 1 cup Fresh curry leaves
  • 12 pieces Dry red chilies
  • ¼ cup Garlic (skin removed)
  • 1 tbsp Table salt


  • Heat a frying pan on low flame. Add 1 cup each of split chickpeas (chana dal), black gram split (mash dal), and split pigeon peas (toor dal). Stir and dry roast for about 5 minutes until the lentils change color. Once done, transfer them to a plate to cool.
  • In the same pan, add 1 cup of coriander seeds and roast for about a minute until they change color slightly. Transfer them to the plate to avoid over-roasting.
  • Next, put ½ cup each of fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds in the pan. Stir continuously for a minute or two until they turn slightly golden. Keep them aside.
  • Add 1 cup of fresh curry leaves to the pan and stir for a minute until they become crisp. Then add 12 to 15 dry red chilies and roast until they release their aroma.
  • Once cooled, put all the roasted ingredients along with the red chilies into a clean, dry grinder. Grind them into a fine powder.
  • To the grinder, add ¼ cup of peeled garlic and 1 tablespoon of regular table salt. Grind again until everything blends into a fine powder.
  • Transfer the powder from the grinder into a clean, dry bowl. Your homemade Sambar Masala Powder is now ready to add flavor to your dishes!
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Quality Ingredients: Use fresh and high-quality spices and lentils for the best flavor. Freshness plays a crucial role in enhancing the taste of the masala powder.
Careful Roasting: Pay close attention while roasting the ingredients. Over-roasting can result in a bitter taste. Aim for a gentle roast until the spices emit a fragrant aroma and achieve a golden color without burning.
Sequential Roasting: Roast the ingredients separately in the specified order to ensure each spice is perfectly roasted without burning. This step brings out the best flavors in individual components.
Cooling Before Grinding: Allow the roasted spices and lentils to cool completely before grinding. Grinding them while still hot can trap moisture, affecting the texture and shelf life of the powder.
Grinding Process: Use a clean and dry grinder. If the grinder is small, grind the ingredients in batches. Ensure a fine powder consistency, grinding the mixture thoroughly for the best results.
Adding Garlic and Salt: Add peeled garlic and table salt after the spices are ground. This step helps in uniform distribution and blending of flavors throughout the powder.
Storage Considerations: Store the Sambar Masala Powder in an airtight container placed in a cool, dark spot in your kitchen. Avoid moisture, as it can reduce the shelf life and freshness of the powder.
Customization: Feel free to adjust the spice levels according to your preference. You can experiment by altering the quantities of certain spices or adding other ingredients to personalize the flavor profile.
Usage Tips: Use Sambar Masala Powder in various South Indian dishes like sambar, rasam, kootu, vegetable stir-fries, and curries. Start by adding small amounts and adjust to taste.
Following these recipe notes will assist in creating a flavorful and aromatic Sambar Masala Powder that can enhance the taste of your culinary creations.

Nutrition Info (Estimation Only)

Nutrition Facts
Sambar Masala Powder
Amount per Serving
Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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In conclusion, crafting your own sambar masala powder at home allows you to savor the rich and aromatic flavors of South Indian cuisine.

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With precision in roasting and thoughtful storage, you can effortlessly elevate your dishes and enjoy the essence of this versatile spice blend.

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