Home Made Sambhar Powder and Dal

November 7, 2007

You can never have too many clothes, shoes, handbags… and kitchen gadgets.

My super turbo hand-held blender has never let me down. But off late I’ve noticed its general reluctance to turn roasted spices into anything finer than granulated sugar.

Old age perhaps? A spot of rebellion? It happens to the best of us…

It was time for change. I needed a mean machine that would blast even the toughest little spice rogues into tiny specks of dust. I needed a coffee grinder.

It would have to be:

  • Compact: The kitchen cupboards are bursting with stuff
  • Easy to clean: My poor man has enough on his plate already
  • Simple to use: Anything more than the click of a button is far too exhausting

I settled for this one. My first mission – to make the spice mix for home made sambhar powder, a South Indian dal eaten widely with steamed idlis, fried dosas and even plain rice.

Armed and dangerous, I spent 10 whole minutes reducing dry roasted whole spices to fine sambhar powder. I got 150gms worth. Enough to last a year, to be precise.

This is the sambhar dal I made with it. Fragrant, delicious and simple.



Feeds 4:

  • 250 gm toor lentils
  • 6 okras (lady finger)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • Half teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp sambhar powder
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly grated coconut (Unsweetened dessicated will work too)
  • Pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • Salt to taste




Wash the lentils thoroughly in a large pot, until the water runs clean. Bring it to boil with twice as much cold water, the turmeric powder and a teaspoon of oil.

As it bubbles up, lower the flame to a medium boil and cook the lentils until they lose shape and start integrating with the water. Don’t let them dry up and keep adding hot water to make sure you have a dal iof fairly thin consistency.

In the meantime, wash the whole okra under cold water and then chop into one centimetre discs. Peel and chop the carrot into half centimetre discs and then quarters. Chop the onion into little pieces.

Bring the remaining oil to heat in a small pot over a high flame. When it is hot, add the asafoetida and the mustard seeds. As they sizzle up, add the curry leaves and fry them for 20 seconds.

Next add the vegetables and the sambhar powder and stir fry on a high heat, mixing the ingredints together well.

When the dal is cooked, stir this vegetable mix into it along with the coconut. Simmer together for five minutes and serve piping hot.

PS = Why stop at a coffee grinder? Use a pressure cooker to make the dal. It takes 5-7 minutes after the first whistle.



6 Responses to “Home Made Sambhar Powder and Dal”

  1. Asha Says:

    November 7th, 2007 at 8:31 am

    10 mins to grind!! You need a Sumeet mixer, nothing like it.It blasts anything withing a minute. For coffee grinder, I love Black and Decker brand. Glad you got the powder at last though.Sambhar looks great.

    Happy Diwali!:))

  2. Mona Says:

    November 7th, 2007 at 9:44 am

    Hi Mallika ! I agree with you that one can never get enough with kitchen gadgets, shoes, clothes.. :-) I’m always looking for something new in the market, my needs in the kitchen.. :-) My poor hubby dear will agree here. Well, i have a grinder, and since i had bought that i very rarely take my juicer or processor out. Try this out sometime, and you will be very happy with it.
    See ya :-)

  3. swaroopa Says:

    November 7th, 2007 at 11:13 am

    hey sambar looks gr8.i agree too that we can nvr say enough of kitchen gadgets , clothes…

  4. Pooja V Says:

    November 7th, 2007 at 11:47 am

    Hi..loved your post !! n ur sambar too.

  5. Maninas Says:

    November 8th, 2007 at 6:21 am

    Love your new little friend! it looks the business!

  6. Monisha Says:

    November 8th, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    Hi Mallika,
    The sambar looks delicious. I’ve never tried a version with coconut before.
    I used to have a coffee grinder too; I wrecked it by putting cloves in it. Now I stick to a mortar and pestle.
    I’ve so far tried making your alu dum, eggplant raita, butter chicken, chicken pulao, chana daal with paneer, daal with veggies, and egg raita. I’m a timid cook and am happy to say that they all turned out very well. Thanks!

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