Sambar Masala Ingredients Photo by Alaivani @ flickr

Sambar Masala Ingredients Photo by Alaivani @ flickr

No South Indian feast is complete without the Sambar. The Sambar, according to Wikipedia, is a lentil and vegetable stew or a chowder based on a broth made from Tamarind and Toovar Dal.

The Mumbaiites are believed to have been introduced to the Udupi cuisine in the early 1930’s with the opening of Cafe Mysore in Matunga, a suburb of Mumbai.The owners are from proper Udupi, as opposed to most other ‘Udupi’ restaurants, which are run by Shettys from or around Mangalore.

The difference in the Sambar from these Shetty-run restaurants is that the sambar has been modified to suit the taste buds of their local clientele. They have created a sort of sweet vegetable dal that is suitable for their local clientele. As a result, it has lost its authentic flavor. The Sambar that you get in Udupi is a lot more pungent, aromatic and flavorful.

In my house, sambar is made in a large quantity so as to last atleast 2 days. The first day is spent eating it with idli, dosa etc. The next day the taste of the sambar develops (matures) and all the subtle flavours come to the fore and vie for you attention. This makes it the perfect accompaniment to a plate of steaming white rice.

This is going to be a two part series as first I will put up the Sambar masala and then explain how to make the sambar.

So here goes –

Sambar Masala

Ingredients :

Coriander Seeds : 250 Gm.

Dried Red Chillies (Sankeshwari + Bedgi = 50:50) : 250 Gm.

Turmeric Powder : 25 Gm.

Asafoetida (Hing) : 15 Gm.

Cumin Seeds : 75 Gm.

Black Peppercorns : 50 Gm.

Mustard Seeds : 50 Gm.

Split Black Gram / Black Lentil (Urad Dal) : 100 Gm.

Split Bengal Gram (Chana Dal) : 100 Gm.

Raw Rice : 50 Gm.

Fenugreek Seeds (Methi) : 20 Gm.

Curry Leaves : one bunch

Method :

Dry roast the ingredients individually and then powder them. Keep the masala in an airtight jar and use as required.