Vidya’s Iyengar Sambar Powder


Category : Powders / Podi

Sambar is a very famous stew like dish in South India. It is made in several different styles and mostly eaten with rice. Even in rice, there are a variety of rices. Many eat with polished rice while others prefer Red rice which has the hull intact. We love to try several different types of Sambar powders. My all time favorite so far has been my MIL’s version. I have lost my grandmother’s version, so when I find it, I’ll publish it here. Iyengar Sambar is very famous in South India, and whenever Vidya’s mom used to make some extra for us, we would promptly sideline our food and chow in on theirs. I believe the intense aroma is from the Sambar powder which my dear friend has so generously shared with us.


Red Chile 1/2 KG, 1 pound

Coriander Seeds 1/2 KG, 1 pound

Channa Dal, 200 gm, 1 cup

Fenugreek, 25 gm, 1/2 tbsp

Cumin 100 gm, 1/2 cup


Take a very heavy bottomed pan, no need for a lid.

Dry fry each ingredient until almost red and let cool in a big tray.

Combine all the cool ingredients and make a coarse or fine powder.

My MIL makes her Sambar powder very coarse while Vidya makes it very smooth.

Vidya thinks that adding a small bark of cinnamon and 4 cloves along with Dhania while frying add way more flavor to the sambar.

My MIl does not like any cinnamon or cloves in hers, but I simply love that flavor very much. So it’s pretty much your choice.

Comments (4)

Adding the right spices makes the Sambhar delicious. I luv the sambhar from south India.

Hi Radha
Thanks 4 d lovely recipes and your very friendly chatty manner too – just like a good friend explaining stuff…
I just wanted 2 ask you something – is it a bark of Cumin or Cinnamon – just checking.
Thanks again

Thank you friends! Renuka, I’m not such a good editor(I get impatient by the time I finsih typing the recipe), thanks for pointing it out, fixed the error.

enjoyed watching you cook today!

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