South Indian dishes are not complete unless there is the accompanying yummy sambar to dip into.
At times the task of making a delicious sambar seems cumbersome as we may not have enough time in kitchen yet we long to have it , so these instant sambar mixes are a great boon.
Store brand ones are already available but am not comfortable using them as there seems to be some ingredients not required, some use hydrogenated oils too..besides the freshness is a question mark. Some unnecessary spices are also added not required for daily use sambar. Not to mention the expense . So the at the beginning of every month or when you get some spare time it is a good idea to have such mixes ready for your use.
Send the prepared ready to make sambar mix with your kids when they leave to Universities/colleges away from home and need a homely taste to food. One cannot live on pizzas all your life and when home sickness kicks in, there is nothing to beat , a quick instant sambar which has no complicated process of hunting for ingredients, running to stores etc...simply measure out tbsps of powder into water, boil , add vegetables, salt and garnishing if any and a delicious home made sambar, just like mom made is ready in no time. Microwave comes handy for such occasions.
Moms please do add necessary instructions on the back of the sambar mix sachets-so that your kids dont flounder!! and same goes for hubbies too!! All they have to do is follow your instructions.
This sambar mix is a great boon to the hurried busy housewife , working moms who love to have good tasty food within minutes but cannot slave in the kitchen.
When the sambar requirement is only for the tiffin items and you do not require a big quantity to be made, this powder comes handy.
Housewives who need to be free form long cooking processes will also find this a great help.
The ingredients are for a basic south Indian sambar, make your own tweaks to get your preferred taste.
Instant sambar mix
5 tbsp toor dal/Pigeon peas
1 tbsp chana dal ( Bengal gram )
5 red chillies ( or as you prefer)
2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder to give that flaming colour to
the sambar ( reduce dry chillies if you
feel it might be spicy , instead you can add additional home made sambar powder
at the time of making sambar using this mix to make adjustments.)
½ tsp asafoetida crystals or 1 heaped tsp of powder)
1 tbsp fried gram dal ( pottukadalai )
1 gooseberry size tamrind.
some curry leaves which has to be roasted crisp separately and added to ingredients while powdering .
1 tbsp mustard seeds ( for seasoning the powder)
Heat a pan with little oil and roast the dals till lightly
golden, keep aside.
Now roast all the remaining ingredients except the mustard
seeds over a low flame , including the asafoetida powder / crystals and the
tamrind ( after breaking it up into small bits. )
Roast all till a fine aroma emanates and do not scorch
ingredients or it will leave an unpleasant taste to sambar.
Remove all ingredients and let cool completely.
Separately in a tsp of oil, take a tadka pan and splutter the mustard seeds, keep aside to
Meanwhile grind all the roasted ingredients to a fine
Remove and let it cool down. Add the crackled mustard seeds
to this mix and stir well.
When the prepared mix has cooled completely store
immediately in an airtight container to lock in the aroma .
To prepare the sambar with the instant mix
Take a vessel and add some water depending on quantity of sambar you need.
For instance I took around 150 ml of water and
added 3 tbsp of the prepared mix.
Mix the powder well in water and keep on heat,
add finely cut vegetables like potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, pumpkins .
Add salt as it is not added in the mix.
When the vegetables have cooked well, make
adjustments to the sambar which would have reduced or thickened, so add little
water and boil.
Although there is no need to add any cooked dal
as dal is already added in the mix, if preparing at home and cooked dal is
readily available, add the dal to thicken.
Sambar can also be thickened by gently mashing
potatoes with the ladle.
Garnish with coriander leaves.
No need to season as it is already added in the
There is no need to add dal or tamrind, or any seasoning as everything
You can add some ground coconut paste to make it
even more richer .
In that case you need to add a little more mix while preparing sambar.
As we presume these mixes are going to be sent with those
travelling, we assume that ingredients like curry leaves may not be available
so we add them to the mix itself.
Similarly they may not have time to measure out ingredients
like tamrind, extract water from it so we add that also to the mix, which gets
roasted till brittle and gets powdered .
Last but not the least , all adjustments to final sambar can be easily made by using your own home made sambar powder too.
As I did not have sufficient qty of toor dal , I made up by adding some moong dal ....