Sambhar powder is a spice blend used throughout India, especially the southern states as a flavorant while preparing sambhar (a lentil preparation). Sambhar is a vegetable stew or chowder based on a broth made with tamarind and toovar dal, and is very popular in the cooking of southern regions of India especially in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It is eaten with rice or with Dosa and Idli’s or even alone, as a soup. Each state in the South prepares it with a typical variation, adapted to its taste and environment. The availability of ready to use sambhar powder makes sambhar preparation easier and faster.
Sambhar powder is used to prepare a South Indian delicacy called sambhar. Toovar dal is cooked until they are crumbled. Tamarind is soaked in water to extract its flavour and then the pulp is discarded. Vegetables, Tamarind water, Turmeric, Salt, Asafoetida (a pinch) and a mixture of ground spices known as sambhar powder are initially boiled together. After the vegetables and tamarind water are slightly cooked, the dal and ground coconut mixture are added and allowed to cook until the vegetables are done. A wide variety of vegetables may be added to sambar. Typical vegetables include Okra, Carrot, Radish, Pumpkin, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Brinjal and whole or halved Shallots or Onions, but many different vegetables may be used with adequate results.
” The cooked sambar is typically eaten with a garnish, which is an oil-fried spice mixture containing items such Mustard seeds, Urad Dal, Dried Red Chillies, Curry Leaves, Fenugreek Seeds, Coriander Seeds, and Asafoetida.
” The sambhar powder can also be added to Curries, Vegetable dishes, Soups, or Stews toward the end of cooking to impart a typical south Indian flavour to the dish.
” Sambar is usually served with steamed rice. Sambar with rice is one of the main courses of both formal and everyday south Indian cuisine. In Tamil Nadu, Vada Sambar and Idli Sambar are popular for breakfast or lunch.