Sambar Powder: A South Indian Curry Powder Recipe

Congratulations! You’re here to make your own home-made Indian spice blend!

Once you make your own, you’ll never go back to store-bought blends. You’ll realize how easy sambar masala is to make and to refine to perfectly suit your unique preferences.

Sambar powder is the curry powder South Indian cooking is famous for. Unlike Garam Masala from the north that only includes whole spices, Sambar masala also includes roasted chana dal, urad dal, and toor dal to give it an umami flavor of greater depth.

This Sambar recipe can be spiced up with more red chili peppers or sweetened with cinnamon stick.

Sambar powder can be used in dals, bean chili, sprinkled on corn-on-the-cob or roasted yams, added to roasted vegetables, used in idli and other breads, chutneys, mashed potatoes, and more!

Once you become familiar with your sambar powder you can get creative and use it in new ways, like on Mac ‘n Cheese or desserts!  

For more information about cooking vegan Indian recipes, visit our Vegan Indian Cooking Guide! 

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sambar_spices_of_dal_coriander_chilis_and_curry_leaves bowl_of_fresh_ground_sambar_powder

Jump to Sambar Powder Grocery List

Sambar Powder: A South Indian Curry Powder Recipe


  • 15 minutes prep
  • Serves 10
  • Suggested equipment: small pan, wooden spoon, small electric grinder, airtight container.


  • 1 Tbsp Chana dal
  • 1 Tbsp Urad dal
  • 1 Tbsp Toor dal

  • 5 dried red chili, deseeded (more if you like it spicier)
  • ¼ cup coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 12 fresh curry leaves (double if you are using dried leaves)
  • 1/8 tsp hing, or asafetida
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder


  1. Place all 3 dal in a small pan over medium heat to roast them. Stir often. Be mindful to not let your spices burn! When they start to brown and smell fragrant, add the dried red chili, coriander, cumin, and fenugreek seeds, and fresh curry leaves.
  2. When your sambar ingredients start to smell fragrant and the chilis are lightly browned, add the hing and turmeric powder. Stir for 1 minute more.
  3. Remove from heat. Let the spice mixture cool. Place the sambar ingredients in a small electric grinder and pulse until it's powdered. Store in an airtight container for up to a month.


Chef's Notes 

It’s easy to burn your spices. Keep the heat at medium and stir often. Let your eyes and nose guide you to know when the spices are roasted.

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Written by Your Vegan Family 

Stacy and Markus live an adventurous vegan lifestyle and write articles about their experiences cooking global vegan cuisine, creating businesses, raising vegan kids, and traveling through more than 65 countries. They earned degrees in molecular biology and acupuncture, consulted over decades for healthcare companies and individuals, created businesses in Asian medicine, eco-tourism, cultural immersion, and taught yoga in myriad venues.

We’ve learned a lot from eating a plant-based diet for 25 years and are eager to share more with you. Learn more on our About Us page.

Vegan Sambar Powder Recipe Grocery List: 

  • chana dal
  • urad dal
  • toor dal
  • whole red chilis 
  • coriander seeds
  • cumin seeds
  • fenugreek seeds
  • curry leaves
  • hing or asafetida
  • turmeric powder



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