My first attempts at cooking always involved using Sambhar Powder. The mere fact that I had Sambhar Powder prepared by ammayi in the pantry gave me a lot of confidence! This is how my ammayi prepares it and there is a whole host of people including my mom and aunt who cannot survive without it. Linda, here it is specially for you.
1. Red Chillies - 4 Cups
2. Corriander Seeds - 1 1/2 Cups
3. Kadalai Paruppu (Chana Dal/Black Gram Dal) - 1 tbsp
4. Urad Dal (Black Gram Dal) - 1 tbsp
5. Cumin - 1/2 tbsp
6. Pepper - 1 tsp
7. Methi Seeds - 1 tbsp
8. Asfoetida - 1/2 tsp
9. Mustard seeds (black, Indian variety small ones) - 1/2 tsp
10. Curry leaves (fresh or dried) - 2 Sprigs
Tip: Dry all the ingredients in the sun for about 2 hours (optional)
Roast each of the ingredients one by one in a medium low flame, till they turn color slightly. As they get roasted they start to get a darker color, at this point stop. Do not let them turn black (have to throw away if they turn black).
If fresh, pat dry the curry leaves and then roast till brittle.
Let cool to room temperature. Mix and grind together in a blender to a powder. If using a coffee grinder, powder in small batches.