To add a punch or Goan flavour to any dish, this sambhar powder comes in handy not only during the monsoons but whenever you are pressed for time. A dash of coconut milk or coconut powder with a couple of tablespoons of this spice mix cooked with any protein makes an excellent coconut-based gravy dish. Alternatively, freshly grated coconut can be substituted to achieve a dry dish. When I was in college, I used to cook my own lunch and this powder was so convenient. I would add it to legumes, then garnish it with freshly grated coconut to make a dry dish, which was easy to carry. My Sindhi friend would enjoy the legumes while I relished her gobi parathas.
Goan sambhar powder is readily available in Goa but it is easy to prepare at home. You can control the quality of ingredients thereby achieving a superior powder for home consumption. So whether you are planning to make xacuti, patoll bhaji, sukka mutton, a dry chana dish or just want to add a touch of Goan flavour to any meat or vegetable dish, then this is the perfect powder you need to have in your pantry. Its distinct aroma and depth of flavour will transport you directly to Goa and back, making you nostalgic.
(Yields 1 kg)
2 1/2 cups coriander seeds
1/2 cup cumin seeds
1/2 cup fennel seeds
1/2 cup poppy seeds
1/4 cup peppercorns
1/4 cup green cardamoms
1/3 cup cloves
1/3 cup cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon shahjeera or caraway seeds
1 tablespoon mace
6 whole star anise
1 whole nutmeg
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons fenugreek or methi seeds
1/2 cup Goa or red parboiled rice
1/3 cup chana dal
5 bay leaves
2 cups desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
40 red dried Kashmiri chillies
20 bedgi chillies
Dry all the spices in the hot sun for a couple of days. In case of the rice, wash before sun drying.
On low heat in a skillet, dry roast each ingredient separately in the order as listed above finishing with the chillies. Do not burn or the powder will be bitter.
Transfer all the roasted ingredients in a bowl or deep dish. Mix and dry grind in batches. (I used the Sumeet dry grinder to powder in five batches. A coffee grinder will take too long to grind this quantity.)
With a spoon, carefully mix the ground powder in a bowl. Cool and then store in sterilized airtight container, preferably a glass jar.
This powder has a good shelf life of one year or more.
- Dried turmeric is usually roasted and ground with the rest of the spices. I don't have it in my pantry and prefer to add turmeric powder directly with the sambhar powder when cooking a dish.
- For proper measurements, level cups and spoons, not heaped.
- Green cardamoms should be roasted with the skin and then ground.
- Break cinnamon sticks into pieces and measure.
- Local Goa red chillies can also be used along with the ones indicated above. Accordingly, adjust the quantity.
- Recipes using this sambhar powder will be posted on the website shortly.