This fragrant spice mix made with fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, and other aromatics is an essential ingredient in sambar, the ubiquitous split-pea stew of South India. This recipe first appeared in the tablet edition of our August/September 2014 special India issue.
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 1⁄2 cup urad dal (skinned split black lentils)
- 1⁄4 cup chana dal (yellow split peas)
- 1⁄3 cup masoor dal (split red lentils)
- 1⁄4 cup coriander seeds
- 1 1⁄2 tbsp. sesame seeds
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. asafoetida
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 22 fresh or frozen curry leaves
- 10 chiles de árbol
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. fenugreek seeds
- 3 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 1⁄2 cups roasted chana dal
- Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high. Cook dals, stirring occasionally, until golden, 3–4 minutes. Add coriander and sesame seeds, asafoetida, cumin seeds, curry leaves, and chiles; cook until fragrant and chiles are a deep reddish brown, 3-4 minutes. Stir in fenugreek seeds and salt; cook 30 seconds more and let cool. Stir in roasted chana dal and, working in batches, transfer to a spice grinder; grind to a powder. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.