Mar 6, 2008

Recipe - Sambar powder


Sambar powder can be used in many dishes not just sambar. I use it to make dals. For variation I use it in dals cooked with spinach, chard, dil, kayle. For shortcut I use it in besibeli baath too. This is my mom's recipe which got passed on to me. When we were young and studying, we never paid attention to the preparation of these spices. After coming away from home, that's when one knows the importance of home cooking. I have tried many ready made sambar powders. But did not really got the authentic sambar taste when these ready made powders were used. The shelf life is very long compared to the ready made sambar powders which are bought in the stores.


Chana dal (bengal gram) - 1 cup
Coriander seeds - 1 cup
Cumin seeds - 2 teaspoons
Black pepper - 1 teaspoon
Red chillies - 1 and 1/2 cups
Rice - 1 teaspoon
Asafoetida - 1/2 teaspoon


Roast all the above ingrediants except red chillies and asafoetida till light brown and add asafoetida. Roast red chillies half way through to avoid burnt red chillies. Let the mixture cool.

Grind all the ingredients them in a mixer/grinder and store it in a air tight container to retain the aroma of sambar powder.

Preparation time - 10 minutes.

Recipe - Rasam powder


This is the main ingredient for preparing rasam. There are different kinds of rasam's but the basic ingredient is this spice, without which there is not taste for rasam. My mom and mother-in-law make very good rasam. I should say this is one among the very few recipes that they prepare the same way. I always bring these spices from India when I am coming away from home. Nothing can replace the home made rasam powder or sambar powder.


Coriander seeds - 1 cup
Red chillies - 3/4 cup
Black pepper - 1/4 cup
Cumin seeds - 2 tablespoons
Toor dal (pigeon peas) - 1/2 cup
Chana dal (bengal gram) - 2 tablespoons
Garlic - 1 whole


Roast all the above ingredients together except garlic till they turn light brown in color. Add garlic and turn the stove off.

Let the mixture cool and grind all the ingredients together and let it cool. Store it in an air tight container.

Preparation time - 15mins

Recipe - Sooji Halwa (Ravva Kesari/Suji ka Halwa)

(Cream of wheat pudding)


Sooji halwa is one of the easiest dessert/sweet to make. It takes no longer than 15 - 20 minutes. Halwa taste good when eated hot and fresh. In South India, cashew and raisins are used. In North India, almonds are used. I like to use almonds instead of raisins and cashews (raisins get soggy when cooked).


Suji - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup (according to sweet level)
Butter/Ghee - 1/2 cup
Cardimum - 1 teaspoon
Saffron - 1/2 teaspoon
Almonds - 1/3 cup (blanched)
Water - 3 cups


Melt butter in a medium sauce pan. Roast suji till it turns golden brown (about 6- 7 minutes) on medium high tempareture.

Add the water slowly to the roasted suji and stir continuously. I like to boil water simultaneously at the time of roasting suji, this reduces the cooking time. Add blanched almonds and sugar to halwa. Some people use sugar syrup (see tips for sugar syrup).

After the suji is mixed add cardimum powder and mix it well, cover it and simmer the temp. Let it cook for 10 minutes, garnish with saffron and serve hot.

Preparation time: 15 - 20 minutes
# Servings - 4


For blanched almonds:

Boil water in a sauce pan and add raw almonds to it let it cook for 5 minutes. Let it cool and peel the skin off cut them into thin slices.

For sugar syrup:

Melt sugar in the water and microwave it for 5 - 6 minutes. Pour the syrup after suji is roasted well.

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Some of the recipes presented here are originally inspired by others. Credit is given to the original postings. I have listed recipes here for my own reference as well as pictures are my addition to the whole cooking experience. Enjoy.