Monday, July 02, 2007

Value-Added Mix

I’ve mentioned Sambaar Kaaram a couple of times on the blog and also mentioned that it was different from Saambaar Podi. It’s used to flavour vegetable stir-fries and daals, sometimes I’ve used it with tamarind-based gravies and I once even used it with meat when I ran out of chilli powder.

Over the years, I’ve tried finding out why it’s called Sambaar Kaaram but nobody I know could come up with an explanation, only that it doesn’t have anything to do with Saambaar, something that I faithfully repeat every time I refer to it. I haven’t seen any reference to it on the Net either, well, beyond the first 50-60 results that Google threw up, anyway. I suspect this is what is called koora kaaram though the recipes vary in ingredients and proportions.

This kaaram featured in my previous post, where I showed off all my acquisitions from my recent trip home. It attracted the attention of Mathy, who wanted the recipe for this as well as some other kaarams mentioned there. I was able to provide a link to some of them but for this, had to ask my aunt.

It has a great aromatic smell, reminiscent of that of raw mango smeared with salt and chilli powder, which probably comes from the garlic (now figure that out if you can, that’s the irrational romantic in me speaking) but let me tell you this – its uses do not end with flavouring other dishes – it makes a great accompaniment to idlis with ghee! Let your imagination run riot!

Here’s the recipe:

Dry red chillies: 500 gm (remove the stalks)
Coriander seeds: 250 gm
Fenugreek/Methi seeds: 50 gm
Cumin/jeera seeds: 50 gm
Black gram/urad dal: A little less than 50 gm
Salt, to taste
Garlic: to taste

Dry roast the first five ingredients separately.

Let cool, whiz to a powder in the grinder.

Add salt.

Crush garlic roughly, add to the powder and whiz again. Not too much, though!

Store in an airtight container.


  1. Sra,are you by any chance,from Guntur or the surrounding areas?My sister's MIL is from Guntur and she also makes a very similar spice powder which my sister is all praise for everytime she mentions it.I am going to bookmark this one and make it.My sister says this goes well with any kind of vegetable curries,chutneys,totato pappu(tomato dal,etc

  2. Beautiful spice mountain, Sra. Is that a stone slab I see in the background or is my own irrational romaticism showing?

  3. Hey Sravanthi - this sounds simply gorgeous! Going to make it very soon. I just LOVE any Andhra-style podis!

  4. Hi sra,
    first time in ur blog...u have a good variety of recipe i missed it now i have bookmarked ur so i can i have a touch...
    This value added mix is new to me but smells good...

  5. This is a interesting masala Sra.I would love to eat it with idli :)

  6. I can smell the aroma from here, and it's wonderful! These are some are my favorite spices all in one recipe--I can't wait to try it. I'm so glad you visited my blog, since now I found yours.

  7. Vini, yes. We use it in daals too, like you said, will update the post now.
    Susan, that's a mop-cloth! LOL! (New one, of course, one of my growing collection of blog props.) Draped over a tub for background!
    Shyam, nice to see you here. It is a gorgeous thing!
    Priar's, welcome! Thanks.
    Archana, try it!
    Susan, hi, thanks!

  8. Handy recipe sra. Can be added to any stir-fry.

  9. wow yummy i love khara pudis. this version with garlic would be delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. Sra, a handy mix as you said. Beautiful photo. Viji

  11. Yes, Suganya. To me, it tastes particularly good with bhendi and plantain.
    Roopa, yes, I agree with you.
    Viji, thank you.

  12. Thanks for sharing your recipe, I am going to try making it when I can put my hands on all the ingredients.

  13. can it be used in Sambar also? the color of the podi looks divine. sounds like a multi purpose podi.

  14. This sounds very delish!.....Love it....Nice pic....

  15. Cynthia, it's quite simple. Are these ingredients availble easily to you?
    Sharmi, it is a multipurpose kaaram. Don't see why we can't use it in sambar, though traditionally it isn't. My dad just saw the pic and wondered why it was not red enough!
    Sukanya, thanks. It is delicious, I could go on smelling it and that would be enough.

  16. I love it!! No matter how many ppl blog about the same,they all taste different and I love to collect them!:))
    Looks delicious,I will make a small amount first.Thank you sra!

  17. interesting spice blend..the smell of mango with chili rub.. hmm..
    how long will this last? in the fridge?

  18. It lasts fairly long, Mallugirl, despite the fresh garlic, don't ask me how :) I don't keep it in the fridge. But it tends to lose colour, I think.

  19. I love its colour ... When added to dals and veggies it sure would look attractive.

  20. Prema, not really, for the colour to come through, we would have to use lots, and that would make it, and us, very, very hot, lol!

  21. this made my mouth water and for that reason alone, i need to make this!

  22. Wow..I have used the same powder in my cooking and am a living proof for this lovely aromatic powder! Thanks Sra for bringing this spice mix. Garlic makes all the difference.

  23. It is Niv, try it sometime!


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