Friday, 12 December 2014

Chicken curry with sambhar

When Seasoned Pioneers have queried whether I'd like to try some of their spices, I asked them to surprise me. And surprise me they did indeed. I got two fat little pouches of spices, one of them - Sambhar powder - was something I have never tried before. I loved the aroma of sambhar (or sambar) as soon as I opened the sealed pouch.
Seasoned Pioneers describe this spice as having a "great nutty taste of roasted spices and dal overlaid with hot chillies, popular in South Indian Brahmin vegetarian dishes".
This beautiful spice mix is traditionally dry-roasted and blended by hand to a genuine South Indian recipe. Its ingredients include channa dal, urad dal, turmeric, red chillies, coriander, cumin, black peppercorns, mustard seeds, fenugreek, asafoetida. The texture is fine, with chilli flakes scattered around.

Not quite knowing what was the best way to use it, I asked a fellow foodie blogger - Monu from Recipes Passion blog. Monu's blog has lots of mouth-watering posts, she is truly passionate about cooking and baking. Monu shared with me a recipe for a chicken curry dish, with sambhar powder.
I have slightly adapted Monu's recipe, as I didn't have all the right ingredients, but I kept pretty close to her suggested recipe.

Chicken curry with sambhar
1 big white onion, finely chopped
2tbsp olive oil
1tsp mustard seeds
1tbsp ginger garlic paste
3tsp sambhar powder
1/2 tsp coriander, ground
4tbsp coconut milk powder (e.g. Maggi, which I used isntead of coconut paste)
150g tomato sauce or paste (I used Sacla Pronto tomato and garlic sauce)
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
2tbsp olive oil
500g chicken, sliced
1 medium parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
salt, to taste
I didn't have curry leaves or fresh coriander, but I imagine they add colour and flavour.

Heat 2tbsp of oil in a big frying pan or wok. Saute the sliced onions for 5+ minutes, add the mustard seeds, and keep stirring, until the onion is translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste, sambhar powder, coconut milk powder, tomato sauce and sliced tomatoes. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring.
Put chicken slices in the curry sauce, add water (about 500ml) and more olive oil, add the chopped carrot and parsnip, cover the pan with the lid and cook for half an hour or more on medium low, check that the chicken is cooked through.
If you have fresh coriander, garnish the curry with coriander before serving.
Serve with basmati rice.

We had it yesterday for dinner, and it was delicious, if a tad too hot for me. Next time I will probably add just 2 tsp of sambhar rather than 3. If you enjoy hot food, you might want to increase the amount of sambhar to 4tsp.

I am also going to try the sambhar powder in a vegetarian recipe.

For a full range of spices from around the world, visit Seasoned Pioneers.


  1. I have never heard of this one either, love the sound of the spice. I shall have to look out for it

    1. It was a nice discovery, they have so many exotic spices on their site, I am very impressed.

  2. thanks a lot galena sweety for crediting me.. it is truly looking delicious :) you have done it very well with all ingredients you had :)