Best Sambar Masala Brands in India – Mishry (May 2023)
After more than 9 hours of tastings and testing, we chose Eastern Sambar Masala as our Top Pick. We Also Recommend Aachi Sambar Powder. Here’s why.
Making masalas at home is daunting for most urban households. Which is why we turn to readymade masalas that are tailored to flavor specific dishes like chole, sambar and pao bhaji. While some packaged masalas are potent, balanced and uplift the dish to its optimum level, some are very flat and basic-tasting. So which one should you buy?
We tested not one, not two, but TEN brands of sambar masala powders to find the most flavorful one. After an intense discussion about authenticity and intensity of flavors, we chose Eastern Sambar Masala as one of the best sambar masala brands in India (Top Pick). The sambar made using this masala was the tastiest, most flavorful and aromatic. We Also Recommend the sambar masala by Aachi.
A quick glance at all the contenders of sambar masala and the rating we gave them –
|Brand||Mishry Rating||Buy Now|
|Eastern (Top Pick)||4.5||Add to cart|
|Aachi (Recommended)||4.2||Add to cart|
|Tata Sampann||4||Add to cart|
|Orika||3.5||Add to cart|
|Aashirvaad||3||Add to cart|
|MTR||3||Add to cart|
|Everest||2.5||Add To Cart|
|MDH||2.5||Add To Cart|
|Catch||2||Add to cart|
Our Review Factors
What were we looking for? An aromatic masala that makes a simple homemade sambar flavorful.
To find the best sambar masala brands we set the following parameters –
Bittersweet, tanginess, sulfurous pungency, and heat are the flavor profiles we were looking for. Curry leaves, asafoetida, coriander powder and presence of dal can make or break the flavor profile of a sambar. The intensity of chilli and pepper were also checked. Do these masalas contain salt?
We were looking for a masala that offers balance and intensity of flavor.
You can smell a sambar simmering from the other corner of your house if the blend of spices is correct. A sambar masala has notes of asafoetida, curry leaves, chili, coriander and much more. Apart from flavor, aroma played an important role in deciding which brand is the winner.
3. Other Parameters
Typically a sambar masala is made using turmeric, red chillies, coriander, fenugreek, pepper, mustard, chana dal, urad dal, curry leaves and asafoetida. What do these include? Is it close to the authentic basic ingredients?
Is the sambar masala priced competitively? Is it value for money (keeping potency in mind)?
Resealable, pouch pack or a carton? Do you need to transfer the contents in another container?
What is the shelf life of the sambar masala? How to store them once opened? Is refrigeration required?
Related Reviews – Tops Sambar Mix | M.O.M Instant Sambar Rice
Sambar Powder Brands – Our Review Process
Once our product inspection was complete, we proceeded to step two – Mishry Secret Sauce (Making a sambar using the masalas).
We standardized our review process by pre-measuring everything for the sambar. The dal, water, amount of veggies and the sambar powder were all measured out. Here’s our procedure –
- We soaked arhar/toor dal for 20 minutes before cooking.
- In a large 5-liter cooker we cooked the dal with light salt for 3 whistles and then for 1-2 minutes on slow.
- The veggies (drumsticks, onions, bottle gourd and desi tomatoes) were boiled separately.
- Both these elements were then cooked together for 2-3 minutes until well-combined.
- This mix was then divided equally in 10 different pans/kadhais (280 gms) along with 1/4th cup water.
- We added 1 Tbsp Sambar Masala in all the portions to standardize the review.
- Another 1/4th cup water was added and the sambar was cooked for a few more minutes (2-3 boils and then on slow for a few more seconds).
- Before tasting, we ensured they had cooled down a little.
We avoided a tempering of curry leaves, hing, whole chillies and mustard seeds.
Sambar Powder Brands – Detailed Review
This section has all the details about the sambar masalas, their pros and cons and how they performed during our taste test.
1. Eastern Sambar Powder – Mishry Top Pick
Eastern’s Sambar Masala resulted in the most flavorful and balanced portion of sambar. The prominent taste of hing and curry leaves along with a subtle tanginess and apt heat imparts a beautiful flavor that sets it apart from all the other brands.
Even without a tempering or any excessive adjustments, we liked how this sambar masala was able to nail the flavors so beautifully. The color of the sambar is vibrant as well.
This flavored our portion of sambar beautifully with very little quantity, indicating good potency levels.
100 gms of Eastern’s sambar masala is priced at Rs 48/-. It has a shelf life of 12 months. The top five ingredients include coriander, chili, gram dal, udad dal, and fenugreek. It also contains salt, Kashmiri chilli, hing, turmeric and curry leaves. This is a fine powder with a yellowish-brown color.
- Wonderful flavor of hing and curry leaves.
- We liked the balance of flavors.
- Apt amount of heat and salt.
- Good potency levels.
Looking for a readymade sambar masala powder that has the perfect balance of flavor? Look no further. Eastern’s Sambar Masala is the ideal choice.
2. Aachi Sambar Powder – Also Recommended
We Also Recommend Aachi’s Sambar Masala for the fabulous flavors. It delivers brilliantly by showcasing a balance of flavor, tangy notes of tamarind and a well-rounded coriander flavor. No two spices overshine the other. This is spicier than all the brands we tested. Just like our Top Pick, the potency levels were apt.
This has a dominant hing aroma followed by a masaledaar fragrance.
A 200 gm pack is priced at Rs 92/- It has a 12-month shelf life. The main ingredients include coriander, red chili powder, Bengal gram dhal, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek, black pepper, garlic, salt, compound asafetida and curry leaves. This is a fine powder that is a dull mustard-yellow in color.
- Balanced flavors.
- Good potency.
- Tangy notes of tamarind are pleasing.
- Coriander flavor is well-rounded.
Spicier than other brands, this is for you if you’re looking for well-rounded flavors in your sambar masala.
3. Tata Sampann Sambar Masala
Although the flavors are on-point, Tata Sampann’s Sambar Masala did not win because of its ingredients. This contains besan which turns this sambar thick very fast. Besan is definitely not something you expect in your sambar. We liked the pleasant aroma and flavor of hing. This has a lovely flavor of coriander and a well-rounded spiciness. Overall, this is sambar powder with a Punjabi-tinge, but delicious nonetheless.
A 45 gm pack is priced at Rs 34 and has a shelf life of 18 months. The main ingredients include coriander powder, chilli powder, besan, udad dal, turmeric powder, black pepper powder, cumin powder, compounded asafetida (stabiliser 412), curry leaves, fenugreek powder, refined sugar. The dry powder is yellow-ish in color with a semi-coarse texture.
- Balanced, delicious blend of spices.
- Lovely flavor and aroma of hing and coriander.
- Well-rounded heat.
- The ingredient list is not what an authentic sambar masala is made of. It contains besan which thickens the sambar too quickly.
4. Orika Sambhar Masala
Orika’s Sambar Masala did not win because of its potency level and lack of robust Southern flavors. This does make a tasty bowl of sambar, but it does not have a pronounced hing, curry leaf or chili flavor. There is a mild taste of cinnamon, which ideally is not a big part of a sambar masala.
A 100 gm pack is priced at Rs 63/- and has a shelf life of 12 months. The main ingredients include coriander, rice, chili, cumin, fenugreek, cassia bark, turmeric, asafetida. This is a reddish-brown powder.
- This is a tasty sambar powder, but…
- Has low potency
- Lacks robust Southern flavors and ingredients like dal and curry leaves.
5. Aashirvaad Sambar Masala
Aashirvaad’s sambar masala did not win because even after a standardized cooking time, the masala tasted very raw. This is very spicy and yet the other flavors fail to showcase themselves properly. We liked that this lends a vibrant red color to the sambar.
A 100 gm pack is priced at Rs 65/- and has a 12 month shelf life. This contains 76.9% mixed spices which include coriander, red chlli, cumin, black pepper, fenugreek, compound asafetida, mustard, ginger, dehydrated curry leaves, and turmeric. It also contains salt, chana dal (6.2%), arhar dal, udad dal and refined sunflower oil.
The color of the masala has a red tone and is slightly coarse. The aroma is primarily of red chili.
- Gives the sambar an attractive red color.
- Other characteristic flavors are not present.
6. MTR Sambhar Powder
MTR’s Sambar Masala did not win because it lacks the distinct flavor of sambar that comes from ingredients like tamarind, hing and curry leaves. It tastes more like a coriander powder with other additives in small quantities. The potency is low as well.
A 100 gm pack is priced at Rs 65/-. This is a fine texture, brownish-yellow colored powder. The main ingredients include coriander, rice, cumin, red chili, fenugreek, and cassia.
- Lacks typical sambar masala flavor.
- Flavor of tamarind, hing and curry leaves is missing.
- Low potency.
7. Everest Sambhar Masala
Everest’s Sambhar Masala is not bad tasting but is flare and the authentic sambar flavor we were looking for was missing. This was prominent on cinnamon which is not the prime flavor profile you look for while eating sambar. There is no sourness and the spiciness levels are medium to low.
A 100 gm pack is priced at Rs 63/- and has a shelf life of 12 months. Main ingredients include coriander, chili, Bengal gram, black gram, pigeon pea, cumin, rice, fenugreek, salt, curry leaf, tamarind, curry leaf, turmeric, cassia bark, compound asafetida. It also uses citric acid.
- Low potency.
- Authentic flavors of sambar are missing.
8. MDH Sambhar Masala
MDH’s Sambar Masala has too much coriander which overpowers all other flavors. There’s nothing sambar-like about this and tastes like a mildly flavored arhar dal. Moreover the color of the sambar is not vibrant either.
100 grams for Rs 65/-, MDH’s sambar powder has a 12 month shelf life. The main ingredients include coriander seeds, turmeric, cumin, red chillies, salt, fenugreek seeds, banarasi rai, black pepper, mustard seeds, cassia, dried ginger, fennel, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, mace, asafoetida, star anise, green cardamom. Green cardamom is not a traditional ingredient to add in a sambar masala.
The dry powder is mustard yellow in color and slightly coarse. The aroma is of coriander and mixed spices.
- Not authentic to taste. Pronounced flavor of coriander.
- This doesn’t make our sambar vibrant-looking.
9. Catch Sambhar Masala
Catch’s Sambhar Masala is the second-most spiciest with a mild bitterness which is not welcoming. This tastes more like fried dal than sambar.
A 100 gm pack is priced at Rs 65/- and has a 15 month shelf life. It is a coarse-fine powder with a reddish-brown color. Main ingredients include coriander whole, chillies and capsicum whole, fenugreek whole, split pulse, arhar, cumin whole turmeric whole curry leaves, asafetida, iodized salt.
- Lacks an authentic sambar flavor.
- Has a mild bitterness.
10. Keya Sambar Masala
Keya’s Sambar Masala did not win because of several reasons. It is a semi-coarse powder and has a peculiar aroma which is not inviting at all. This had the most unappealing aroma and flavor, as if almost synthetic. The wonderful flavor of curry leaves, asafoetida or even mustard was nowhere to be found.
A 100 gm pack is priced at Rs 63/-. This has a shelf life of 24 months. The key ingredients include chilli, coriander, salt, toor dal, cumin, chana dal, fenugreek, turmeric, udad dal, rice, mustard seeds, black pepper, jaggery, curry leaves, and compounded asafoetida.
- Unappetizing sambar.
- Aroma and flavor are not inviting at all.
Our Top Picks & Recommendations
Why did we choose Eastern Sambar Masala as our Top Pick? Why do we Also Recommend Aachi?
Potency, balanced but robust flavors, and beautiful aroma. We chose Eastern Sambar Masala and Aachi as our winners because both performed brilliantly under these three parameters.
The flavor of hing, curry leaves and heat of chillies was the best in our Top Pick followed by Aachi.
Both our sambar masalas have the maximum potency levels as well. This would ultimately prove to be value for money as you would require very little amount to flavor a pot of sambar correctly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some interesting FAQs on sambar powder brands.
Some brands do add salt to their sambar masala. Out of the 10 brands we tested, seven contain salt. However, you will need to add salt to the dal while boiling.
As per our review, Eastern Sambar Masala is the best. It gave the most flavorful and delicious results. The balance of spices, aroma and flavor intensity is top-notch.
No, none of the brands we reviewed contain any preservatives.
Sambar powders are a mix of spices and dals including dried coriander seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida, chili, turmeric, fenugreek, pepper, chana dal/arhar dal and more. The ratio of these spices and dals may vary from brand to brand.
No. Sambar powder has a different flavor profile than that of curry powder.
More Masalas We Have Reviewed
Our reviews are unbiased and all samples used during the reviews were paid for by us. Read our entire ethics statement here.