This blend is inspired by flavors of Southern India, particularly sambar. The curry leaves are fantastic as a grounding earthy note, and the sumac adds a nice acidity to the blend. The beans that are a part of the blend are easy to find at any Indian or Pakistani grocery, or online.

Recipe and photos by Christian Leue

Makes about 1 1/4 cups/130 grams


15 grams hulled black chickpeas (chana dal)
15 grams hulled black gram (urad dal)
5 grams fenugreek seed
5 grams tellicherry black pepper
30 grams dhania
15 grams cumin
10 grams mustard seed
3 grams asafoetida
2 grams curry leaves
10 grams Aleppo pepper (or sub a milder or hotter chile as per your tastes)
5 grams sumac
10 grams amchoor
5 grams turmeric


1. Toast the chickpeas and black gram, fenugreek seed, black pepper, and dhania in a skillet over medium heat. Stir constantly and stop when they smell fragrant (about 2-3 minutes). Remove to a cool bowl.

2. Toast the cumin, and mustard seed in a skillet over medium heat. Stir constantly and when they smell fragrant and start to pop (about 2 minutes), add the asafoetida and stir for 10 more seconds. Remove to a cool bowl.

3. Finely grind the contents of the first bowl. Coarsely grind the contents of the second bowl along with the curry leaves. Then mix together with the remaining spices.

4. Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat and light. Best used within 1 year.


• Add to hash browns along with peppers and onions, serve with crème fraîche and chives.

• Make a compound butter using some of the blend, finely chopped garlic and shallot, and chopped fresh cilantro leaf. Serve over roasted cauliflower, a baked sweet potato, or melt and toss with popcorn or roasted nuts.

• Use to make a shrimp curry along with coconut milk, tamarind, and tomato. Or substitute shrimp with white fish fillets, or soft boiled eggs and chunks of potato.

• Add to waffle batter with a few pinches of salt, and make savory waffles. Serve with butter and chutney.

• Stir into mashed potatoes, or grind finely and add along with peas to potato salad.


Food image and recipe © Christian Leue

Questions? Contact christian@laboiteny.com