Masala bhaat (maharashtrian-style fried rice) made with sambhar masala

Main Dish
4 servings
15 min
45 min
Very Easy


Number of serving: 4

1)Sambhar Masala:

1/2 cup firmly packed fresh or frozen curry leaves

1/4-1/2 cup dried small chile peppers

1/4 cup yellow split peas

1/4 cup coriander seeds

2 heaping tea cumin seeds

1 tea fenugreek seeds

1 heaping teaspoon dark brown/black mustard seeds

1 tea white poppy seeds

3 cinnamon sticks, 3 inches long, broken into smaller pieces

1 tea vegetable oil

2)Masala Bhaat:

3 cups cooked rice

1-2 medium sized baking potatoes, peeled and cut into /4-inch cubes (submerge in cold water until needed to prevent browning)

2-3 teapoons vegetable oil

1 heaping teapoons dark brown mustard seeds

1 heaping teapoons cumin seeds

1 medium-large onion, finely chopped

1/3 cup raw peanuts or cashews

1 teapoon white sesame seeds

10 ounces bag of frozen peas

1 tea Sambhar Masala (see above)

12-15 fresh or frozen curry leaves

5 small (like roma sized) tomatoes, finely chopped

2 teapoons cilantro for garnish


  • 1)Sambhar Masala:
    If you have any frozen ingredients, separate them. Toss all ingredients (in 2 bowls if some are frozen) with the oil (just split it up if you have some frozen ingredients). Heat a medium-large skillet over medium high heat. When it is quite hot, add the ingredients. If you have a separate frozen pile, add it first and let it roast for 1 minute before adding the rest of the spices. Keep tossing and stirring the spices to prevent burning. Roast them for 3-4 minutes, until the curry leaves are curled, dry and brittle, the chiles blacken slightly, the split peas turn dark brown,the coriander, cumin and fenugreek turn reddish brown, and the mustard seeds pop, swell, and turn grey-black. Immediately remove the mixture to a wide shallow bowl or plate to cool. Let the mixture cool completely. Grind the mixture to a fine puree. Iyer suggests a spice grinder; I used my Preethi wet/dry grinder. It may need to be done in multiple batches. The spice blend can be stored in a sealed container in a cool, dark place for up to 2 months. Iyer recommends against storing in the fridge or freezer.
  • 2)Masala Bhaat:
    Preheat a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Started this in my wok-shaped stainless steel pan but quickly had to switch 14 inch saute pan--make sure your pan is large. Coat the surface (and sides if using a wok) of your pan with oil. When it shimmers, add the mustard seeds and cover the pan while they pop, about 30 seconds. Then add the cumin seeds, which should instantly sizzle and turn reddish brown. Be ready with the onions so they don't burn. Add the onions with a pinch of salt as soon as the cumin seeds are reddish brown, as well as the sesame seeds and nuts--if using raw nuts. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the potatoes wit another pinch of salt. Stir fry this for 5-10 minutes, until the onions are caramelized brown and the potatoes are tender. Add the curry leaves and Sambhar masala and mix them in. Then add the rice (and nuts if using roasted ones--expect your nuts to have gotten a dark reddish brown, unlike mine, if you are using raw). Gently toss the rice with the other ingredients--you want to evenly incorporate the rice into the dish, frying it, but not breaking the grains. After about 3 minutes, add the tomatoes and peas. Stir fry until the dish is hot (the peas will cool it down). Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.


Masala Bhaat (Maharashtrian-Style Fried Rice) Made With Sambhar Masala, photo 1
Masala Bhaat (Maharashtrian-Style Fried Rice) Made With Sambhar Masala, photo 2
Masala Bhaat (Maharashtrian-Style Fried Rice) Made With Sambhar Masala, photo 3
Masala Bhaat (Maharashtrian-Style Fried Rice) Made With Sambhar Masala, photo 4
Masala Bhaat (Maharashtrian-Style Fried Rice) Made With Sambhar Masala, photo 5
Masala Bhaat (Maharashtrian-Style Fried Rice) Made With Sambhar Masala, photo 6


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