In a large kadai or deep saucepan, heat oil and add mustards seeds.
Once the seeds start to crackle and splutter, add curry leaves and fry for a few seconds.
Lower the heat to medium low and stir in the dals (urad and chana) along with dry red chillies and roast or fry on medium low heat until the mixture is lightly fried and light brown in color.
Do not fry on high heat; keep stirring continuously on medium low heat and make sure the mixture does not burn; especially the red chillies. Over roasting will lend a bitter taste to the chutney powder.
Just before removing from heat, stir in hing/asafetida powder, mix well and let cool. The heat of the mixture will roast the hing.
Powder the roasted mixture in a blender jar or coffee grinder. You can blend it fine or leave it a bit coarse (the way I like it!). I love the slight crunch of roasted lentils in every bite!
Stir in salt to taste, mix well.
To serve with dosas, idlis, uttapams etc., spoon chutney powder on your serving plate, pour required amount of oil (3 teaspoons powder with 1 to 2 teaspoons or more of oil) in the center and mix well.
Enjoy spicy, crunchy chutney powder!
All the ingredients like lentils and red chillies can be roasted separately too and made into a powder.
Adjust the amount of dry red chilllies according to your spice level.
If you want a lovely red color, use some kashmiri red chillies which impart only color and not heat.
For another flavor dimension, stir in ¼ cup of white sesame seeds or flax seeds while roasting.
This chutney powder makes amazing masala idlis!! On a tawa or flat griddle, heat a few spoons of oil, splutter mustard seeds and curry leaves along with a pinch of hing. Toss in chopped idlis along with chutney powder and mix well.
Stir fry until hot and slightly roasted. Serve immediately as an evening snack or as appetizers or starters.
It stays fresh for at least 6 months on the shelf. For longer storage, you can freeze it.