Monday, April 26, 2010

Sambar( Sambhar/sambaru)

Sambar is such a typical south Indian curry. It's lentils cooked along with lots of vegetables. The vegetables may be mainly one or can be a mixture of two or more. There are so many varieties of sambar like onion sambar, tomato sambar, radish sambar, brinjal sambar, drumstick sambar etc. ( I do not mean that's the only ingredient, that one could be a major one). Sambar is served at almost all restaurants. Even in street side idly or dosa shops or even tiffin centers( like MTR) they serve sambar with idli, dosa etc. I simply love sambar cause its really very very healthy and dal- e- cious( rather Delicious). Its so rich in protein and carbohydrates. lentils are very good source of magnesium. The numerous vegetables in it are so fibre rich and so full of vitamin and minerals (kindly use organic veggies). In south India a veg thali meals cannot be imagined without sambar( its almost the king of thali, hahaha...). here is the recipe...

Vegetables of your choice( I have used radish, carrots, beans etc)
Lentils( toor dal) - 1/2 cup
tomatoes - 2 nos
small onions - 1/2 cup
ginger- garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
chilly powder - 2 tbsp
coriander powder - 1 tbsp
jeera powder - 1/2 tsp
tumeric powder - 1/4 tsp
asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
green chillies - 2 nos
tamarind paste - 1/2 tsp
oil - 4 tbsp
salt for taste

For seasoning:
oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
curry leaves - 1 stalk
dry red chillies - 2 nos

Pressure cook dal along with tomato and keep aside. In a wok heat oil, add asafoetida powder, cumin seeds, small onions and stir fry until onions turn golden brown, now add ginger- garlic paste and green chillies and stir fry for a min. Add all the powders in this same order turmeric powder, chilly powder stir well , continue to add jeera powder and coriander powder. Add all the remaining vegetables and saute for a while. Add the cooked dal and tomato mixture, add salt and cover and cook. When its almost done add the tamarind paste( even tamarind pulp can be used). Turn of the flame. Finally season with mustard seeds, curry leaves and dry red chillies. Garnish with coriander leaves if u prefer

If u have sambar powder, u can add that instead of all these powdered spices like chilly, turmeric etc. There are so many varieties of sambar powder ( like some prefer to add cloves and Cinnamon also, some prefer to add dry coconut etc). This is the simple recipe. I have used this as it would be easy for others to follow. I will try to post other varieties of sambar also. For Okra/Bendekai/Vendekai sambar click here


  1. My hubby doesn't like the sambar I make,he says its bland :( your recipe looks intersting,have to try it next time ! I use sambar powder & the powder is awesome :D Btw you know what I like the most about your recipe,no jaggery or sugar in it!!!

  2. Thanks Shilpa :) If you think u have a awesome sambar powder, then great you can use that and also try to add all the powders that I have mentioned( only reduce the quantity to half). Well in Karnataka people add jaggery to sambar for taste ( some people prefer sweet taste), in Andhra they add ground seasame seed and dry coconut etc. So it varies fro region to region. I use pumkin if I prefer some sweet taste in my sambar. You can include pumpkin if you wish to. You can also add other veggies like drumstick, brinjal etc( don't mix radish with drumstick or brinjal... the flavours will clash). Wishing you luck.


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