South Indian Mixed veg sambar
Yellow lentil and vegetable curry

Made with pigeon peas - toor dal - arhar dal

This mixed veg sambar recipe is a popular south Indian recipe.

Sambar is made with yellow lentil, known as pigeon peas - Tuvar dal - toor dal and vegetables.

Sambar is an important side dish that is served with  Idli, Rava Idli, Dosa , upma, Steamed Rice - Plain rice etc.

This is a quicker version of the traditional sambar. By the time toor dal is cooked, vegetable mix with sambar powder is ready.

Mixed veg sambarMixed veg sambar

You can use any vegetables of your choice such as onions, potatoes, tomatoes, brinjals, beans, cabbage, knolkol, raddish etc. Adding drumstick/moringa gives a special taste to the sambar.

You may use any one or a mix of these vegetables.Today, I am not using onions.

About sambar powder

The taste of sambar powder that you use is important for making any sambar. There are many brands selling sambar powder, so you may get readymade sambar masala or you may make your own homemade sambar masala. Here is my homemade sambar masala recipe.

The sambar powder can be made in large quantities and stored for 6 months or more. I usually make it for about 3 months.

Freshly made sambar powder has a special taste so I am also making fresh sambar powder for this recipe.

But You may use 1 1/2 tbsp ready sambar powder instead if you do not have time to make fresh sambar powder now.

If you are using ready sambar powder, you may skip the info to make sambar powder in small quantity given below.

How to make sambar powder in small quantity

Step by step instructions for making sambar

 Ingredients  for Sambar Powder
  • Coriander seeds - 1 table spoon
  • Chana dal - 1 tea spoon
  • Urad dal -1/2 tea spoon
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tea spoon
  • Asafetida - 1/4 tea spoon
  • Red chillies - 2 to 4, according to taste
  • Black pepper - 1/4 tea spoon
  • Mustard seeds - 1/4 tea spoon
  • Methi (fenugreek) seeds - 1/4 tea spoon

Making sambar powder

  • Roast the sambar powder ingredients on low flame.
  • Grind to fine powder.

How to make mixed veg sambar - South Indian lentil recipe

Main ingredients for mixed veg sambar

Ingredients for mixed veg Sambar for 2-3 servings:

  • Toor dal - 1 small cup
  • Green beans - 4-5 cut
  • Eggplant / brinjal - 1 or 2 small, cut
  • Carrot - 1 small
  • Tamarind - a lime sized ball
  • Tomatoes - 2 medium sized, chopped
  • Curry leaves - a sprig.
  • Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp chopped.
  • Salt - 1 tea spoon or to taste.
  • Water - 3-4 cups.
  • Fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped - 1 tbsp

Optional ingredients

  • Jaggery / gud - 1/2 tsp or according to taste.
  • Fresh grated coconut - 1 tbsp
  • Sambar powder -  1 1/2 tbsp
  • Okra / ladies finger / bhindi - 2-3

Ingredients for tempering:

  • Oil + ghee - 1 tsp each
  • Mustard / rai seeds - 1 tsp
  • Cumin / jeera seeds - 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida / hing - 1 pinch
  • Turmeric powder / haldi - 1/4 teaspoon.

How to extract tamarind juice

Soak tamarind in 1 cup of warm water for about 15 minutes. Squeeze tamarind and get pulp/juice. Discard the seeds and thread.

The quantity of pulp you use in sambar will depend on the sourness you like.

Cooking toor dal

Wash 1 small cup toor dal and cook it in 1 1/2 cups water till it is soft. You may cook it on the stove top in a pot/pan. Or use a separator in the  pressure cooker for toor dal when you cook rice.

I usually use pressure cooker as it is faster.

Mash toor dal using the back of a ladle or a potato masher. You may use a blender if you wish. Or you may just mash it up using your hand. Keep aside till our vegetables are ready.

Making mixed veg sambar

1. While the toor dal is cooking, we will get the vegetable ready.

Add the chopped veggies, beans, carrots and brinjals to a pan. Add enough water to cover the vegetables. Heat the pan and let the water/vegetables boil. Cover and cook for 5 minutes on medium low flame. 

2. When veggies are cooked a little bit , they will change color, add chopped tomatoes and cook till tomatoes become soft. Cover and cook.

3. Add a cup of water after tomatoes are cooked. Add sambar powder, salt and jaggery(if adding) . Mix and bring to boil. Let boil for about 5 minutes on low flame.

4. Add fresh grated coconut. Mix and cook for 2-3 minutes.

5. Add the cooked and mashed toor dal. Add water according to the consistency you need for sambar. You may make it as thick or thin as you like.

Today I am going to keep it a bit thick.

6. Add tamarind pulp/juice according to the sourness you like. We may add jaggery (optional) to balance the sourness or you may omit jaggery.

I usually add a litle jaggery.

How to make tempering

7. Heat vegetable oil/ghee in a small tadka pan. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When they start spluttering add curry leaves.

Add hing/asafetida and turmeric powder.

8. Add the tempering to the boiling sambar. Cover for a few minutes.

9. Mix well. Add more water if sambar looks too thick. Add water if you want the consistency thin and continue boiling for another 5 minutes.

10. Add chopped coriander leaves and switch off. Keep covered till serving time.

Sambar is ready to serve with dosa, Rava Idli , Rice.


Mixed veg sambarReady Mixed veg sambar

 Tips and variations

You may also use some other vegetables such as potatoes,  okra(ladies finger), knolkol etc.

You may store leftover sambar in the fridge for 3-4 days. Just reheat and serve.

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