Sambar Recipe - South Indian Recipe

Yellow Lentil and vegetables dish
South Indian Lentil Curry Recipes

This sambar recipe is a popular south Indian recipe. It is an important side dish that is served with Rava Idli, Dosa , Steamed Rice - Plain rice.

Sambar is made with yellow lentil called pigeon peas - Tuvar dal - toor dal and vegetables.

You can use any vegetables of your choice such as onions, potatoes, tomatoes, brinjals, beans, cabbage, knolkol, raddish etc. you can use any one or a mix of these vegetables.

The sambar powder can be made in large quantities and stored for 6 months or more. I use it most of the time. Of course the freshly made sambar powder has a special taste, which I make once in a while when I have more time.

I am using onions and tomatoes in this recipe. My family loves it.

I am also making fresh sambar powder for this recipe. You may use 1 1/2 tbsp ready sambar powder instead if you do not have time to make it now.

How to make Sambar - South Indian lentil recipe

Main ingredients for onion 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

Ingredients for Sambar:

  • Toor dal - 1 small cup
  • Tamarind - a lime sized ball
  • Onions 2 medium sized, chopped
  • 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.

Ingredients for tempering:

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

Step by step instructions for making sambar


  • Roast the sambar powder ingredients on low flame.
  • Grind to fine powder.
  • Soak tamarind in warm water for 15 minutes.
  • Get pulp using 1 cup of water.

Cooking Method:

  1. Cook Toor dal in 2 cups of water till it is soft.
  2.  In a deep pan, Heat oil.
  3. Add mustard and cumin seeds. When they stop crackling, add asafetida and turmeric powder, curry leaves, chopped onions.
  4. Fry for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes.
  5. Cook for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup water.
  6. Add ground sambar powder. Boil.
  7. Mash the cooked dal. Add to the mixture. Boil for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the tamarind pulp, salt. Stir.
  9. Add more water if needed. Boil for about 5 minutes.
  10. Add chopped coriander leaves.
  11. Sambar is ready to serve with dosa, Rava Idli , Rice. Enjoy

 Tips and variations

I have used onions and tomatoes in this sambar recipe. This is a favorite combination in my home.

You may also use some other vegetables such as potatoes, brinjals, green beans, carrots, okra(ladies finger) etc. instead of or along with onions and tomatoes.

Related Pages to visit:

Pepper rasam, menasina saru, milaga rasam : A healthy hot drink for colds and throat irritation.

Rasam Powder : Saves time when you use the ready spice powder.

Rasam - serve as appetizer, soup, and also with Plain Steamed Rice

Indian Bread

Go to Lentil Recipes Page from Sambar Recipe

Go to Vegetarian Recipes Homepage from Sambar Recipe

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