image source:

Sambar is a well-known south Indian recipe served as a side dish along with idli, dosa, rice and vada. It is a mixture of dal and veggies eaten in breakfast and meals. It has a wonderful taste along with having nutrition in it. The ingredients that are used in sambar (veggies and dal) are enriched with vitamins and protein and considered as a healthy diet for the Indians. The main thing, which makes the sambar taste more authentic is the sambar powder. This powder contains the taste of many spices that brings a wonderful taste in the sambar. The spices and curry leaves used in the tempering give a traditional and fresh taste to this recipe. Many people use the ready-made sambar powder available in the market but the real taste comes when the masala is ground freshly at home. It is preferred to use a mix of dal such as toor dal or masoor dal, toor dal or moong dal, a combination of the three. In south Indian households, the people mostly follow the traditional method of this recipe and uses toor dal or arahar dal. The ingredients that are required for this delightful recipe are mentioned below-


Toor dal: ¾ cup

Tamarind Paste: 1-2 tbsp

Coriander leaves: ¼ cup

Salt: as per taste

Turmeric: 1/8 tsp

Sambar vegetables:

  • 1-2 drumsticks
  • 2-3 ladies finger
  • 1 medium onion or 12-15 small onions
  • 3-4 pumpkin cubes
  • 1 chopped medium-sized tomato
  • 1-2 slit green chili

Sambar powder (you can use the ready-made powder or can make it at home with the following things):

  • 1 tbsp chana dal
  • 1 tbsp urad dal
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 4-5 red chillies
  • ¼ tsp methi seeds

For tadka or tempering, we need

  • 2 tsp oil or ghee
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 1 pinch of fenugreek seeds
  • 1 broken red chilli
  • 2 pinches of hing or asafoetida

Preparation method

For making the Sambar powder, you need to follow the steps-

At first, roast the urad dal, chana dal, dry chillies into a pan until it turns into golden in color. Next, roast the cumin seeds and methi seeds and remove all the things to a plate. After the dry roast of all ingredients then pour them into a blender and make a fine power of it. If you are using ready-made sambar powder then you can skip this step.

For preparing the sambar recipe, you need to wash the toor dal until it seems clear. After that, you need to pour it in a pressure cooker and add 2 cups of water into it. Cook the dal for 2-4 whistles on medium heat.

Rinse all the vegetables well and cut them into small to medium pieces. For example, cut the drumsticks as 2-inch pieces; chop the okra and tomato into 1-inch pieces, peel the cover of the pumpkin and cut them into dices, cut the onion into the piece of 1 inch. If you are using shallots or small onions then you do not need to chop them, just peel the cover.

After the dal is done, pour 5 cups of water into a vessel and add the chopped vegetables. Cook the veggies on a medium flame until they are soft. You need to cook all the veggies very well as the flavor of the vegetables needs to mix with the stock. You can also fry the veggies in oil to give a better flavor to the sambar.

As the pressure of the cooker goes off, then smash the boiled dal into a smooth paste.

When the veggies are cooked completely, add salt, turmeric powder and sambar powder into it and stir it well. Cook the veggies for another 3-5 minutes until they absorb the flavor of the spices.

Now, add the tamarind paste into the mixture and again give it a good mix.

After that, pour the smooth dal paste into stock, mix them well and boil it for 3-4 minutes. Then, add the chopped coriander leaves into the sambar and stir it.


image source:

Tempering the Sambar

Heat another pan on the gas and pour some ghee or oil into it. When the oil gets hot, add the cumin, mustard and methi seeds. As the seeds begin to sizzle, add the broken red chili and curry leaves.

Then wait for the curry leaves to turn crisp, as they turn crisp off the flame add a pinch of hing into it. You can also add ¼ tsp of sambar powder in this pan to give an authentic taste to the sambar. This step is optional you can add the powder if you want otherwise just skip it.

Now, quickly pour the tadka into the sambar, mix it well and simmer the sambar for 2-3 minutes on low flame. You can pour 2-3 ladles of sambar into the tadka pan as the aroma of the tadka will make the sambar more delightful.

Now, your sambar is ready to serve, you can enjoy it with dosa, idli, vada and rice.


You can use a mix of three dal (moong, toor, masoor) for the sambar to make the recipe different.

Do not make the dal overcooked, as the taste of the dal will go off. Add the paste of dal after the veggies are been cooked completely as this is the best way to bring the perfect taste of sambar.

Always add the tamarind paste after the vegetables are cooked completely.

If you want to store the sambar then pour them into small containers after cooling it completely. It stays good in the refrigerator for 2 days and whenever you want to have it, just gives it a boil. You can use fresh tadka or the refrigerated sambar as it makes the dish fresh in taste.

Nutrition facts

  • Protein: 10g
  • Fiber: 11g
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Calories: 187kcal
  • Cholesterol: 4mg
  • Carbohydrates: 32g
  • Fat: 2g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Potassium: 934mg
  • Sodium: 352mg
  • Iron: 7.5mg
  • Vitamin C: 102.4mg
  • Vitamin A: 910IU