Sambar is a South Indian lentil and vegetable stew made with boiled seperately toor (lentils) and then simmered with sauted vegetables and added an unique spice blend - sambar powder and tamarind. It is a spicy and sour dish. This delicious South Indian dish goes well with idlis, dosas or just plain rice.


Serves 4

  • 1 cup toor dal
  • 2 cups vegetables of your choice: okra, drumsticks, chopped potato, sliced onion or shallots, white pumpkin, eggplant, lotus root, cauliflower, carrots, tomato)
  • 1 pinch of asafoetida
  • 2 tbsp sambar powder masala
  • 1 tsp chili powder (optional)
  • 2 tbsp tamarind, soaked
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
  • 3 green chilies, chopped
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4-5 cups of water


  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 6-8 curry leaves
  • ½ tsp or pinch methi seeds
  • 2 dry red chilies, crashed

How to make Sambar:

  1. Wash the dal and pressure cook (4 whistle on medium flame) until soft and mashy. That will give a good texture to sambar.
  2. In meantime, put tamarind in a hot water and keep aside to soak.
  3. Wash and chop all vegetables of your choice.
  4. Heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a large deep pan.
  5. Saute onions for 2 minutes and then add all prepared or chopped vegetables. Sauté for 5 minutes.
  6. Add chili powder, pinch of asafoetida, sambar powder and salt. Stir and add 2 cups of water. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are half done.
  7. Then add mashed dal and mix well.
  8. Add half squezed water from tamarind. Add 1 cup of water. Bring it to a boil. Now taste and adjust salt and if you like your sambar more sour, add more tamarind water.
  9. Add coriander leaves and let it simmer for few minutes until the sambar has a right consistency and all ingredients blended together. You may add some water if sambar is to thick.


  1. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a small pan. Add 1 tsp mustrd seeds, ½ tsp cumin seeds (optional), pinch of methi seeds and 2 crashed red chilies.
  2. When the mustard seeds start popping, add curry leaves and let it sizzle for few seconds.


Pour the tempering over the sambar. Let it simmer for 2 minutes. Then, sprinkle with coriander leaves. Serve hot with idli, dosa or rice.

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