Sambar recipe | How to make South Indian Sambhar for dosa and idli

  • Prep Time : 15m
  • Cook Time : 20m
  • Ready In : 35m

Sambar is not just a  popular dish in South Indian cuisine, but a staple in South Indian homes. A delicious medley of dal & vegetables cooked in a spicy mixture, this is most commonly eaten with rice, idlis or dosas. 20140111-P1070615 And like most other recipes, you would find a million versions in Southern  India- differing from every house, every state- each one swearing that theirs is the best- the most authentic. But for people like you and me, who love Sambar- this recipe is an easy way to get around it. 20140111-P1070610


  • Toor (Tur, Arhar) dal- 1cup
  • Mixed vegetables- 1 cup
  • Onion, finely chopped- 1/3 cup
  • Tamarind pulp- 1 tsp or concentrate- 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric- 1/4 tsp
  • Sambhar powder- 1 to 2 tsp
  • Salt- as required
  • Mustard seeds -1 tsp
  • Asafoetida (Hing) - a big pinch
  • Fenugreek seeds (Methi) - 1/2 tsp
  • Red Chilli - 1 to 2
  • Curry leaves - 5-6
  • Oil- 1-2 tsp


Step 1


Step 2

Soak tamarind in hot water for 10 minutes and extract tamarind juice through a sieve. Discard the pulp.

Step 3

Soak dal in hot water for 20 minutes and pressure cook for 3 whistles till well cooked. Mash slightly with the back of a serving spoon.

Step 4

Chop up the vegetables. Use just whatever you have beans, carrot, potato, aubergine. Use any vegetables of your choice. Cook for 10 minutes with 1/2 cup water or microwave for 5-6 minutes.

Step 5

Chop the onions.

Step 6

Heat a wok and add 1 tbsp oil. Add mustard seeds,when it splutters, add hing, dry red chillies, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves.

Step 7

Add the chopped onions and saute for a few minutes.

Step 8

Then add tamarind water, turmeric powder, salt and sambhar powder.

Step 9

Let it boil for 10 minutes.

Step 10

Add in the mashed dal and vegetables.

Step 11

Adjust the amount of salt. Remember that the sambhar powder already has chillies in it. So don't add any extra chilli powder.

Step 12

Boil for another 10 minutes, and serve hot with rice, idlis or dosas.

20140111-P1070616 Cheat’s TIP: For a one-pot affair, toss the vegetables and washed dal into the pressure cooker & cook. In a wok, heat the oil, add all the ingredients for tempering. Add the cooked vegetables and dal. Stir lightly without mashing the vegetables. Add the turmeric powder, sambhar powder, tamarind pulp, salt and boil for 10-15 minutes. Serve hot.

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