Usually sambar is made out of toor dhal. It is the traditional way of making sambar in Tamil Nadu. You can also use other lentils like masoor dhal. I prefer toor dhal but i ran out of stock at home and hence using toor dhal for today's recipe.

The best thing about making sambar is you can make the recipe with any vegetable you have at home. Even if you do not have any vegetables, you can simple use onions or shallots or just tomatoes and make a delicious sambar.


1/2 cup toor dhal / masoor dhal
a pinch of turmeric powder
1 tsp sambar powder
1 medium sized onion
1 medium sized tomato
3-4 cauliflower florets
4-5 shallots
1/2 cup of roughly chopped french beans
1/2 tsp hing or asafoetida
3 tsp oil
1/2 tsp urad dhal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
3 garlic pods
1/2 cup tamarind water

How to make sambar:

1. In a pressure cooker add half a cup of toor dhal/masoor dhal. Wash it well and soak it in enough water for 10 minutes.

2. Then add roughly chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic pods, a tsp of oil, a pinch of turmeric to the pressure cooker along with dhal.

3. Pressure cook the dhal for 4-5 whistles and let the pressure release by itself.

4. Meanwhile, heat a kadai or pan. Add a tsp of oil.  Add mustard seeds and urad dhal. Let it sputter and wait until the urad dhal starts to turn light brown.

5. Add shallots and saute till they turn light brown.

6. Add chopped veggies, i have used cauliflower and french beans.

Tip: Typically drumstick, brinjal, shallots make an amazing ingredient combo for sambar and it gives an exceptionally good taste to the sambar. If you have these veggies at home, while making sambar never ever hesitate to add them instead of cauliflower and capsicum.

7. Saute for 3-4 minutes and then add tamarind water.

8. Add a tsp of sambar powder and salt. Let it boil for 5-6 minutes until the raw smell of the tamarind water goes away.

9. Keep the pressure cooked dhal ready by mashing it well either using a hand mixer or a spatula itself.

10. Once the tamarind water has boiled well, add mashed dhal.

11. Let it boil till you see small bubbles start coming from the sides of the pan.

This might take another 4-5 minutes.

12. Add chopped coriander leaves, curry leaves, hing/asafoetida and a tsp of oil.

13. Mix it once and switch off the flame.

14. Sambar is ready to serve with rice, pongal, idly, dosa, poori, chapati etc. The options are endless when we think of the combination for sambar.

I have even a wide list of North Indian friends who literllay drink sambar :)


Popular Posts