Sambar or Sambhar (South Indian Style Lentil Based Vegetable Stew)

Sambar or sambhar is a lentil-based vegetable stew from South India. In this preparation lentil is cooked with choice of your vegetables. The taste is sweet and sour as both tamarind and jiggery both are used to balance the taste. Finally a temper of hing (asfaeotida) and curry leaves gives a very nice aroma to this ‘Dal’. I prefer this particular recipe of Sambar with plane steamed rice with some salad and papad. And I prepare quite often when I am in hurry but need to cook a nutritious meal. So try this simple recipe or Sambar.

  • Servings: 4-serving
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • Cuisine: south indian
  • Course: side dish
  • Preparation Time: 10 mins
  • Cooking Time: 30 mins


100 gms Tuar Dal / Toor Dal / Arhar Dal / Skinned & Split Pigeon Peas
1 ½ cups Mixed Vegetables – (Bottle Gourd, Brinjal, Okhra, Beans, Pumpkin, Drumstick)
1 (Big – chopped) Tomato
1 (Big – cubed) Onion
½ tsp Turmeric Powder
¼ tsp Red Chilli Powder
2 Tbsps Sambar Powder – (Any brand)
1 Tbsp Tamarind Pulp
1 sprig Curry Leaves
2 Tbsps Oil
To taste Salt
For tempering:
2 Tbsps Oil
½ tsp Mustard Seeds
2 pinchs Hing or Asafoetida
2 Ber Mirchi or Dry Whole Red Chilli
1 Sprig Curry Leaves


  1. Wash and soak the dal for 1 hour. Cook the dal in a pressure cooker adding turmeric powder and salt. If you are adding drumstick in sambar cook them with dal as it takes longer time to cook.
  2. As the dal is cooking take a kadai and heat 2 Tbsp of oil. Now add onion and curry leaves. Sauté for few minutes.
  3. Next add all the vegetables and sauté for few minutes.
  4. Now add enough water to cover the vegetables to cook. Put in the chopped tomatoes.
  5. Meanwhile the dal should be cooked. Let the pressure release of its own.
  6. Now pour the cooked dal in the kadai. Mix well and let the vegetables cooked with the dal.
  7. Add red chilli powder, sambar powder and tamarind paste. Adjust salt. If required add water. Cook till the vegetables are done and you get the nice aroma of sambar.
  8. In another small pan heat oil and temper the oil with hing, curry leaves, mustard seeds and chilli. Pour this temper or chaunk in the dal. Cover and let it rest for few minutes.
  9. Serve with Dosa, Idli or with Steamed Rice.


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