Sambar/ Sambar Recipe / South Indian Sambar

Sambar / Sambhar is a classic South Indian dish; a lentil stew with spices and vegetables.  It is a popular accompaniment for rice, Idli, Vada and Dosas. Also, it is an inevitable dish for Onam, Vishu and traditional Kerala sadhya; a great vegetarian spread with a variety of dishes like Parippu curry, Avial, Kalan, Olan, Pulissery, Vellarikka Pachadi, Pineapple Kichadi, Rasam, Koottu Erissery, Inji Curry, Thoran, Erissery, Papad, Mango Pickle, Crisps, Mathanga Payasam, Palada, Pazham PradhamanSweet Potato Payasam, parippuPradhaman etc.

All over South India, a common vegetarian meal consists of Sambhar and other vegetarian side dishes. Since it is prepared with lentils and vegetables, it is considered as super healthy food. I have prepared this with Homemade Sambar Powder. You will be delighted with the taste and flavor. You can substitute with store brought branded Curry Powder, although the flavor and taste might differ.

Sambhar can be prepared with your choice of vegetables. During my childhood, I hated this dish, as it had too many vegetables. My mom used to buy vegetables for Avial and she would put almost all the veggies in Sambar as well. I prefer a few vegetables like Carrot, Beans, Cucumber, Small Onions, Tomatoes, Drum stick etc.  Apart from the quick Sambar prepared with Curry Powder, Thenga Varutharacha (roasted Coconut and spices) Style is also very tasty. I will add that post later.

Do check my Onam recipes and Payasam recipes like classic Palada Payasam, Parippu Pradhaman, Mathanga Payasam, Sweet Potato payasam, as well. For now, try this delightful Sambar recipe and enjoy the traditional Onam Sadya. Wishing you all a happy and prosperous Onam and Healthy appetite!

Ingredients :

Toor Dal: ½ cup
Water: 4 cups
Green chili:  1 – 2 pcs
Small Onion/ Shallots: 8 pcs.
Vellarikka/ Cucumber: ¾ cup
Carrot: 1 no.
Potato (medium): 1 no.
Beans: 5 pcs
Ladies Finger/ Vendakka/ Okra: 3 pcs
Drum stick: 1 or 2
Onion: 1 small
Tomatoes: 2 nos.
Curry leaves: 2 sprig
Sambar Powder: 2 tbsp – 2 ½ tbsp.
Tamarind (Valan Puli): little (lime size)
Mustard: ¼ tsp
Red dry Chili: 2 nos.
Curry leaves: 2 sprigs
Coriander leaves: little
Coconut oil: 2 ½ tbsp.


Wash and clean the Toor Dal, add 4 cups water, ½ tbsp. coconut oil and cook on low flame in a pressure cooker for one whistle. Once the pressure goes, add all the cubed vegetables and sliced Onions to the pan. Add 2 tbsp Homemade Sambar Powder, salt and combine well. Pressure cook again for two whistles.

Sambar/ Sambar Recipe / South Indian Sambar Sambar/ Sambar Recipe / South Indian Sambar Sambar/ Sambar Recipe / South Indian Sambar

Make tamarind Pulp with ¼ glass water and filter and add (little by little as per your taste) to the Sambar. Boil for few minutes and adjust the salt. Heat rest of the coconut oil in a kadai, fry Ladies finger pieces till soft and tender and add to Sambar. Put mustards, curry leaves and red chili. Garnish Sambar with this, little coriander leaves and enjoy with rice or idlis or Dosas!


  • Put the small onions as it is; do not cut. Cut the other vegetables into cubes.
  • You can add your choice of vegetables.
  • Use coconut oil for authentic traditional taste.
  • Check my link – How to make Sambar Powder at home, for best flavors.
  • You may add a little more than 2 tbsp Sambar Podi for intense flavors.
  • You can have a mix of Toor dal and Masoor Dal. Add extra dal, if you want a thick gravy.
  • Add tamarind pulp little by little to ensure it is not too tangy, since tomatoes are added.
  • You can add a small pinch of sugar to balance the flavors.

Hope you liked this Kerala style Sambar recipe. It would really motivate me if you will send me your comments or share with friends through the share buttons below. God Bless!

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