Diet & Nutrition 4 MIN READ 52 VIEWS June 15, 2022

Easy Sambar Recipe for You to Try

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Sambar is a traditional lentil stew or gravy from South India, prepared with vegetables and ground spices. A sambar dal is a delicious side dish that may also be eaten in brunch alongside soft idli, vada, and dosa. Yellow lentils, sambar masala, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and some veggies are used in this simple yet amazing sambar recipe.

Recipe NameSambar
Place of OriginSouth India
Total Time Taken40 minutes
Preparation Time20 minutes

Sambar Ingredients

For dal:

1. 1/2 cup yellow pigeon pea lentils (tuvar dal)

2. Salt to taste

3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

4. 1 tablespoon tamarind paste


1. 10-12 shallots

2. 1/2 cup cubed eggplant

3. 1/2 cup sliced carrots

4. 1 drumstick (cut into 2-inch pieces)

5. 1/2 cup peeled and cubed yellow pumpkin

6. 1 cup water

7. 1/2 teaspoon salt

8. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

For masala:

1. 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

3. 3-4 whole dry red chilies (stalk removed)

4. 15-20 curry leaves

5. 1/2 cup finely chopped onions

6. 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes

7. 2 tablespoons sambar powder

For tempering:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2-3 whole dry red chilies

10-12 curry leaves


Step 1: Wash 1/2 cup tuvar dal and place it in a pressure cooker with 2 cups of water, salt to taste, and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder. Close the lid.

Step 2: Cook for one whistle on high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove the cooker from the heat and let the steam escape normally.

Step 3: Open the lid and pour in the tamarind paste (or tamarind water). Using a wire whisk, thoroughly combine all ingredients. The dal was traditionally mixed with a wooden masher. Set aside the cooked dal.

Step 4: Prepare the vegetables while the dal is cooking.

Step 5: Peeled shallots or pearl onions- 10-12 shallots or pearl onions. 

Eggplant- Cut eggplant cubes into 1-inch cubes. 1/2 cup diced eggplant is required. To prevent oxidation, soak the cubes in water until ready to use.

Carrots- Peel and cut the carrots into pieces. 1/2 cup sliced carrots are required.

Drumstick- 1 drumstick should be cut into 2-inch pieces.

Pumpkin- Peel the yellow pumpkin and cube it into 1-inch pieces. 1/2 cup cubed pumpkin is required.

Step 6: In a pot, combine all of the prepped vegetables, 1 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder.

Step 7:  Cook the vegetables, covered, over medium heat until they are soft (8-10 minutes).

Step 8:  If the vegetables are overcooked, they will become mushy. You can also use a pressure cooker to cook the vegetables. Set aside the cooked vegetables.

Step 9:  In a big pot, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Sambar was traditionally made with ghee, but you can use any oil you like.

Step 10: Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 3-4 whole dry red chilies, and 15-20 curry leaves to the heated oil and let them crackle for 5-6 seconds.

Step 11: Add 1/2 cup of finely chopped onion and cook till transparent (4-5 minutes). If you want a no-onion dish, you can leave out the onion.

Step 12: Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until 1 cup of finely chopped tomatoes are mushy.

Step 13: Cook for another 3-4 minutes after adding 2 tablespoons of sambar powder. If the masala is too dry, add some water. In this saucepan, combine the cooked dal and vegetables and stir well.

Step 14: To modify the consistency, add more water. The consistency of sambar is a matter of taste. Some individuals want it thin, while others prefer it thick. On medium-low heat, cook the sambar for 10-12 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat source.

Step 15: Make the tempering when the sambar is done. In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Ghee or coconut oil can also be used for vegetable oil.

Step 16: Allow 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 2-3 entire dry red chilies, and 10-12 curry leaves to crackle for 4-5 seconds after the oil is hot.

Step 17: Stir well after pouring the tempering over the sambar. Serve immediately.

Tips to Enhance the Taste

  1. Vegetables should not be overcooked. They should be tender and yet have an edge to them. They will get mushy and taste bad if cooked too softly.
  2. If your sambar has become sour due to too much tamarind, add a little jaggery to compensate.
  3. Furthermore, mash the dal thoroughly before adding it to the sambar for a smooth consistency.
  4. Finally, after adding the sambar powder paste to the dal and vegetables, thoroughly boil the sambar.
  5. The Sambar has a pleasant aroma and flavour after being seasoned twice. 
  6. If the Sambar is too thick, add additional boiling water and thin it out to the desired consistency, then season with salt.

Serving Ideas

Sambar should be served hot with rice. It pairs well with okra fry, brinjal fry, cauliflower poriyal, carrot curry, and potato fry. Enjoy the flavour of the most popular and traditional South Indian curry. 

Nutritional Content in Sambar

Calories158 kcal

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Is sambar beneficial to one’s health?

Yes, sambar is a nutritious, well-balanced dish that is high in proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

Q2. Why doesn’t my sambar taste good?

The quality and quantity of tamarind as well as the sambar powder are all important components of an excellent sambar. For the finest flavour, use excellent quality unpolished tuvar dal.

Q3. Which oil is ideal for making sambar?

For original flavour, we traditionally prepare this meal using sesame oil. If it’s not available, substitute peanut oil, coconut oil, or any other vegetable  oil or ghee.

Q4. What is the best way to make sambar spicy?

To make the sambar spicy, mix in 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder or ordinary red chilli powder with the sambar powder. Along with the vegetables, 1 green chilli can also be added.

Q5. Is it okay if I add cumin seeds to this dish?

Yes, you can add it while tempering if you want.

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