Sify Bawarchi
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Sambhar recipe
By : Sify Bawarchi
Category : Vegetables, Tamilnadu, South Indian lunches
Servings : 4
Time Taken : 30-45 mins
Rating :

1) Boil the vegetables adding the ones that would take longer to cook first. You could cook it in a broad vessel or simply pressure cook in a pressure cooker with little salt and turmeric powder.
2) Pressure cook the lentil or toor dal till completely soft and easy to mash.
3) Squeeze the tamarind to extract as much pulp as possible. This does not require long soaking. While cooking the dal and vegetables you could soak up the tamarind. Sambhar is a vegetable chowder or stew, famous in the southern parts of India as an integral dish for cooking. It is believed that tamarind was substituted for kokum to bring out the sour taste.

It`s the sambhar powder that makes or breaks a good and bad sambhar recipe. Sambhar is definitely a time-consuming dish. However, the easy availability of ready-made sambar powder and the blessing of pressure cooker has reduced the job to almost half.

Sambhar can be made with just one hero vegetable or several vegetables. It`s these vegetables that make it extremely healthy and delicious.


  1. In a heavy-bottom wok add oil and ghee.
  2. Temper all the ingredients mentioned along with garlic and add sugar to caramelize the shallots.
  3. Reduce heat completely and add the seasonings followed by the tamarind juice.
  4. Give a good stir to avoid burning. Add the cooked vegetables and mix well. Finally add the lentil and stir well again.
  5. Let all the ingredients blend well. Simmer for 10 mins till the seasoning is well incorporated in the vegetables.
  6. Once the lentils start boiling reduce flame and remove.
  7. Serve hot garnished with coriander and a swirl of ghee.

1) Since tomato is added the quantity of tamarind is reduced. If you`d like to increase the sour taste you could add one more tomato or increase tamarind wee bit. Ensure its not too much else it will be unbearably sour and could ruin the flavour

  • 2) If you like your sambar to be rich, reverse the ghee and oil ratio. 3) Some sambhar recipes use lady finger/`okra`. This sambhar calls for careful tending with the lady`s finger as they could become sticky and squishy if overcooked and not look appealing.
    4)In some of the southern states the quantity of sugar is higher than recommended making it more of sweet and sour curry/gravy.
    5) Purists make their own sāmbhar powder which is what makes sambhar a laborious dish.
    6) While adding asafoetida make sure you stir it as it tends to stick to the bottom of the wok.
    7) Drumstick, carrots and beans could get squishy if pressure cooked with other time-consuming vegetables. Hence, it`s best to cook them separately to retain its shape and colour.
  • Ingredients:
    Sambhar/ toor dal- 150 gms
    Tomato- 1 big
    Garlic- 5-6 (chopped)
    Drumstick- 1/2 cup
    Bottle gourd (lauki) - 3/4 cup
    Carrot- 1/4 cup
    Beans- 1/4 cup
    Snake gourd- 1/2 cup
    Potato- 1/2 cup (diced)
    Tamarind- a small marble sized ball (soak in water)
    water- 2-4 cups

    Turmeric powder- 3/4 tsp
    Red chilli powder- 1 1/2 tsp
    Sāmbhar powder- 3 tsp
    Salt- according to taste
    Coriander powder- 1/2 tsp

    shallots- 3-4
    Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
    Cumin seeds/ 1/4 tsp
    Fenugreek seeds- 1/8 tsp
    Curry leaves- 6-7
    Asafoetida- 1/4 tsp
    red chili dry- 3-4
    ghee- 1/2 tbsp (optional)
    oil- 2-3 tbsp

    Coriander- finely chopped
    Spring onions- finely chopped (optional)
    Swirl of ghee
    Fried shallots

    Steaming hot idly/dosa
    Steamed rice & appalam

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