Monday, January 16, 2006

Sambar - A South Indian Veggie Fare

Sambar is one of the most widely available South Indian foods. It goes with Idlis and dosas and also with Rice (and papadums, ofcourse!). Here's a simple sambar recipe, that I learnt from my friend's mom. The 'Secret Sambar powder' recipe also came from her. I used to hate sambar with a passion. But, after eating Sambar at her place, I was so smitten by the taste of that, that I had to have the recipe. :)


  • Any one of the following vegetables, cleaned and chopped - Drumsticks (murungaikai), Radish , Ridged gourd, small brinjals, winter melon - 2 cups
  • Tur dal - 2/3 cup or about 4 handful, pressure cooked with 1/4 tsp turmeric powder AND 1 tsp of edible castor oil (castor oil helps the tur dal cook very smoothly)
  • Sambar powder - 1 tbsp (Click on link for home made recipe or use store bought one)
  • Tamarind pulp - extracted from tamarind, the size of a small marble
  • Onions - one cup, chopped
  • Green chillies - 2
  • Tomatoes - 1/2 cup, chopped
  • Oil - 2 tbsp (preferably sesame seed oil)
  • mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp, cummin seeds - 1/2 tsp, fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp, asafoetida - a pinch
  • curry leaves - 2 sprigs
  • Salt to taste and coriander to garnish

Heat oil and add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the cummin seeds and asafoetida. Add the fenugreek seeds and when they turn slightly golden, add the onions, green chillies and curry leaves and saute well. Add the tomatoes and saute till they are cooked. Add the vegetables and after saute-ing for a few mins, add the sambar powder. It is very crucial to add the sambar powder now, before the water is added, for bringing out the best flavors. It should get roasted in the oil, slightly, but be careful not to burn the powder. After 2 mins, add the cooked dal and let it come to a boil. Now add in the tamarind pulp and cover the pan. After 10-15 mins, when the vegetables are cooked and when sambar has come to desired consistency, add the salt. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice.

Note: You can omit the 2 cups of vegetables and increase the amount of onions used if you are making this sambar to go with Idlis or Dosas. These days, I watch the salt content in my food, so I usually add it in the end. I've seen that by this way, I can get by using a small amount of salt and still get the same taste.


Sury said...

So delicious that looks! I feel like having some right now :P.
Here's letting you know I linked you to our blog. And thanks for linking ours :)

Kay said...

Thanks Suri! That IS a compliment! :)

Thanks for linking my blog, I enjoy visitng your kitchen.

Unknown said...

I tried this.. my first time! it came out well :) thank you for posting it!

Sesh said...

Hello Kaya..
I am a 22yr young boy came to melbourne to pursue my higher studies. Living alone on a shared accommodation. I am going to be honest with you. I have no idea of cooking till i reached melbourne. I was forced to cook 'something' so that i can eat that and survive. You have no idea about how many recipes i have tried before. I am really happy to say that my sambar came out so well that all my asian friends loved it. For the first time i had a sense of satisfaction that i have done something edible to me :) i really wish to thank you by person for making my dinner amazing :) thanks a lot. :)