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   Sambar is the most common dish in South India. It is made with toor dal and assorted vegetables in tamarind sauce. Sambar is served as the main dish for South Indian marriage meals called ‘sadya ‘and on various festive occasions.There are lots of variations of making sambar which differ from state to state. In some part, people use coconut and in some other part people don’t prefer to use coconut to make this recipe. My mom always makes Varthuarcha Sambar / Sambar with Roasted Coconut in our home.

I learnt to make this simple, easy to make yet tasty sambar from my mother in law who is a great cook too. She always make sambar with homemade sambar powder.

   Personally, this is our all time favourite dish which I would love to have it Dosa, Idli or with Rice. So just follow the recipe as it is and I am sure you will end up with a wonderful tasting sambar. So here it is...

Preperation Time: 15 min.

Cooking Time: 30 min.

Serves: 4


Okra, potato, drumstick - 350 gms (refer note 1)

Tomato - 1, cut into 4 pieces

Shallots (kunjulli) - 8 small, cut into half if big.

Toor dal - 100 gms

Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp

Sambar powder - 2 Tbsp

Asafoetida powder - 1/2 tsp

Tamarind - 1 small lemon sized ball soaked in 1/4 cup hot water

Salt - to taste

      See measurements & all ingredient's regional names here

For seasoning

Oil - 1 tsp

Mustard seeds - 3/4 tsp

Dry red chillies - 2, cut into half

Curry leaves - a few

Preparation Method

Soak tamarind in hot water for 10 minutes and extract the juice. Keep aside.

Fry shallots and okra in 1 Tbsp of oil for couple of minutes and keep aside.

Cook dal with turmeric powder and 1 cup of water using a pressure cooker. After the pressure settles open the cooker and mash the dal using a spatula and keep aside. (I cooked it for 4 whistles and it was perfectly cooked).

Add all vegetables (except okra, shallots and tomato), salt and 2 1/2 cups of water into the cooked dal. (refer note 2)

When the vegetables get half cooked, add okra, tomato, shallots and the tamarind extract. Cook till all the vegetables are well cooked.

Meanwhile heat 1/2 tsp of oil in a small pan under a very low flame and add the sambar powder and asafoetida powder.

Saute for a while, making sure that it doesn’t get burnt.

Add this to the vegetables and let it boil for couple of minutes on a low flame.

Check salt and add if needed.

Heat 1 tsp of oil into the same pan and splutter mustard seeds.

Add dry red chillies and curry leaves.

Pour this into the curry and mix well.

Turn the flame off.

Sambar is ready to be served...


1.The choices of vegetables are purely according to each one's taste.

2. You can add more or less water according to your desired consistency.

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