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Sambar is a traditional South Indian lentil based vegetable stew. Any vegetables can be used in making sambar, the most common ones being carrots, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and drumsticks. It is typically served with rice.

Servings: 10-12, Cooking time including preparation 35-40 minutes.


For Sambar:

If using tamarind, soak it in water for 10 mins. Squeeze the tamarind juice discard the the pulp and seeds. This step can be skipped if using tamarind paste.

Cook the dal in a vessel with three cups of water  for 15 minutes. Alternatively Dal can be cooked in pressure cooker for 4 whistles. Mash the cooked toor dal.

In a separate large vessel, dry roast mustard seeds, methi seeds, 2 red chili whole, half teaspoon jeera (cumin), 10 curry leaves for 1 minute. Add drumsticks, onions, turmeric and salt – stir them well. Add tamarind juice or tamarind paste. Add tomato . Mix the sambar masala paste (see below for recipe), add 2 cups of water let it cook for 6-7 mins. Mix the cooked toor dal and add a cup of water. Stir well. Let the Sambar boil for another 15 mins. Add jaggery/brown sugar and coriander leaves/cilantro.

Recipe for sambar masala paste: dry roast chana dal and urad dal for 2 mins and then add rest of the ingredients – dry roast for 3-4 mins, add coconut – mix it well, roast for 1 min – set it aside for few mins. Grind it with 1 cup of water to make sambar paste. Keep this paste aside.

Transfer the Sambar into serving bowl.


Toor dal (yellow lentil) – 100gms, 1/2 cup
Tamarind 30 grams/ one ounce or Tamarind paste - 1/2 Tablespoon
1 teaspoon Red chili powder
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric powder
Salt for taste (one to two teaspoons)
4 long Drum sticks
2 small Onion – cut each into 8 pieces
2 Tomatoes (cut each tomato into 8 pieces)
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
2 red chili whole
1/2 teaspoon jeera (cumin)
10 curry leaves
1 teaspoon of brown sugar/jaggery
2 Tablespoons of coriander leaves
For Sambar Masala Paste
1 and 1/3rd Tablespoons coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
1 teaspoon jeera (cumin) seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
10 red chili whole
fresh coconut grated 2 and half Tablespoons
1 Tablespoon urad dal (white lentil)
1 Tablespoon chana dal (yellow split peas)
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