Sambhar Recipe A Lentil Based Vegetable Stew


We can’t imagine the South Indian cuisine without sambar, sambhar or sambhaar dish. This vegetable stew is lentil based and served piping hot with idli, dosai, vada, rice, uthappams and all kinds of their savoury crepes. This is one of the most popular dishes which has won the hearts of all since long

I have thought many times what makes the South Indian cuisine so popular!! These may be the ingredients that range from dried red chillies, fresh green chillies, coconut, tamarind, curry leaves and fresh seasonal vegetables, and above all, the level of their priceless spices and the choice of the staple may be the only differentiating factor.
All the South Indian states have its own versions of cooking this stew, but the base is almost the same.This lentil base dish is prepared with arhar or toor/toohr dal adding any seasonal veggies.A tadka or tampering of mustard seeds and curry leaves and the add of tamarind pulp makes it special and unique.


Does a Homemade Sambar Masala Make a Difference

Yes! I would say. It definitely makes a huge difference. This is that key ingredient which makes it so special and flavourful. Though the numerous ready-made masalas are available in the market but there is no match to freshly roasted and ground spices into sambar masala paste or puree. In fact, the sambar dish while cooking with this masala becomes an appetizer in itself

Cuisine – Indian (South India)

Course – Main (Indian Curries)

Prep Time – 30 minutes (preparations include soaking of dal and making homemade sambar masala paste)

Cooking Time – 30 minutes

Total time – 60 minutes

Author – Bharti Dhawan


1- Arhar or tuhar dal (washed and soaked for 30 minutes) 1 cup
2- Water – 5 -6 cups
3- Yellow pumpkin or kaddu (cubed) – 1 cup
4- Chopped onion and some shallots – 1/4 cup
5- Chopped tomatoes – 1/4 cup
6- Chopped brinjal/baingan – 1/4 cup
7- Chopped tomatoes – 1/4 cup
8- Chopped cauliflower
9- Salt – 2 tbsp or to taste
10- Turmeric /haldi powder – 2 tsp
11- Red chilly powder – 1 tsp
12- Tamarind paste/imli paste – 1 tbsp
13Homemade sambar paste – 2 tbsp

14- Cooking oil – 2 tbs


1- Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
2- Whole red chilly – 2 nos.
3- Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
4- Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
5- Curry leaves – 7-8 nos.
6- Red chilly powder – 1 tsp


1- Add 1 cup soaked dal and 2 cups of water in a pressure cooker and cook for 10 minutes or until 3-4 whistles come at medium flame. It must be cooked to a mushy consistency

2- Heat oil in a pan and add mustard and cumin seeds. Now add curry leaves, whole red chillies and heeng/asafoetida powder

3- Now add chopped vegetables and stir at intervals.Time to add salt, turmeric/haldi powder and red chilli powder

4- Add chopped tomatoes and cook for a while.

5- Add cooked mushy dal and water and let it boil for 10 minutes at low flame until veggies become soft

5- Add sambar masala paste and tamarind paste and let it boil for more 5 minutes to infuse all the flavours. Switch off the flame and prepare for tadka/tempering


1- Heat oil in a tadka pan and add mustard seeds. When crackle add cumin seeds

2- Add whole red chilly (chopped)and curry leaves and let them splutter. Add red chilly powder now

3- Pour this tadka over cooked sambar and serve piping hot with idli or dosa or raw mango rice or stir-fried green bean rice or vegetable uthappams