Sambar Recipe – Authentic Homemade Sambar Recipe(In 7 Steps) – A Flavorful South Indian Delight


Sambar, a beloved South Indian dish, is renowned for its aromatic spices and rich flavors. This lentil-based stew, traditionally served with rice, idli, dosa, or vada, combines pigeon pea lentils, a tamarind-based broth, and a unique blend of spices(Let’s move forward…)..

Understanding Sambar:

Sambar, a centuries-old dish originating from Tamil Nadu in South India, has become widely popular across the region. Its distinctive flavors and aromatic profile are achieved by combining pigeon pea lentils (toor dal) with a tangy tamarind-based broth and a unique blend of spices. The resulting taste is a harmonious balance of tanginess, spiciness, and subtle sweetness(Let’s move forward…)..

Essential Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of toor dal (pigeon pea lentils)
  • 2 cups of mixed vegetables (e.g., drumsticks, carrots, beans, eggplant)
  • 1 small finely chopped onion
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of sambar powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon of tamarind paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 2-3 dried red chilies
  • A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • A few curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Step-by-Step Preparation:

Step 1: Cooking the Lentils

  • Rinse the toor dal thoroughly and soak it for approximately 15-20 minutes.
  • Drain the water and transfer the dal to a pressure cooker. Add 2 cups of water, turmeric powder, and a pinch of salt.
  • Pressure cook for 3-4 whistles until the dal becomes soft and mushy. Set aside.

Step 2: Preparing the Tamarind Extract

  • Soak the tamarind paste in 1 cup of warm water in a small bowl for about 10 minutes.
  • Squeeze the tamarind with your fingers to extract the pulp. Set aside.

Step 3: Cooking the Vegetables

  • Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter.
  • Add cumin seeds, dried red chilies, asafoetida, and curry leaves. Sauté for a few seconds.
  • Add finely chopped onions and sauté until golden brown.
  • Add the mixed vegetables and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Step 4: Making the Sambar

  • Add the cooked dal to the pan with the vegetables and mix well.
  • Pour the tamarind extract into the pan and stir.
  • Add sambar powder and salt to taste. Mix thoroughly.
  • Bring the sambar to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Allow it to simmer for 15-20 minutes to meld the flavors.

Step 5: Garnish and Serve

  • Once the sambar reaches the desired consistency, remove it from heat.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves to add a touch of freshness and aroma.
  • Serve the hot and flavorful sambar with steamed rice, idli, dosa, or vada, allowing the robust flavors to complement each other perfectly.

Expert Tips for Perfect Sambar:

  • To enhance the flavor profile, consider lightly roasting the sambar powder in a little oil before adding it to the dish.
  • For added depth, you can roast the vegetables before incorporating them into the sambar.
  • Adjust the consistency of the sambar by adding more water if it’s too thick or simmering it longer to thicken it.
  • To elevate the tanginess, feel free to increase or decrease the amount of tamarind paste according to your taste preferences.
  • For a richer taste, consider adding a tablespoon of ghee during the tempering process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Q: Can I use store-bought sambar powder?

  • A: Absolutely! Store-bought sambar powder can be used as a convenient alternative to homemade powder. Adjust the quantity based on your desired taste.

Q: Is it possible to skip the tamarind paste?

A: While tamarind adds a tangy element to sambar, you can substitute it with lemon juice or raw mango pulp if tamarind paste isn’t available.

Q: How can I make the sambar spicier?

A: If you prefer a spicier sambar, you can increase the quantity of dried red chilies during the tempering process or add a pinch of red chili powder.


    • Experiment with different vegetable combinations such as okra, pumpkin, radish, or bottle gourd to add variety to your sambar.
    • For a unique twist, consider adding a tablespoon of freshly grated coconut while grinding the masala paste, lending a delightful coconut flavor.

    Sambar Recipe Card:

    Homemade Sambar Recipe


    • 1 cup toor dal (pigeon pea lentils)
    • 2 cups mixed vegetables
    • 1 small onion, finely chopped
    • 2 tomatoes, chopped
    • 1 tbsp sambar powder
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
    • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
    • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    • 2-3 dried red chilies
    • A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
    • A few curry leaves
    • 2 tbsp oil
    • Salt to taste
    • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish


    1. Cook the lentils: Soak toor dal, pressure cook with turmeric powder and salt until soft. Set aside.
    2. Prepare the tamarind extract: Soak tamarind paste in warm water, extract pulp, and set aside.
    3. Cook the vegetables: Sauté mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dried red chilies, asafoetida, and curry leaves in oil. Add onions and mixed vegetables. Cook briefly.
    4. Make the sambar: Add cooked dal, tamarind extract, sambar powder, and salt. Mix well and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
    5. Garnish and serve: Remove from heat, garnish with fresh coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice, idli, dosa, or vada.

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