Recipe by: Vidya Khader

Source: Vidya Khader


  • 1 cup toor dal (pigeon pea lentils)
  • 2 cups chopped vegetables (a mix of french beans, potatoes, shallots/purple onions, small round eggplants, tomatoes, carrots, drum stick *see photo, green banana, lady’s finger)
  • 1 tbsp seedless tamarind paste, soaked in ½ cup warm water for 30 mins
  • 1 – 1 ½ sambar powder (*see photo)
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • Pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt, to taste

Ingredients for tempering of sambar

  • 2 – 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 – 5 dried red chilies (round)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ fenugreek seeds
  • Pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
  • 3-4 sprigs curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated coconut


  • Cook toor dal in 2 ½ -3cups water in a pressure cooker on medium to high flame. The dal should now be soft and mushy.
  • Add to the pot the chopped vegetables, ground turmeric, red chili powder, asafoetida and salt. Add 2 cups of water and stir well.
  • Pressure cook again on medium to high heat. Turn off heat and when cooled, open lid.
  • Add the sambar powder and tamarind pulp. If consistency of sambar is thick, add more water
  • Return pressure cooker on the stove and simmer sambar for another 10 – 12 mins on a low flame. Stir occasionally to ensure dal does not stick to the bottom. Remove from heat and cover.
  • In a small pan, heat coconut oil. Add mustard seeds until you hear them crackling. Add the fenugreek seeds, garlic, red chillies, asafoetida, curry leaves and coconut. Fry until the garlic turns a light brown and the red chilies change colour. Pour this into the steaming hot sambar. Mix well and allow flavours to infuse for 5 – 6 minus.


Download PDF here: South Indian Sambar Vidya Khader