Delicious Sambar Recipe: A Burst of South Indian Flavors


Sambar, a beloved South Indian dish, is more than just a curry—it’s a cultural emblem. A medley of lentils, vegetables, and a curated selection of spices, Sambar delights the senses with its irresistible aroma and exquisite taste. Whether paired with fluffy idlis, crispy dosas, or steamed rice, sambar finds a special place in Indian hearts. In this recipe, we’ll guide you through creating the most delicious homemade Sambar. This will enable you to embark on a culinary journey that captures South India’s diverse flavours.

Preparation time:

Creating a Homemade sambar recipe is a labour of love that requires time and attention.

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Total: 45 minutes


This sambar recipe yields 4-6 servings, making it ideal for sharing with family and friends or enjoying multiple meals.


The sambar recipe is hearty. Here’s what you’ll need:

– 1 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas): The protein-rich base that gives Sambar its creamy texture.

– 2 cups mixed vegetables (carrots, potatoes, beans, and more), diced: A colourful assortment that adds nutrition and taste.

– 1 small eggplant, cubed: This veggie brings velvety consistency to the sambar.

– 2 medium tomatoes, chopped: Tomatoes balance flavours.

– 1 onion, finely chopped: Adds savoury depth to the Sambar’s profile.

– 2 green chillies, slit: Offers a mild heat that tantalizes the palate.

– 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp: The secret behind sambar recipes’ signature tanginess.

– 1 teaspoon turmeric powder: A pinch of gold that infuses warmth and colour.

– 2 tablespoons sambar powder: A blend of aromatic spices that’s the heart and soul of sambar.

– 1 teaspoon mustard seeds: For that satisfying crunch in every bite.

– 1 teaspoon cumin seeds: Enhances the earthy aroma of the dish.

– A pinch of asafoetida (hing): Boosts the Sambar’s taste with its unique flavour.

– Few curries leave an aromatic touch that’s quintessentially South Indian.

– 2 tablespoons oil: The medium for infusing spices and cooking vegetables.

– Salt to taste: The seasoning that ties all the ingredients together.

Cooking Directions:

Sambar recipe

1. Cook the Toor Dal:

Begin by washing the toor dal thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear. Place the dal in a pressure cooker, and add a pinch of turmeric, and enough water to cover the dal. Cook until the dal turns soft and mushy. Set aside.

2. Temper the spices:

sambar powder

In a spacious pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Follow with cumin seeds, asafoetida, and curry leaves. Allow these spices to infuse the oil with their flavours.

3. Sauté the aromatics:

Toss in the finely chopped onions and sauté until translucent. Introduce the sliced green chillies to the mix, adding a subtle kick to Sambar’s profile.

4. Add the vegetables:

It’s time to introduce the star of the show—our mixed vegetables and cubed eggplant. Sauté them for 5 minutes, letting the flavours meld.

5. Incorporate the tomatoes:

Add the chopped tomatoes to the pot. These tomatoes will break down as they cook, infusing the sambar with delightful tanginess.

6. Infused with spices:

Gently scatter the lively Sambar powder onto the medley of vegetables, followed by a subtle sprinkle of turmeric powder and a pinch of salt. Allow the spices to coat the vegetables evenly, painting them in rich hues.

7. Tamarind Tanginess:

Squeeze in the tamarind pulp, extracting its distinctive sourness. This step is crucial for authentic Sambar flavour. Stir well to ensure tamarind blends evenly.

8. Unite with Toor Dal:

Gently introduce the cooked and softened toor dal into the pot. The dal’s creaminess will meld flawlessly with the vegetable mixture, creating a sumptuous texture.

9. Simmer to perfection:

Let the Sambar simmer on medium-low heat, allowing the flavours to meld and the vegetables to tenderize. The concoction will gradually thicken, creating a luscious consistency.

10. Prepare the tempering:

In a separate pot, heat a small amount of oil. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and curry leaves. Once the seeds splutter and the curry leaves release their aroma, pour this aromatic tempering over the simmering sambar.

11. Stir and serve:

Give the Sambar a gentle stir to ensure tempering is evenly distributed. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Your homemade Sambar is now ready to serve!

FAQs about Sambar Recipe

1. What is Sambar powder made of?

Sambar powder is a spice blend composed of roasted and ground ingredients such as coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, dried red chillies, and more. 

2. Can I adjust the spice level?

Certainly! Sambar’s heat level can be tailored to your taste. To make it milder, reduce the number of green chillies or use mild chilli varieties. Conversely, for a spicy kick, you can add additional green chillies or a pinch of red chilli powder.

3. Is tamarind pulp necessary?

Yes, tamarind pulp is crucial to authentic Sambar recipe. It contributes to a distinctive tangy flavour that complements the other ingredients. If you prefer a milder tanginess, you can adjust the amount of tamarind used.

4. Can I use other lentils instead of toor dal?

While toor dal is the traditional choice for Sambar, you can experiment with other lentils if desired. Moong dal and Masoor dal are popular alternatives. Keep in mind that different lentils may alter the taste and texture of the Sambar.

Sambar’s versatility invites delicious variations. Some popular options include:

Vegetable Sambar: As showcased in this recipe, a medley of vegetables adds depth and nutrition to the dish.

Drumstick Sambar: The addition of drumstick (moringa) lends a unique flavour and a hint of bitterness that balances the dish.

Onion Sambar: This variation features generous amounts of caramelized onions, imparting sweetness and depth.

Arachuvitta Sambar: Instead of sambar powder, this version uses a freshly ground spice paste, offering an intensely aromatic experience.


In conclusion, crafting homemade Sambar is a culinary adventure that promises a symphony of flavours and a sensory journey to South India’s vibrant streets. This iconic dish, with its rich history and diverse variations, embodies Indian cuisine. As you take your first spoonful of the fragrant and flavorful sambar, you’ll savour its taste but also feel a connection to the cultural heritage it represents. So, gather your ingredients, embrace the art of tempering, and embark on a gastronomic voyage that celebrates tradition, taste, and togetherness.

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