Sambar 1

The ingredients to make sambar are the same in every household. But the sambar powder used in every home differs. My mom never used sambar powder. She uses her blend of chilli powder along with one green chilli. And no tamarind in her sambar. When I came to the US, my husband taught me his version of sambar. He used his mom’s sambar powder and tamarind extract. Click here for the sambar powder recipe.

For a thicker sambar, use more toor dal. I add sambar powder and tamarind extract according to my taste. Trust your taste buds and add the ingredients. And sambar thickens when it cools. If it becomes too thick, you can add water and salt if required and let it boil before serving.


  • Toor Dal – 3/4 cup
  • Tomatoes – 1/2 a tomato, chopped
  • Hing/ asafoetida – 4 pinches
  • Tamarind – 1 tbsp, soak tamarind in hot water
  • Pearl onions or regular onions – 3/4 cup
  • Vegetables – drumstick, or mixed vegetables of your choice.
  • Sambar powder – 1.5 tbsps, adjust according to taste
  • Salt – according to taste
  • Water – as required
  • Oil – 2 tbsps
  • Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 10 leaves
  • Onions – 1/4 cup, julienne
  • Cilantro – to garnish,optional


  • Pressure cook toor dal and tomatoes using water in a pressure cooker until the dal is fully cooked. 4 to 6 whistles.
  • Add hing to the dal and mash the dal using a dal masher.
  • Add onions, vegetables, sambar powder, salt and tamarind extract( strain the tamarind and use the juice. add according to your taste).
  • Add water as required.
  • Taste and add more salt, sambar powder or tamarind extract.
  • Pressure cook again for one whistle.
  • For the seasoning, heat oil in a pan.
  • Add mustard seeds and wait till it splutters.
  • Add curry leaves and onion.
  • Saute until the onions turn light brown.
  • Turn off the heat and add the seasoning to the sambar.
  • Garnish with cilantro.

Sambar 2


5 thoughts on “Sambar

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