Sambar Recipe : Spicy Hot South Indian Stew!

The typical and traditional south Indian Sambar is a dish full of flavours and various tastes. Sambar has a very tasteful combination of a variety of dal and many chopped healthy fresh vegetables. The Sambar Recipe is one quick type of south Indian soup which instantly satisfies your hunger. It is easy to make at home if all the required ingredients are available. Though spicy, tasty and delicious, it’s hearty because of the nutrients in lentils and fiber rich vegetables.


  • Author:
  • Recipe Category: South Indian
  • Cuisine: Indian

Description: Check out this Sambar Recipe. This South Indian Sambar is easy to make at home and can be combined with various dishes thus it’s a very good side dish

Sambar Recipe South Indian Style

Ingredients Required for Sambar Recipe:

Though there are various ingredients required for making the sambar recipe, all of them are common and easily available. Get the ingredients, assemble them and start to make the sambar.

For Sambar:

  • Tovar Dal ( Arhar Dal) -½ cup
  • Turmeric Powder (Haldi) -¼ tsp.
  • Red Chilli Powder – ¼ tsp.
  • Asafoetida (Hing) -¼ tsp.
  • Onions – ½ cup
  • Tomatoes – ½ cup
  • Pumpkin ( Kaddu) – ½ cup
  • Drumstick – 4 to 5 pieces
  • Slit Green Chillies –  1 piece
  • Tamarind/ Imli Pulp – 1 tbsp.
  • Sambar Masala – 1 ½ tbsp.
  • Water – 3 cups(cooking dal)
  • Salt – as per taste

Note:  You can add any other vegetable which you would want to in your Sambar, such as Okra, Bottle guard, Cucumber, French beans, Shallots, Brinjal (eggplant), Pumpkin or Peas. You can also add the boiled potatoes. Mixing too many vegetables may do not be a good option, so choose wisely which veggies you want to add and keep the proportion of mixed vegetables to 1 cup.

For the extra spicy taste and to the flavours of Sambar, you can use the Garam Masala Powder along with the other spice powders and condiments.

You can make the Sambar Powder at home buy from the market. If you want to prepare the dry Sambar Masala, then check below for the ingredients required.

For Sambar Masala:

  • Whole Dry Red Chilli – 5 pieces
  • Chana Dal (Split Bengal Gram) – ½ tsp.
  • Cumin Seeds (Jeera Seeds) – ½ tsp.
  • Methi Dana (Fenugreek Seeds) – ½ tsp.
  • Kali Mirch Sabut (Black Peppercorns) – ½ tsp.
  • Dhania Sabut (Coriander Seeds) – 2 tbsp.

Note: You may reduce or increase the pieces of red chillies depending on the amount of spiciness you prefer for your Sambar.

For Tempering:

  • Oil -1 tbsp.
  • Mustard Seeds/ Rai – ½ tsp.
  • Curry Leaves/ Kadhi Patta – 4 to 5 leaves
  • Whole Dry Red Chilli -1 piece

Note: For the tempering, you can use either Sunflower oil, sesame seed oil or the peanut oil. You may do the tempering of Sambar in patanjali’s cow ghee as well. I recommend you to use Saffola oil as well.

You can add fenugreek seeds, a pinch of Hing, and crushed garlic cloves to make your tempering more flavorful and aromatic.


  • Water – 2 cups (other use)
  • Coriander leaves – ½ cup (garnishing)

Note: You can use the parsley leaves as well for the garnishing. Wash, rinse and finely chop the coriander leaves.

Steps for Making Sambar Recipe:

The preparation of sambar is simple but it becomes easier if you have prepared few things beforehand.


  • Sambar Masala: Mix all the ingredients for Sambar masala in a nonstick pan. Dry roast them on a medium flame for 3-4 minutes. Stir continuously while roasting the dry ingredients. Let the mixture cool. When it gets cool, transfer it to a mixer grinder and grind it to a fine powder. Take the Sambar powder in a small bowl and keep aside.
  • Tamarind Pulp: Boil the water and Soak the tamarind in the ½ cup of warm water for around 30 minutes. Drain the excess water and allow the tamarinds to allow for some time. When cooled, smash them and collect the pulp. Stain to get the smooth puree.
  • Cook the Dal: Take the Tuvar Dal and clean it with the fresh water. Boil the 1½ cup of water in a pressure cooker and then add the Tovar dal. Sprinkle the turmeric powder with a pinch of salt in the cooker. Combine the ingredients, stir well and, cover the lid of the cooker and cook for up to 4 whistles. Open the lid when the air escapes from the cooker. Whisk the dal well. All dal should be mashed.
  • Wash and chop all the vegetables.

Note: Fry the fenugreek seeds for a bit longer time, otherwise they might remain hard. They might taste bitter as well.

If you are not using the seedless tamarind, then remove the seeds before you soak them in warm water.

When you are cooking the Dal, do not overcook it. If you want to cook the Dal faster, then soak the Dal in water for approximately 40 minutes before cooking in the pressure cooker.

How to Make Sambar:

  • Now take a deep nonstick pan, add the mashed dal and all the chopped vegetables in it. Also, pour in 1½ cup of water. Mix well the ingredients and cover with lid.
  • When the veggies are cooked, add the chopped green chillies with spice powders such as red chilli powder, turmeric powder, Hing and ¼ tsp. of salt. Pour in ½ cup of water and stir everything well with each other.
  • Now when you are cooking the dal on a stove on a medium flame for 20-25 minutes, keep stirring occasionally.
  • Then after some time, add tamarind pulp, again pour in ½ cup water, season with a pinch of salt and mix well.
  • Then sprinkle the Sambar masala which you prepared and combine evenly in the mixture.
  • Cook for 5-7 minutes and simmer occasionally. Take the precaution that Dal does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Switch off the stove and keep this prepared Sambar aside.
  • Tempering: Again take a small nonstick pan, put it on a stove over a high flame. Keep some oil in it and wait till oil get heated.
  • Heat oil and when oil gets hot, add the mustard seeds. Break the whole red chilli in pieces. When the seeds crackle, add red chilli and curry leaves.
  • Fry the ingredients properly and sauté the mixture for few seconds. When the fragrant aroma starts releasing, switch off the stove.
  • Now pour this sizzling tempering to the steaming Sambar. Mix everything well with each other.
  • Cover the lid of the pan and again cook the Sambar for 1 minute so that flavours of each ingredient infuse well.

And the spicy Sambar is ready to eat!

Note: If you feel that the consistency of Sambar is thick, then add some water at regular intervals.

While you are cooking the chopped vegetables, make sure you do not overcook them. Always add Dal into the pan after the vegetables are cooked. Also, make sure that you mix the tamarind only after your veggies and Dal is cooked.

You can cook the vegetables in the pressure cooker of Dal. Once the Dal is cooked, mix in the vegetables with the spice powders. This way of preparing Sambar saves time but in the pan, veggies are cooked properly. If you want to save the nutrients and fiber content of veggies, then cook them in the pressure cooker.

Additional Information:

  • Calories: 600 calories
  • Total Time: PT40M
  • Serves: 5
  • Date Published:

Get Daily Dose of Delicious Recipes… Subscribe Now!

A lot of vegetables like onions, tomatoes, bottle guard, pumpkin, drumsticks etc. are used in the preparation of Sambar. The selection of vegetables depends on the preference of your taste palates and your personal choice. The addition of chopped vegetables in your Sambar is optional, you can either add one vegetable or have a combination of various vegetable. Each vegetable used has their own unique flavours and distinct taste which it adds into the Sambar.

The preparation is quite simple and less time taking if you have chopped the veggies, soaked the dal prior to making Sambar and already have the tamarind paste or pulp. The real taste of Sambar is highly dependent on the taste and flavours of Sambar Powder. Here I have discussed how to make Sambar masala at home but you can use the ready-made ones available in the market. But as usual, the homemade fresh Sambar powder is always best to use.

This delicious south Indian Sambar is amongst the favourite delicacies of Indian folks. This authentic dish is known across the nation for its taste, texture and royal flavours. The tempting taste and irresistible aroma of the orange reddish colour Sambar are beyond imagination. The addition of dry red chillies or its powder infuses the red colour in the Sambar. You can make the Sambar spicy or mildly spicy depending on what is suitable for you. For all the budding chefs, take care about the proper proportion to have the best results.


Before you serve the Sambar, give a good stir and transfer the hot Sambar in a large bowl. Serve it warm with soft plain Idli, crispy Masala Dosa or steamed Mango rice.

Garnish with:

  • Green coriander leaves
  • Slit Green Chillies
  • Lemon Wedges


  • The cooking time required for the Sambar Recipe is 40-50 minutes.
  • The measured proportion of ingredients makes Sambar which serves 4 to 5 people.
  • If you want you can use ready-made Sambar masala also instead of making at home. This Sambar masala can be stored in an airtight container.
  • Even you can use the stored tamarind pulp or can prepare fresh and store for the later use.
  • Some hotels add masoor dal also along with Tovar dal. If you wish, you can use the combination of Dal such as Tovar Dal, Masoor Dal and Moong Dal.
  • For the Jain Version of Sambar, skip adding chopped onions in your Sambar. The Sambar powder has no garlic, but if you are adding garlic then do no add it if you making it for Jain friends.
  • You may refrigerate this Sambar if you have made it in more quantity and take out to eat whenever you want. Keep in the fridge after it is cooled, and boil it once before you serve it.
Quick Tip:
  • Squeeze the ¼ tsp. of lemon juice for the extra tanginess in the Sambar.
  • If you prefer the sweet taste, then try adding ½ tsp. of sugar in Sambar.
  • Also, you can add the coconut paste in the last step for the distinct and unique flavoured Sambar.
  • It is advised to cook the Sambar before the time you want to serve. The more it will stay, the better it will taste.
Time Serving Calories
 40  minutes  4 to 5 people   600 calories

An all-time favourite dish of South Indian culinary is Sambar. Sambar is something which a South Indian family eats almost every day. So if you feel bored eating the mixed vegetable Sambar, you try to experiment with its traditional flavours and give it your own fusion. The other variety of Sambar which you would like to try is traditional Kerala Sambar, Tomato Sambar, Corn Sambar, Methi Leaves Sambar, Beetroot Sambar or Coconut Sambar. You can tweak with the traditional taste of Sambar and make it your signature dish.

There are two basic methods of preparing the delicious Sambar at home. The one that we have used is the making Sambar is the non-stick pan. Here we have boiled the Dal in the pressure Cooker and then have cooked the vegetables separately in the pan. We then have combined the dal with the veggies, prepared the tempering and pour it over our Sambar.

The other method is to prepare the Sambar is Pressure cooker which is similar to what we have done but when your dal is cooked, add the chopped veggies in the same pressure cooker. The rest of the steps remain same, you have prepare tempering in a different and mix it with your Sambar in a bowl. This is relatively easy and less time consuming when compared with making the Sambar in pan. This method is generally useful when you are in short of time and have to make Sambar instantly. Using the pressure cooker reduces the cooking time of the recipe. The other recipes which you can prepare in the pressure cooker are the tasty and spicy tomato biryani or healthy Palak Khichdi. Even you can even make the delicious, healthy and tasty Undhiyu in the pressure cooker. Various food dishes which needs steaming, you can cook them in your pressure cooker instead of a steamer. Whenever the guest are there without informing, and you have to make dinner in hurry, you can try the recipes which are quick to make.

One of the reasons why people love eating Sambar is because it is not just tasty to eat but also healthy. Include Sambar in your food by combining it with any type of steamed idli or Medu Vada and enjoy its delicious flavours. Similar to Sambar is the south Indian Pineapple Rasam which is equally flavorful and colourful. The mixed vegetable lentil soup is an ideal accompaniment for various South Indian dishes. Make this tasty Sambar and pair up with any of your favourite food such as Upma in breakfast, mid-day meal or the dinner.