Continuing my focus on South-Indian delicacies, this post today covers another quintessential dish of South Indian cuisine – Sambhar. Sambhar is a nutritious dish made up of tuvar/arhar daal (types of lentils) and mixed vegetables. You can use your own choice of vegetables in the Sambhar and make it healthy as per your preferences. I have made the Sambhar Masala Powder at home too, so that we have our own healthy Sambhar ! South Indian households consume Sambhar nearly everyday; it is served with  idli, dosa, rice, vada, upma etc.

The ingredients for making Sambhar are :

  1. Arhar/Tuvar/Tur daal (Pigeon Pea split) : 1/2 cup
  2. Mix vegetables (zucchini, carrot) : 3/4 cup
  3. Tomato : 1 large
  4. Whole dry Red Chilli : 4
  5. Curry leaves : 12-14
  6. Fenugreek seeds (Dana Methi) : 1/8 tsp
  7. Cumin seeds (Jeera) : 1/2 tsp
  8. Mustard seeds (Rye) : 1/4 tsp
  9. Tamarind chutney : 1.5 Tbsp
  10. Turmeric powder : 1/4 tsp
  11. Salt : to taste
  12. Asafoetida (Hing) : a pinch
  13. Sambhar Masala Powder : as per below recipe
  14. Oil : 2 Tbsp

For making Sambhar Masala Powder :

The ingredients for making your own Homemade Sambhar Powder are :
1. Arhad daal (Pigeon Pea split lentil) : 1 tsp
2. Chana daal (Bengal gram split): 1/2 tsp
3. Urad daal (Black gram skinned):  1/2 tsp
4. Coriander seeds :  2 tsp
5. Fenugreek seeds (Dana Methi) : a pinch
6. Cumin seeds (Jeera) : a pinch
7. Mustard seeds (Rye) :  a pinch
8. Black pepper : 1/4 tsp
9. Whole dry Red Chilli : 1
10. Curry leaves :  2-3
11. Turmeric powder (Haldi) : a pinch
12. Asafoetida (Hing) : a pinch

Method for Making Sambhar Masala Powder :

Heat a heavy bottom pan and dry roast all the daals (lentils) on low flame till they turn golden brown in colour. Then switch off the flame, remove the daals from pan and, put aside for later use.

Dry roast the fenugreek seeds on low flame till they turn brown in colour. Then switch off the flame, remove it from the pan and, keep it aside.

Dry roast the mustard seeds in a pan till they start to pop and then remove from the pan and keep them aside.

Dry roast the cumin seeds till they turn brown in colour; switch off the flame, remove from the pan and keep it aside.

Dry roast the whole dry red chilli and curry leaves on low flame for a minute; then remove from the flame, put in a plate and keep them aside.

Now take all the ingredients mentioned under sambhar powder (including all the dry-roasted ones) in a mixer jar and grind them to make a powder (not very fine). Your Home made Sambhar Masala Powder is ready !

Note : You can make the Sambhar Powder in large quantity and store in an air tight container for later use in sambhar or curries.

Method For Making Sambhar :

Wash, rinse and soak the arhar daal for 10-15 minutes. Then cook it in a pressure cooker with 2.5-3 cups of water, salt and turmeric powder till 3-4 whistles. Turn off the heat, let the steam release and then open the pressure cooker. The daal should now be well cooked and mushy. Mix the daal well to remove any lumps. If needed, add some water to make the daal thin.

Heat oil in a pan and temper with cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds,  asafoetida,whole dry red chillies, and curry leaves; sauté for a minute. Now add chopped vegetables, tomato, sambhar masala powder, 1/2 cup of water and cook covered on medium flame until the vegetables become soft.

Now add the cooked daal, tamarind chutney into it and mix well. Sambhar is supposed to be thin like soup, so add water as needed and cook for 10-15 minutes on low flame.

Your delicious Sambhar is ready to be served !


You can serve this delicious sambhar with idli, dosa, vada, upma and/or rice.

Insider Tips / Finer Points :

  • You may adjust the spices according to your taste buds.
  • You may also add your choice of vegetables like beans, okra, aubergine, drum sticks, pumpkin, radish, bottle gourd (lauki) etc.
  • Add 1 cup vegetables instead of 3/4th cup if you want more vegetables in the sambhar.
  • You may use readymade (market available) sambhar masala powder (1 Tbsp) instead of home made in case you do not feel like preparing it at home.

7 thoughts on “Sambhar

  1. Pingback: Masala Dosa | cookingwidjoy

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