Best Homemade South Indian Sambar Recipe

A hearty stew made with yellow lentils, vegetables and heaps of aromatic spice powder, Sambar is a staple served with all the meals at every South Indian household. The flavorful lentil curry tempered with aromatic curry leaves, mustard seeds and whole dried red chilies makes for a delectable accompaniment whether having hot idlis, vada, dosa or even plain steamed rice.

It won't be incorrect to say that while sambar is majorly known for its tongue-tickling taste, it is also packed with a lot of health benefits; toor dal lends it that much needed dosage of protein, the vegetables provide it with all the essential vitamins and minerals and lastly, addition of hing and tamarind loads it with immune-boosting properties.

Having said that, every household has its own recipe of making sambar. Some like it to have thick, others a bit runny. Some like the chunkiness of vegetables whereas others like their sambar to be smooth. Some like it on a tangier side, others with just a hint or tartness. Whatever way you like your sambar, you will get the best of the taste only when using the freshly ground sambar masala powder. Don't be intimidated as I say this. Though the thought of grounding homemade masala may sound a lot of work, trust me, its the only key to getting the most flavorful sambar, so, don't shy away from doing a bit of hard work.

In the recipe below, I have also included the details for making the fresh ground homemade SAMBAR MASALA POWDER. Do take a look!!

Best Homemade South Indian Sambar Recipe


  • Toor Dal/Tuvar Dal - 1 cup
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Kashmiri red chili powder - 1 to 2 tsp
  • Salt - as per taste
  • Peeled and cubed yellow pumpkin - 1 cup
  • Thickly sliced carrots - 1/2 cup
  • Sliced onions, preferably shallots or Madras onions - 1/4 cup
  • Drumsticks - 1 to 2, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Finely chopped tomatoes - 1 cup
  • Sambar masala (recipe given below) - 2 To 3 tbsp
  • Jaggery - 1 tsp
  • A lemon sized ball of tamarind soaked in 1/4 cup of warm water
  • Oil - 2 tbsp

P.S - Please feel free to use any vegetables of your choice; eggplants, okra, radish also go well in sambar and are preferably added in South Indian households.

  • Whole dhaniya seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Methi seeds - 2 tsp
  • Jeera/cumin - 2 tsp
  • Black pepper corns - 1/4 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 2 tsp
  • Chana dal - 1/2 tbsp
  • Urad dal - 1/4 tbsp
  • Curry leaves - 10 to 12
  • Hing - 1/4 tsp
  • Whole dry red chilies - 3 to 4

  • Ghee/oil - 1/2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Whole dried red chilies - 2 to 3
  • Curry leaves - 10 to 12
  • Hing - 1/4 tsp

Best Homemade South Indian Sambar Recipe


Best Homemade South Indian Sambar Recipe


  • Start by grinding the sambar masala.
  • In a pan, dry roast chana and urad dal on low heat until light golden and aromatic. Transfer to a plate.
  • In the same pan, roast dhaniya, jeera, mustard seeds, methi seeds and black pepper corns, again on low heat. Once you start getting the aroma of the roasted spices, add red chilies and curry leaves. Dry roast them too until crisp. Transfer them too to the plate containing roasted dals.
  • Let the spices cool down then grind to a fine powder. Mix in hing and keep aside for later use.
  • Wash the dal and pressure cook it along with 3 cups of water, turmeric powder and salt for 3 to 4 whistles.
  • Let the pressure release, then whisk the dal to smoothen.
  • In a pan, add 2 tbsp of oil. Once it is heated, add mustard seeds. As they splutter, add sliced onions and saute until translucent.
  • Next add cubed yellow pumpkin, carrots and drumsticks. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Season with salt, red chili powder and sambar masala.
  • Give a nice mix.
  • Add chopped tomatoes. Saute for a minute or two. Cover and cook on medium heat until oil starts separating.
  • Now add the mashed dal in the vegetables. At this stage you can also add a little water to adjust the consistency of the sambar.
  • Squeeze out pulp from tamarind and mix in the sambar. Add the jaggery too.
  • Cover and cook the sambar for 10 to 12 minutes or until oil floats on top.
  • Give the sambar a nice mix.
  • In a tadka pan, add some ghee. Once the ghee gets hot, add mustard seeds, dried red chilies and curry leaves. As the mustard seeds splutter, turn the flame off. Add in hing and pour the tadka over sambar. Serve hot with idli, vada, dosa or steamed rice.

Best Homemade South Indian Sambar Recipe



  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by. Your comments, suggestions and feedback are always welcome.


Popular posts from this blog

Khaman Dhokla | Savory Gram Flour Steamed Cake

Chicken Rara | Rara Chicken | Rara Murgh

Punjabi Kathal ki Sabzi | North Indian Dry Unripe Jackfruit Curry

Chana Madra | Himachal Dham Special Chana Madra Recipe

Bharwa Shimla Mirch | Stuffed Capsicum Recipe

Easy Homemade Mango Lemonade