[Back to Basics] Sambar Recipe
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Sambar is a lentil-based vegetable stew, cooked with red gram and tamarind broth. It is a dish of great prominence in the South Indian cuisine. Sambar is an easy, tasty and quick side dish for idli, vada, dosa or rice. This is just like the one served at Tiffin Centers and restaurants.
It is one of the most commonly cooked dishes in the South Indian household, which has managed to make a place in the hearts of people around the world. Personally, sambar is one of my most favorite dishes. My mother used to cook sambar mostly when she made idlis, but I would include sambar in the three meals of the day. In the morning, when it is freshly made and piping hot, I would add a few drops of ghee to it and have it with idli (this one you should definitely try, as the ghee gives the already tasty sambar a unique flavor).
In the afternoon, I would have it with steaming hot rice and pappadam. As it is made primarily from red gram and tamarind juice, it stays fresh and tasty even till night and we can have it with rice or idly at night.
There are several other serving suggestions like you can have it with dosa, vada, idiyappam or you can even sip it from a bowl (like a soup). The last suggestion seemed a bit confusing right…but it is a common habit in South India and my favorite serving suggestion too.
Every household has its own recipe for making this scrumptious lentil stew. Here are the key ingredients required some notes.
Lentil (dal): Lentils form the base. It’s made with toor dal (split pigeon peas lentil) I have used the best quality organic Toor dal by Bloom Organic Bazaar. You can cook the dal either in a stove top pressure cooker or Instant Pot.
Sambar powder: The taste of the sambar depends heavily on the sambar powder which is a spice mix made by grinding several spices. Use your favorite brand of sambar powder or make one at home.
Tamarind & Jaggery: These ingredients add the little tartness & sweetness to the sambar respectively. Again, here I have used the organic jaggery available at bloomorganicbazaar.com.
Other Ingredients – Other than the above ingredients, you will need turmeric powder, chili powder, salt, curry leaves, dry red chilies, oil, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, green chilies, onion, and tomato. I have used all the spices by bloomorganicbazaar.com.
Fresh curry leaves - I love them as they are very aromatic and deliver a nice flavor in the Sambar.
Note: The consistency can be adjusted to preference. This particular sambar should be on the thinner side.
Full Ingredient List
STEP 1: How to pressure cook dal
STEP 2: Let's make Sambar.
About the Contributor
Jaggery tea or Gur ki Chai is a traditional Indian tea made with jaggery and spices. Gur ki chai recipe is a popular tea variety made during winter. This tea has a deep earthy flavour from jaggery and tastes delicious. Let's learn how to make Gur Ki Chai or Jaggery Tea.