Sambar – Preparation and Ingredients required



South Indian sambar contains a lot of vegetables like snake gourd, drumstick, cucumbers, potatoes, lady finger and tomatoes.

The choice of vegetables can vary based on one’s personal liking. But each vegetable has different flavour and taste. Sambar preparations may contain spinach. Homemade as well as ready made sambar powder can be used for this recipe. The sambar can be served with many food items like rice, dosa, idli etc and the amount of tamarind that’s being used can be adjusted accordingly. Essential ingredients required and the method of preparation of sambar is discussed below.

Ingredients for making sambar
  • 1/2 cup of toor dal (tuvaram parippu)
  • 1 cup of tamarind water, see preparation steps
  • 1 sliced long onion
  • 1 cubed carrot
  • 1 cubed potato
  • 1 drumstick, cut into 4″ pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 2 green chillies, slit
  • 3 tablespoon of fresh sambar powder (make your own sambar powder)
  • 1 small bunch of coriander leaves, chopped, for garnish
Ingredients for tempering
  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp of black mustard seeds (kaduku)
  • 5-6 fenugreek seeds (uluva, vendhayam)
  • 1/2 tsp of hing (kaaya podi, perungaayam)
  • A few curry leaves
  • 4-5 shallots (ulli, chinna vengaayam), sliced
Method of Preparation
  • Cook 3/4 cup of toor dal with 2 cups of water until it’s soft and completely mushy. The taste of sambar can be influenced by the quality and the type of dal used. If you are using pressure cooker, let it whistle for 2 to 4 times on a medium flame. Mesh it up and keep it aside. Dal should be smooth and this gives the required texture.
  • Soak the tamarind in warm water. Extract the juice through squeezing and discard its pulp and seeds.  Start by adding lesser amount than what you think you often require.
  • Wash all the vegetable and chop it into small pieces.
  • Cook these vegetables in tamarind water. One more cup of water can be added.
  • When the vegetables are semi cooked. Add sambar powder and salt. Let it boil and cook for 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Now add the prepared dal and mix it well with the sambar. Taste the sambar for salt and sour taste. Add more tamarind and salt according to your requirement.
  • If the sambar is too thick, add water to your requirement and if the sambar is too watery, boil until you get the right consistency
Final Preparation (adding tempering)