How to Make Sambar

Sambar is a south Indian dish. But it has been eaten all over India. Today, We will learn how to make sambar recipe. The sambar recipe which we are using it here is very easy to make.

I am not from South India. My mother did not make sambar at home. We used to eat in the restaurant. After my marriage, I used to start making it in my in-laws’ house.

how to make sambar

My mother in law used to make it with rice. All other members love homemade sambar. It was not the exact taste like the restaurant style. She used to put very less sambar masala and other spices in it. My in-laws have very fewer spices in food.

I initially learned to make sambar from my mother in law. After making her sambar version many times. I tried to make it restaurant style. After some attempts finally, I learned how to prepare restaurant style sambar.

What is sambar

Sambar is a South Indian dish made with lentil (pulse or dal), lots of vegetables, tamarind and special masala called masala powder. Apart from sambar masala, we add some other spices in it.

It is up to you how many different types of vegetables do you want to add to it. You can add two or three vegetables in it. But there is no restriction to add more than three vegetables in it. Every vegetable you add in the sambar will create different taste in it.

Which vegetables are used in sambar

Its taste will be different every time because of the different combination of vegetables in it. You can add below-mentioned vegetables in different combinations. I have mentioned their Hindi names as well.

English Hindi
Potato Aloo
Tomato Tamatar
Lady finder or okra Bhindi
Brinjal (eggplant) Baingan
Bottle gourd Lauki or ghiya
Green beans Beans
Yellow pumpkinKaddu
Ash Gourd (green pumpkin)Petha
Drumstick (Moringa Oleifera)Sahjan
Peas Matar
Spring onion (green onion)Hare pyaz
Spinach Palak
Raw bananaKacha kela
Ivy gourd Kunduru or parwal

If you know any other vegetable which you add in your sambar recipe then let me know in the comments. I would love to know your version of sambar also.

Which kind of dal used in preparing sambar

It can be made with single dal or a combination of two or more dal. I have used tuvar dal or arhar dal(pigeon peas lentils) in this recipe. Below is the list of some dals which are used in making sambar.

  • Moong dal (Yellow moong lentils) or masoor dal (red/orange lentils) can be used to make sambar.
  • You can mix tuvar dal and masoor dal. Combining these two dals you will get very different taste.
  • Combination of moong and masoor also tastes good.

You can make different variations of sambar by using different dals and combination of different vegetables. This is the beauty of this dish. Sambar will taste different due to its ingredients changes. You will not get bored with this dish.

sambar recipe

Health benefits of sambar

  1. Protein-rich food: Sambar is made of pulses(dal). Dal is a very high source of protein. It is one of the best sources of protein-rich food.
  2. Full of fibers: Fibres are found in the pulses and vegetables. Luckily we are using different pulses and vegetables for making sambar. It makes sambar full of fiber-rich food. So having a sambar is good for health and cholesterol.
  3. Full of nutrients: It is made of pulses and different vegetables. It makes it full of nutrient-filled diet.
  4. Not too spicy: It is beneficial for your stomach as it is not too spicy and have enough vegetables and water rather than masalas.
  5. Complete meal: Sambar is a complete meal. As it is filled with lots of vegetables like pumpkin, onion, tomatoes, carrots and other seasonal vegetables. If you want to have a light meal in the night. It is one of the best options you have.
  6. Helps in weight loss: If you want to reduce your weight then it is a must-have recipe for reducing weight. For reducing weight fast you can increase the vegetable quantities and decrease the salt. Also, add little more water in it.
  7. Easy to digest: There is lots of water and fiber present in it. Due to that, it is easy to digest.

Different variations of sambar you can make

It is made in hundreds of variations. Even in India, the taste of it is different in every state. Taste is different because they use some different ingredients and methods which are mentioned below.

  • In some parts of kerala and coastal areas of tamilnadu and karnataka they put fresh coconut paste and grated and roasted coconut and spices, instead of sambar powder.
  • In Andhra Pradesh, they use very few vegetables in it. Source wikipedia.
  • different cooking oil is used for preparing it. In tamilnadu sesame oil is used whereas in kerala coconut oil is used.
  • Jaggery is used in preparing sambar in karnataka for adding a little sweet flavor.
  • As I mentioned earlier different pulses used in making it. Some prefer it with tuvar dal, some with the combination of moong dal. Some combine all two with masoor dal.

Sambar Video Recipe

I have this video to show you how I make sambar for me. You can watch this video and learn the recipe for it. It is a little easy to learn recipe by watching the video. You can read the recipe with the photos which is mentioned below in this post.

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How to serve sambar

Sambar is served with idli, dosa, steamed rice, vada, uttapam. These are the best dishes you can have with it.

Read the complete recipe of masala dosa and plain dosa. I have posted idli recipe on my youtube channel.

Nariyal ki chutni is the served with the dosa and idli.

If you are on a weight loss diet, then have it with brown rice, not with the white rice.

Other than that you can have it with chapati or roti. It tastes good with roti also. Just make a little thick consistency of it.

sambar for dosa

One of the main ingredients of this recipe is sambar powder. In many South Indian families, sambar powder is made at the home. But it is also available in the market. You can buy this one for making it. Its taste will be awesome with it. Buy the Everest sambar powder for making it tasty.

Sambar Recipe

My variation of making sambar. It will taste good. 
Course Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine South Indian


for tamarind pulp

  • 3-4 spoon tamarind pulp (imli)
  • 1/2 small bowl hot water

vegetables for it

  • 1 medium size chopped carrot (gazar)
  • 2 medium size chopped potatoes (aloo)
  • 1/4 size chopped Bottle gourd (or one small bowl) (ghiya)
  • 1 big chopped onion (pyaz)
  • 1 medium size Capsicum (shimal mirchi)
  • 2 medium size Chopped Tomatoes (tamatar)

lentil or pulses for it

  • 2 cup Arhar Dal or Tuvar dal

spices and other ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilies powder (lal mirch powder)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi powder)
  • 15-16 leaves curry leaves
  • 3 dried chilies
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
  • 2 teaspoon black mustard seeds (rai)
  • 2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 2 teaspoon fenugreek (methi dana)
  • 2 teaspoon salt or according to your taste
  • 2-3 tablespoon cooking oil (you can use any cooking oil or use sesame oil, coconut oil, ghee etc.)
  • 4 glasses water or add as required

very important ingredient for sambar

  • 2 tablespoon sambar masala


Steps for making tamarind pulp

  • soak 1.5 tablespoons of tamarind in 1/2 cup of hot water for 30 minutes.
  • After soaking tamarind will get soft. Squeeze it in the same water and discard the strained tamarind after squeezing.
  • Steive the pulp with a tea strainer to remove tamarind seeds and another left over of it.

Steps of cooking dal and vegetables

  • Soak dal in water half an hour before making it. After soaking it drain the water.
  • add dal and all the vegetables in the pressure cooker for boiling. I have already peeled and cut the vegetables into dices. 
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  • add 2.5 glass of water. Mix it will.
  • Cover the pressure cooker and cook it for 7-8 whistles.
  • When the pressure settles down, open the lid. And mix it well to mash it. Dal and vegetables will be cooked well. 

Making sambar after completing above steps

  • heat the kadai on stove
  • add 2-3 tablespoon of oil in kadai and heat it up
  • add mustard seeds meethi dana in oil and let is sputter
  • add fenugreek (rai ) in it and let it sputter too.
  • add cumin seeds (jeera) and fry it until its color changes to golden brown.
  • add 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing) 
  • add 3 dried red chilies and cook it little.
  • add 15-16 curry leaves 
  • add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • add 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • add 2 tablespoons of sambar powder
  • add 1.5 teaspoon salt or according to your taste.
  • cook all spices in it until it releases oil from it.
  • add all cooked mixture of dal and vegetables in it. and mix it well.
  • if its consistency is too thick then add water according to your choice.
  • add 3-4 tablespoons of tamarind pulp and mix it.
  • boil it for 4 to 6 minutes so that all the spices get infused in dal and vegetables.
  • Serve sambar with dosa, idli, vada, steamed rice, or plain chapati.


  1. You can add a little bit of jaggery (gud) for adding little sweet taste.
  2. As I earlier mentioned you can add different vegetables to it. If you use a vegetable like a pumpkin which gets mushy when you pressure cook it. Then, add this is kadhai with dal so that it will cook and not get mushy.
  3. Add tamarind at the end of the recipe not in the starting at the time of boiling vegetables.
This recipe is made in prestige cooker which I am using it from last 4 years. I regularly use it on daily basis. It is a very good quality cooker. I recommend this cooker to you. You should also buy this cooker for your kitchen.

If you want to ask anything related to this recipe or give any suggestion. Then you can tell us in a comment section. We would love to hear from you. 

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