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Sambar (సాంబారు, सांबर, சாம்பார்)


Sambar (సాంబారు, सांबर, சாம்பார்) is a South Indian vegetable stew which mainly consists of dal, tamarind and variety of vegetables cooked with a helpful of special masala that gives the richness and taste to the whole dish called sambar masala powder. A variation of this smabar is also most popular in Andhra homes that is called as Pappucharru which doesn’t have the sambar masala powder but is enjoyed equally. This is enjoyed with steamed rice or with idli, vada, dosa, puttu, appam and pongal. This is also mixed with rice and made a bit mushy which is called as sambar rice that is very much enjoyed in Tamil Nadu, it can be called as one pot meal.

Regional Dish:  Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu , Kerala, Karnataka

Cuisine Style: Andhra Pradesh| Cooking Time 40mins | Take it with Rice/ Idli/dosa | Type Dal| Shelf Life : 1  day| Quantity : 6 Servings.

Appx. Nutritional values calculated for 1 serving:

Calories (152Kcal), Carbohydrates (25g), Protein (8g), Fat (2g)


  • Toor dal – 1/2 cup
  • Water – 2 cups
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp.
  • Carrot – 1, cubed
  • Potato – 1 small-medium, cubed
  • Drumstick – 2, cut lengthwise
  • Tomato –  small 2, sliced
  • Ladies fingers –  4 cut lengthwise
  • Tamarind – size of a lime (adjust the qty. as per your taste)
  • Sambar powder – 2 tbsp.
  • Asafoetida – 1/2 tsp.
  • Small onions– 5, sliced finely or 1- medium onion
  • Red chilies – 2 broken to pieces
  • Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp.
  • Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil – 2 tbsp.
  • Note ( can add other vegetables like Cauliflower florets, Bottle gourd, Beans, Brinjal, Indian Cucumber, White pumpkin, Radish, Green mango, Pearl onions)


  1. Pressure cook the dal with water on medium flame for 4 whistles. Open it when all the steam goes off, now mash the cooked dal with a spoon.
  2. Add some warm water to tamarind pulp and extract juice from the soaked tamarind and set a side.
  3. Take a wide and thick bottom pan and heat 2 tbsp. of oil and when the oil is hot enough add mustard, cumin, red chilies, asafetida and sauté for minute or till the seasoning pop.
  4. Once the season pops add sambar powder, turmeric powder curry leaves and all the vegetables with onions and give a nice mix and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. To the above mixture add the cooked and mashed dal, tamarind extract and finally salt and allow the sambar to simmer for 25 minutes or till all the vegetables are cooked.
  6. Now check the taste for salt and adjust accordingly and take off the sambar from heat and cover it with a lid or dish out in to a serving bowl and keep it covered till it’s time to enjoy with  steamed rice and a dollop of ghee.
  7. Variations: Cook dal, make it thin with tamarind water and add all the vegetables, onions and cook till tender, and then make a paste of sambar powder with some water and add this to the boiling sambar. Adjust taste. Season it in a small pan and add it to the boiling samabar.
  8. Cook dal to half way and then add the vegetables and cook again to soft consistency. To this add tamarind extract, sambar powder and fry onions separately and  season it separately and add to the boiling sambar and give a nice mix and cook for 5 minutes.
  9. Note: Adjust the sourness and thickness and spiciness of sambar to once taste.


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