Sambar, a lentil based vegetable stew is served  as a side dish with idli, dosa, vada etc. Idli and Vada sambar are popular breakfast food in South Indian households. It is also served with steamed rice. Sambar with rice is one of the main course dishes in  South Indian meals. Another flavourful sambar is the Mangalorean mixed vegetable sambar which is a coconut based gravy. 


For cooking the dal
½ cup  split pigeon peas (tuvar dal)                                                          
½  tsp turmeric powder(haldi)
a pinch of salt (namak)

Other ingredients

2 tsp oil (tel)
1 tsp mustard seeds (rai/sarso)
½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
2 sprigs curry leaves (kadi patta)
1 onion, chopped (pyaaz)
1 tomato, chopped (tamatar)
1 medium sized brinjal, chopped (baingan)
1 small carrot, chopped (gajar)
7 to 9 cubes of pumpkin (kaddu)
2 drumsticks, stringed and chopped (sahjan ki phali)
1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
A lemon sized ball of tamarind (imli)       
1 small piece of jaggery (gud)    
4 tsp sambar powder 
salt as per taste (namak)



  • Wash and soak tuvar dal for 30 to 40 minutes .
  • In a pressure cooker, put tuvar dal, turmeric powder, salt, 2 cups of water and cook for 4 to 5 whistles.  
  • After the pressure has escaped completely, open the pressure cooker.
  • Mash the dal well and keep aside.
  • Soak tamarind in a small bowl of water and keep it aside for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, extract the tamarind pulp and discard the residue.  
  • Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan.
  • Add mustard seeds, methi seed, curry leaves and saute for few seconds.
  • Add chopped onion and saute for few seconds.
  • Add chopped tomato and saute for few minutes till the tomato becomes soft.
  • Now, add chopped brinjal, chopped carrot, pumpkin cubes, drumstick, turmeric powder, salt, jaggery  and give a mix.
  • Add half a cup of water and give a quick mix.
  • Cover the pan and cook till the vegetables are properly cooked.
  • After the vegetables are cooked, add tamarind pulp, mashed dal and mix well.
  • Add sambar powder and mix well.
  • Add water as per the required consistency. 
  • Cook for few more minutes.
  • Sambar is ready to be served with idlis /dosas.


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