Last updated on June 27th, 2020
Sambar recipe– Sharing the authentic sambar recipe that has been tried and tested many many times in our home for many years. Indulge in the essence of south Indian cuisine with this best sambar and rice!
Dal Sambar is the quintessential dish from south India that is always served as first course with rice before rasam. Sharing the perfect south Indian sambar recipe that is delicious and flavorful with video and step by step photos.
Vegetable sambar is the most popular dish in south India and every state especially has its own signature recipe. In Tamil nadu cuisine also there are many types of sambar recipes. The one I am sharing today uses fresh spice paste with coconut.
Making sambar is easy. You can make sambar as much quick or elaborate as you want. I sometimes just saute all the veggies with homemade sambar powder and use a pressure cooker to make sambar. Especially I do this when I want to fix lunch quickly. I will call that everyday sambar and this varutharacha sambar is a bit special.
This sambar recipe is the one we make at home for years. This is my mother’s version of making sambar. In this recipe, a freshly roasted and ground spice powder is used instead of regular sambar powder. The fresh spice powder makes this sambar recipe so fragrant and tasty, just perfect to serve with steamed rice.
Here I have used carrot and capsicum in this sambar recipe. I just love these two vegetables in any sambar. You can also add vegetables like potato,ladies finger (okra), eggplant, cluster beans, broad beans, french beans. Especially white pumpkin is another excellent vegetable to use in any sambar. I will share vegetable sambar recipe in pressure cooker using white pumpkin as I make it very often.
Sambar is best served with steamed rice, potato fry, aloo gobi fry, okra fry, raw banana fry aloo beans and also potato chips. You can also serve this sambar with idli, dosa, adai and pongal just like tiffin sambar
To make best sambar recipe, use good quality toor dal (the one that is not shiny), the dal should be completely cooked and mashed. Because if the dal is not thoroughly mashed, the consistency and texture of sambar will be affected. The color of the sambar greatly depends on the type of tamarind you use. We use dark tamarind that is well aged for and sambar recipes as this type of tamarind is less sour and deep in color.
Tips for making best sambar:
- Add tamarind extract only after cooking the vegetables for some time as tamarind will hinder with the cooking of vegetables.
- Use aged dark tamarind because that is not overly sour and also gives a nice color.
- You can add a very small piece of jaggery while simmering to round off the flavors.
- Make sure that the dal is properly cooked and thoroughly mashed. One of my aunt’s just grind the cooked dal before adding to the sambar.
- Do not boil the sambar for long time after adding cooked dal.
- When making in large scale you can add some rice flour mixed with water to thicken the sambar.
For Tamilnadu style sambar recipe, It is best to use small or pearl onions. Small onions are widely used in Tamil recipes as they are more flavorful and tasty. If you prefer you can leave out tomato and increase the amount if tamarind. Do try out this best south Indian sambar recipe and enjoy 🙂
Homemade sambar powder is the best one to use for preparing sambar. If you are not able to prepare homemade one you can use MTR sambar powder. I have personally tried it and like it.
Variations in making sambar recipe:
- to make a no onion version you can just replace onion with asafoetida.
- You can also skip coconut in spice powder if you want to.
- If you want to make sambar quickly use sambar powder instead of fresh spice powder.
- I have also shared full recipes for different types of sambar. Please refer below.
South Indian sambar recipe video
How to make sambar recipe
1. First of all soak tamarind in 1/2 cup water for 15 minutes and extract thick juice. Peel the onions. Finally also chop carrot, bell pepper into big pieces and tomato finely.
2. Pressure cook 1/2 cup toor dal with 2 cups water until completely mushy. Once pressure is released mash the dal very well.
3. Use the back of ladle or a mashed and mash the dal until very smooth. This is very important for making perfect sambar. You can mash the dal only if it is completely cooked. So adjust water and cooking time according to the quality of your dal. You can also grind the also to make it smooth.
3. Heat a pan and dry roast channa dal, coriander seeds, dried red chilies and fenugreek seeds in low flame. Roast till the dal and spices turn aromatic and take care not to burn the spices. Switch off the flame and finally add the grated coconut. Mix well and allow to cool. Finally grind everything to a coarse powder.
3. Next heat 2 tablespoons in a kadai or thick pan and temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
4. Add pearl onions and saute till it changes color slightly.
5. Next add all the chopped vegetables and saute well for 3-4 minutes. Then Add turmeric powder and mix well. Saute well.
6. Now add 3/4 cup water and cook the vegetables for 3-5 minutes. After that add the thick tamarind extract and mix well. Cook well for 5-7 minutes.
7. Then add the mashed dal and mix well. Cook in medium flame for 2-3 minutes.
8. Season with salt and ground spice powder. Cook for 3-5 more minutes. Finally garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve sambar hot with rice. Goes well with okra fry or brinjal fry or cauliflower poriyal or carrot curry or potato fry.
Sambar recipe card below:
Sambar Recipe | South Indian Sambar Recipe
- 1/2 cup pigeon peas
- Tamarind small gooseberry sized ball.
- 10-12 shallots
- 1 small carrot peeled and chopped
- 1/2 green bell pepper cubed
- 1 small tomato finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
To roast and grind for making sambar masala
- 1 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon channa dal
- 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 3-4 dried red chilies
- 1 tablespoon urad dal optional
- 2 teapoons grated coconut
To temper sambar
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 10-12 curry leaves
- 2 tablespoons oil
- Pressure cook toor dal until very soft. Mash the cooked dal thoroughly and set aside.
- Soak tamarind in water for 15 minutes and extract thick juice.
- Peel the onions, chop the vegetables.
- Heat a pan and add 2 tablespoons oil to it. Temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
- Add pearl onions and saute well.
- Add the veggies and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add turmeric powder and saute well. Add 3/4 cup water and cook the veggies for 5 minutes.
- Add tamarind juice and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the cooked dal and mix well. Add salt and ground spice powder. Cook for 5 more minutes.
- Add cilantro leaves and serve sambar hot with rice or dosa.
2. Use sesame oil for authentic flavor and taste.
3. If your dal is not very smooth after mashing, you can use a grind it before adding to the sambar.
4. The vegetables should not be over cooked, the shape and crunch should be slightly retained.