Sambar is a staple part of most South Indian meals. Every family has their own personal recipe/touch to making this fantastic daal. The amazing part is that it is so flavorful and goes so beautifully with a host of things like Dosa, Idli, Rice, Vadas…

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 30 min
Serves: 4-6


Toor Daal – 1 cup (200 gms)
Water – 3+1 cup ( 1L)
Tindora – 5-6 pcs (slit)
Carrot – 1 (cut)
Green Beans – 1/4 cup (cut)
Winter Melon/Ash Gourd – 1/2 cup (cubed)
Salt – to taste
Tamarind – 1-1.5 tbsp or to taste
Asafoetida – 2 pinches
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Red Chili Powder – to taste
Sambar Powder – 4 tsp (divided)
Tomato – 1/2 medium (cubed)
Oil – 1.5 tbsp
Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
Curry Leaves – 1 sprig
Coriander Powder – 1 tbsp
Cilantro/Coriander Leaves – for garnish
Drumsticks – few pcs (optional)


1. Wash and soak the Toor Daal for 30 minutes.
2. Drain the water and put it in the Pressure cooker.
3. Add in the Carrots, Green Beans, Tindora, Winter Melon, Water (3cups) and Salt.
4. Close the cooker, cook the Daal on medium heat, 1 whistle and allow the pressure to go down.
5. Meanwhile, soak the Tamarind in 1/2 cup hot Wate and allow it to soften.
6. Once safe, open the Pressure Cooker, turn the heat on medium again.
7. Add in Turmeric Powder, Tomatoes, pinch of Asafoetida, 1/2 the Chilli Powder, 1/2 the Sambar Powder and Drumsticks.
8. Mix and let the Sambar keep boiling.
9. Mash the Tamarind so the juice/paste seperates from the fiber and the seeds.
10. Use a seive and starin the juice into the boiling Sambar.
11. Add the balance of the Water (1/2 cup or amount needed) to get the Sambar to the desired consistency.
12. Allow it boil till the raw Tamarind smell has gone and the Tomatoes should also be cooked.
13. For the seasoning, take a small skillet on medium heat and add in the Oil.
14. Once hot, add in Mustard Seeds and a pinch of Asafoetida.
15. Allow the Mustard Seeds to pop.
16. Then add in Curry Leaves and turn off the stove.
17. Add i n the Red Chillie Powder, Sambar Powder, Coriander powder and a little bit of water to avoid powders burning.
18. Add to the Sambar.
19. Mix and allow it to boil for another 2-3 minutes.
20. Garnish with Cilantro/Coriander Leaves and it’s ready.

Use Tamarind Concentrate if regular Tamarind is not available.


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0 thoughts on “Sambar

  1. Hello! I really love your recipes (your sarson ka saag is amazing!) and have tried a number of them so far. I just wanted to say here that personally I really love drumsticks in my sambar. Even if you don’t eat them later, as some people don’t like to deal with their outside hard skin, they just add a wonderful aroma to it. I don’t know why.


    1. Hi Nikola,

      We also love them. Its fun to scrape out all the goodness :). This was a recipe from one of our friends so we made it her way.

  2. Hi Hetal&Anuja,

    I started my cooking career without knowing anything,
    my first try waz sambar from your website hats off to yu’ll it worked very well which SHOCKED my husband.


    1. Hi Emani,

      Maybe your tamarind is super strong. Once it is too sour, there is not much you can do to fix it. You can try to add a pinch of sugar (just a pinch…you don’t want it to be sweet) to neutralize the sourness.

  3. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    I make sambhar using a different method.I dont use the red chilli powder and coriander powder.Just the sambhar powder.You can try that and see.It comes out really well.

  4. hi hetal & anuja mujhe aap dono buhut achi lagti hen aap ka show buhut acha hai sabhi ceezen buhut achi banati hain
    ye behtareen website hai lovely

  5. Hey Anuja n Hetal

    You both are simply my great back up for cooking.
    Just a little advice in sambhar which my mom told me ..instead of oil if we use ‘Mustard Oil’ it taste really good and different.

    Great work !!

  6. HI Anuja n Hetal,

    I am a bangladeshi u.s resident . I love ur videos as i always loved indian foods n wanted to cook myself .Thanx for making it possible .U guyz rock.Tc. n lots of love …

  7. i have said it before and noticed again

    ur table spoons and tea spoons seems like a size up a icer cream scoop

    4 tea spoons of sambhar masala looks like 1 ice cream scoop quantity wise.

    1. Regarding their measuring spoons. The ones they show in the video are for displaying the spices for the purpose of the video. They premeasure the spices in standard measuring spoons and then transfer them to the white display spoons. I think this is where the other reader became confused.

  8. Hi Anuja and Hetal,
    I was a bit afraid of this recipe,but to be honest, it turned out quite good..not sure I have gotten the tamarind part right as I’m not sure how tart it should be. I started out with 1/2 tsp tamarind concentrate, and it gives a good flavour. It’s great with rice, but will try idli sometime as well. Thanks for putting a bit of spice in my life.

  9. I love your website, enjoy watching your videos and have only had success’s from your recipes and instruction, so thank you very, very much.

    I would like to take my Indian cooking up to the next level. I was hoping that you both offer some suggestions on cookbooks or cookbook authors. I would love to learn more about the differences in the regions, the history and, of course, new dishes to add to our family menu.

    Since there’s no one webpage to ask general questions I’ve left this comment here as I made idli and sambar for breakfast this morning.


  10. Hi, apparently, in the south, we make different kinds of sambar. For instance, we make “Ladies Finger Sambar” where we use only ladies finger and exclude the other major vegetables you have mentioned. Likewise for “Drumstick Sambar”, we use drumsticks and exclude the others. The same goes for “Brinjal Sambar” and “White Radish Sambar” too. May be you could mention this at the end of the recipe.

  11. Hi Anuja and Hetal,
    Sorry to bother again, but how much tamarind concentrate would equal the amount of tamarind you used in the Sambar? I would really love to make this dish but don’t want to mess it up by using too much. Thanks, and keep up the great work.

    1. Hi Judy,

      Tamarind is a funny thing. We’ve found that different brands of concentrate have different tartness. We would suggest starting off with about 1/2 tsp, tasting it and going from there.

  12. Hello Hetal/Anuja,

    I have this american pressure cooker which doesn’t whistle. so i want to make sure my veggies doesn’t get mushy.


    1. Hi Shital,

      What a bummer, huh? Unfortunately, none of our pressure cookers are the non-whistling type. Your best bet is to experiment with a small quantity and start with the shortest cooking time (not sure what that may mean in terms of your cooker). To make you feel better, many of the whistling cookers also work differently. I have had many a mushy daal and vegetable before I got it right 🙂 .

      1. Thanks Hetal,
        Yesterday i made varan and it did got mushy ( how ever the test was delicious)so no worries. i think i pre soked it for 30 minutes and cooked for 20 minutes. i will reduce it next time to 13 -15 minutes and see.
        But the Varan came our very delicious my 5 year old daughter is picky how ever she finished her’s and said this is yummy mom.
        all credit goes too you guys for execellent recipe.

  13. Hi Hetal and Anuja,
    When using tamarind concentrate, how much would equal a cup of tamarind water,etc. I’m not sure how to use the concentrate, but it seems to be all that i have and I’m not sure how much to put in a recipe that calls for tamarind pulp.

  14. You can also fry a half a sliced onion, a small tomato in a little oil and grind this with one tablespoon chutney dal and fresh coconut and add it in the last portion of cooking. This will taste like the hotel sambhar.

  15. Thanks Hetal. I didnt change the variation in spices and it came out good, even without adding vegetables. I am from North India, now in States but i have always loved eating sambar and idli. Thanks once again.

  16. The amount of spice you use is really up to you. Most of the amounts we give are a good starting point. You can adjust to your taste. Of course, the amount of sambar will be reduced by a bit so you may want to add a little less to start with and go from there.

  17. Hello Hetal and Anuja.
    Made this recipe it turned out awesome. My husband said it was more better than the ones served in resturants. The couple of things I did diffrent is that I added some methi in the tadka like snehal suggested and also I added some cubed onions and some garlic. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

  18. Hi Hetal and Anuja

    Thanks for the nice sambhar recipe. I would like to add in a piece of advice … a little bit of methi powder adds a lot of aroma and flavour and gives that authentic taste. Also the best vegetables for sambar including the ones you have showed would be raw banana, yam, tarro root and also brinjal. Plus adding finely chopped onions in the tadka makes it even more tastier.

  19. Great dish, and such a personal touch can be brought to it. I changed the vegetables a little bit, using Mexican squash and bamboo shoots with the dal. I also made seasoning with cumin seeds, paprika, crushed red pepper, and sliced onion. Tamarind and tomato were also included.

    Thanks again!

  20. Hi Hital & Anuja,

    Thanks for the wonderful recipes you have been showing. I am getting more interested in cooking these days. I love Bakarvadi and Patra, could you please show the recipe for these delicious snacks.


  21. Hi Arzoo,

    Regarding the Sambar Powder…we stopped making it at home since we found a couple of brands that are excellent. The ones we would reccomend are:
    Everest Sambar Powder
    MTR Sambar Powder

    I can still try and dig up the recipe we have if you really it. Let us know.

    Take care

  22. Hi AHS,

    For this video we used a Prestige cooker and got it from India (available at Indian stores here as well). The cooker is a stainless steel one and the capacity is 4 liters.
    This one is perfect for a family of 4 and we just love it. Make sure you buy one that is Stainless steel and not aluminum as they are a lot healthier for cooking.
    Hope that helps!

  23. great recipe!
    Was just wondering which pressure cooker u are using in this podcast? I am looking to buy one in stainless steel and would like to know the model and volume of the one ya’ll are using here. Will appreciate your input.

  24. Hi Anuja and Hetal,
    Plllllzzzzzzzzzz give the recipe of sambhar powder also.bcaz there is a lot of difference between what u get in market and what u make home.

  25. Hi Hetal & Anuja
    That is the nice variation …thanks for the recipe
    I make the Sambhar in a bit different way..
    In tadka , u can add methi dana ( fenugreek seeds) which helps in digestion and releases wonderful aroma too…and also u can throw in sliced red onion saute it till translucent ( not brown ) and then add this tadka to the daal as u have already mentioned.
    Try adding some byte size pieces of Dudhi and grated coconut…and wow…it tests awesome…

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