South Indian Sambar Recipe | How to Make South Indian Sambar

South Indian Sambar
South Indian Sambar

South Indian Sambar Recipe is made with vegetables and spices! This flavorful and spiced Sambar goes well with rice, idli or dosa!

Course Main Course

Cuisine Indian

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Servings: 8

Calories: 238 kcal

Author: Manali

5 from 5 votes

Ingredients to Prepare South Indian Sambar Recipe

To Pressure Cook the Dal

•        1 cup toor dal/arhar dal, pigeon peas lentil

•        1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

•        1 teaspoon salt

•        3 cups water, 24 oz

Tamarind Juice

•        1 tablespoon tamarind piece

•        1/3 cup hot water

For Cooking The Vegetable

•        2 teaspoons oil

•        1/2 cup chopped eggplant

•        2 medium carrots, diced

•        Drumsticks – 8

•        1/2 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste

•        1 medium tomato, chopped

•        3 cups water, 24 oz

•        2 tablespoons Homemade sambar powder,

•        2-3 teaspoons powdered jaggery

•        1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder, optional


•        1 tablespoon ghee, or use oil

•        3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds, black

•        1/4 teaspoon hing (asafoetida)

•        10-15 curry leaves

•        chopped cilantro, to garnish

Instructions South Indian Sambar

1.       To a pressure cooker, add the rinsed dal with 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt and 3 cups (24 oz) of water. Cook for 5 whistles on medium-high flame, then lower the heat to medium-low and let it cook for another 5 to 6 minutes. Wait till the pressure releases naturally, Safely open the cooker and fine mash the cooked dal lightly with a potato masher. Set aside. If using an Instant Pot, pressure cook for 9 minutes on high pressure with natural pressure release.

2.       Meanwhile, soak 1 tablespoon tamarind piece in 1/3 cup of hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. Then strain the liquid using a strainer. You will get 3 to 4 tablespoons of tamarind water/juice. Set it aside.

3.       In a pan, heat 2 teaspoons oil on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped eggplant and cook for around 2 minutes.

4.       Add carrots and frozen drumsticks and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 2 more minutes. Add finely chopped tomato and cook for 1 minute on medium flame.

5.       Then add around 3 cups (750 Ml Approx. ) water and stir.

6.       Add 2 tablespoons sambar powder (or adjust to taste). Also add jaggery powder, and 4 tablespoons of the tamarind water that you had extracted earlier.

7.       Stir in the cooked dal. Also add the red chili powder, if using.

8.       Keep Stiring everything together till all mix well and allow the sambar simmer on medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes.

9.       For the tempering, heat 1 tablespoon ghee (or oil if you want to keep this vegan), in a small pan on medium heat.

10.     Once the ghee is hot, add mustard seeds and let them pop. Then add the hing and curry leaves for stir for few seconds until leaves turn crisp.

11.     Pour tempering over the simmering sambar.

12.     Serve the sambar hot with idli, dosa or rice!

Recipe Notes

1.       Use oil in place of ghee in the final tadka to make this recipe vegan.

2.       You can also use a mix of toor and moong dal to make this sambar.

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