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The Most Cherished South Indian Sambar Recipe: How To Make Sambar

Updated on December 30, 2017
Venkatachari M profile image

Venkat is experienced in cooking since his mother's demise in 1966 and cooks Indian cuisines better. He uses healthy, easy ways in doing so.

Sambar Recipe

Sambar Recipe is ready for serve
Sambar Recipe is ready for serve | Source
Sambar served in a bowl as soup
Sambar served in a bowl as soup | Source
Sambar served on idlis
Sambar served on idlis | Source

What is "Sambar"?

South Indians mostly use in their daily main food menu and breakfast menu a kind of liquid soup which is made up of Toor dal or Arhar dal (yellow split pigeon peas) adding tamarind juice, some pieces of vegetables and then, topped by spices. This recipe is known as "Sambar' and it is a very famous and most popular dish of South Indians all over the world. But It is not limited to them only and can be used by anybody all over the world as a soup in place of other customary soups like corn or tomato used by them. It is a must dish in their daily menu, especially, for the Tamilians. Telugu people may not be preparing it daily even though they also like it much. The Telugus have their own unique dishes in its place like "Pulusu or Kolambu" and "Charu or Rasam". I shall deal with these recipes later.

At present, we are mainly concerned with the recipe called "sambar' and how to prepare it in a very easy manner.

What is Special About Sambar Recipe?

In South India, people can not think of meals without sambar.

It is used for eating with rice by mixing it in the cooked rice for meals.

Then, sambar is used as a side dish for "Idli", "Dosa", "Vada", "Upma" which are all breakfast items. They either dip the pieces of these items in it or pour the sambar over those items and eat with a spoon.

It is famous all over the world as 'idli sambar'.

I tell you it is good as a soup or starter like other soups of cornflour and tomato; rich in calories.

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Benefits of Sambar Recipe

  • Sambar is very healthy and rich in proteins necessary for your growth.
  • It can be used as a soup just like we have corn soups or tomato soups.
  • This sambar recipe is very delicious and spicy.
  • It provides you with much satisfaction and enjoyment besides being healthy.
  • You can add this dish at all your parties to provide a change of taste.
  • Sip a cup of Sambar Recipe and stay energetic the whole day.

Ingredients Required for 1.25 liter Sambar Recipe

Ingredients
quantity
description
split yellow pigeon peas
125 grams
known as tuar/ arhar dal in Hindi and "kandi pappu" in Telugu
tamarind
25 grams
for making juice
vegetables
150 to 200 grams
3 to 4 varieties
sambar powder
3 teaspoons (heaped)
packets available in market
coriander powder
2 teaspoons (heaped)
- do -
turmeric powder
1 teaspoonful (flat)
- do -
salt
2 teaspoons (heaped)
iodized salt
water
i litre (total)
for cooking pigeon peas, making tamarind juice and everything
The above ingredients are for making 1.25 litre of sambar as output quantity includes cooked pigeon peas, vegetables and water.

Ingredients Images

tamarind
tamarind | Source
Split yellow pigeon grams known in Hindi as tuar /arhar dal
Split yellow pigeon grams known in Hindi as tuar /arhar dal | Source
turmeric powder and salt
turmeric powder and salt | Source
vegetables
vegetables | Source
sambar masala (reddish) and coriander powder
sambar masala (reddish) and coriander powder | Source
green coriander leaves for topping
green coriander leaves for topping | Source

Instructions for Preparing Sambar Recipe

  1. Before starting, soak the tamarind in a bowl of water by spreading it separately with each piece so that it soaks well. You may need 100 ml of water for soaking it.
  2. Next, take the split yellow pigeon peas (Arhar dal) in a big cooker and wash it twice and add fresh water approximately 200ml for cooking. Add some salt (say one spoon) and turmeric powder (1/2 spoon) out of above-mentioned quantities and place the lid of the cooker. Cook it for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the flame. If cooked on low flame allow it to have 3 whistles. If on high flame, you may cook it for up to 5 whistles because the whistles come very quickly at short intervals, due to high heat. If cooking is done in an oven, you will cook for maximum 15 minutes on medium flame. See that the peas completely cook to become a paste.
  3. In the meantime, you can keep the tamarind juice ready by thoroughly mixing and removing the waste pulp from it with your hands.
  4. Keep the vegetables also ready by cutting them into very tiny pieces. You can use 3 to 4 varieties of vegetables like potato, ladies finger, capsicum, carrot, beans, Coccinia, cauliflower, onions, etc. But see that total vegetables do not exceed 200 grams so that it remains as a soup and not becomes a curry.
  5. After the Arhar dal gets cooked, remove the lid and mix it thoroughly with a ladle and then, add the pieces of vegetables and the tamarind juice into it. Again mix it well.
  6. Now, add 3 spoonfuls of sambar powder, 2 spoonfuls of coriander powder and one spoonful of salt and 1/2 spoon turmeric powder and mix it well again with the ladle while pouring the remaining water out of the total one liter of water prescribed for it. Then, place the cooker lid tightly and cook it again for maximum 10 minutes or up to 2 whistles of the cooker.
  7. Now remove the cooker from flame and leave it for 2, 3 minutes to set.
  8. Remove the lid and pour the cooked sambar recipe into a big bowl with lid.
  9. Now you will top this recipe by adding the raw green coriander leaves that have been cut into pieces. Then top it with fried mustard seeds and cumin seeds adding asafoetida also by frying all these ingredients in one spoon of hot oil in a small frying pan.
  10. Now, your sambar soup recipe is ready for the serve.

Step-By-Step Sambar Recipe Preparation Images

removing the tamarind waste from juice
removing the tamarind waste from juice | Source
tamarind paste (juice) after removing of waste
tamarind paste (juice) after removing of waste | Source
Ladle for mixing the cooked dal and soup
Ladle for mixing the cooked dal and soup | Source
cooked dal being mixed
cooked dal being mixed | Source
sambar powder and coriander powder
sambar powder and coriander powder | Source
vegetable pieces, tamarind juice and the powders being mixed well with the ladle
vegetable pieces, tamarind juice and the powders being mixed well with the ladle | Source
sambar recipe before topping
sambar recipe before topping | Source
green cut leaves of coriander
green cut leaves of coriander | Source
sambar ready after topping with fried mustard/cumin seeds and coriander leaves
sambar ready after topping with fried mustard/cumin seeds and coriander leaves | Source

Sambar preparation and cook time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: 1.250 litre sambar for 7 to 8 serves of 150ml appr

Sambar Preparation (Part 1)

Sambar Preparation (Part 2)

Avoid These Vegetables in Sambar Recipe

Some people use brinjal (eggplant), radish, pumpkin, bottle gourd, tomato, and drumsticks while preparing sambar. But I do not recommend all these items. Drumsticks can't be eaten at all places as you require to spit them or remove them while eating. Other items do not taste well as they change the taste of sambar as well as making the soup thinner and watery. So, it is better to not to include such ingredients in sambar.

Some Important Tips for Preparing Sambar Recipe

  • First of all, you must know the difference between 'Sambar' and a similar recipe known in Southern India as 'Kolambu / Kulambu or Pulusu'. Most people get confused with both these dishes as the same recipe.
  • Sambar is prepared with a lesser quantity of tamarind whereas Kulambu is prepared with more quantity of tamarind. Further, the vegetables in 'Sambar' are cut into very tiny pieces whereas, vegetable pieces used in 'Kulambu' are much bigger.
  • Sambar is prepared with 'sambar powder' whereas Kulambu does not contain such powder.
  • In 'Kulambu' they add even jaggery or sugar also whereas 'sambar does not contain such things.
  • Now, while preparing sambar recipe, you should be careful that it does not spill out while cooking in the cooker. If the flame is high, whistles come very frequently and while whistling, the liquid often spills out. So you must be in proximity to control the flame and stop whistles, etc.
  • Care to be taken not to leave the cooker for more time on high flame doing some other work, otherwise, the recipe may get burnt at the bottom.
  • Lastly, you can adjust quantities of salt and spice powders a little bit according to your tastes. Even water can be adjusted to make it thin or thick.

Now, why are you waiting for? Get preparing the delicious "sambar recipe-cum-soup" immediately and enjoy it with your family and friends. Have a nice day.

Comments

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    • Venkatachari M profile imageAUTHOR

      Venkatachari M 

      3 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you, Phyllis. Nice to see you like this recipe and going to prepare it. Thanks for this nice comment. Have nice enjoyment.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Venkatachari, this Sambar soup sounds wonderful. I am bookmarking so I can come back to note these ingredients next time I go shopping. Thanks for sharing.

    • Venkatachari M profile imageAUTHOR

      Venkatachari M 

      3 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you, John Hansen, for your visit and nice comment.

    • Venkatachari M profile imageAUTHOR

      Venkatachari M 

      3 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thanks a lot techygran, for following me and visiting this hub and leaving such a nice comment. I am also following you and look forward to read some nice hubs of you.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Sambar looks and sounds delicious Venkat. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe in a well written hub.

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia 

      3 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      mm... this look delicious! I am pinning it so that I can get to it myself someday but also share it with others. I look forward to reading more of your interesting-looking articles. Voting you up!

    • Venkatachari M profile imageAUTHOR

      Venkatachari M 

      3 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you Anika, for your visit and so nice a comment. Just I took my meals with sambar and sat here to find your nice comment. We prepare it at weekend almost every week.

    • profile image

      Anika Diaries 

      3 years ago

      My love for sambar is eternal. Couldn't stop myself from reading this and the pictures reminds me of the wonderful homemade sambar.

      Loved the every detail you've mentioned about the recipe and it's purpose.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      3 years ago from TEXAS

      My pleasure to visit your hub! Thank you for the lovely compliment.

    • Venkatachari M profile imageAUTHOR

      Venkatachari M 

      3 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      I am glad to see you visit my hub and give such a nice comment, Nellieanna. I am proud of this occasion. Your hubs are so nice and beautiful that I can't appreciate in words.

      Thank you very much.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      3 years ago from TEXAS

      OH, my! You will surely become a food expert resource for me! Some of the ingredients in these recipes are less well known to me, but many are. I love the Indian food I've eaten and fully appreciate the health value of many of its seasonings and food categories. Some seasonings readily available here are the same or related to those available there, and many possibly differ only in 5h3i4 nqm3w.

      Just last evening, I made a red lentil soup, using ingredients I favor from several recipes.

      Thank you for these wonderful suggestions!

    • Venkatachari M profile imageAUTHOR

      Venkatachari M 

      4 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Many thanks for your comment. It is such a great delicious recipe, we can not forego it even on any single day.

    • Ahdilarum profile image

      Ahdilarum 

      4 years ago

      All tamil readers will be viewing this page with mouth watering. Nice explained with recipe. Liked this flavour.

    • Venkatachari M profile imageAUTHOR

      Venkatachari M 

      4 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thank you for going through it and commenting. Glad to see your excitement. Please try it with your friends and family and let me know the reactions.

    • Kathryn L Hill profile image

      Kathryn L Hill 

      4 years ago from LA

      This is the most exiting Hub I have read in a long time… Thank you so much for sharing the recipe with us westerners! I will be printing it up and putting it on my fridge. Can't wait to try it!

    • Venkatachari M profile imageAUTHOR

      Venkatachari M 

      4 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Hi, you, jai ananthu! Thanks for compliments. I am happy that you like it so much.

    • profile image

      jai ananthu 

      4 years ago

      Wow.....nice to see and also to eat.... So yummy.....thank u :-)

    • Venkatachari M profile imageAUTHOR

      Venkatachari M 

      4 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thanks for your comment. Sambar is good for many things. You can have it with Idli, Dosa or Masala Dosa, Vada and also with rice, etc. But mostly people prefer idli with sambar as they can consume as much of sambar as possible with idlis and their stomach fills up even with two idlis and a lot of sambar very cheaply.

    • profile image

      tpksarathy 

      4 years ago

      I love dosa with sambar

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