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The Most Cherished South Indian Sambar Recipe: How To Make Sambar
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.
Kindly Rate this sambar recipe
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
split yellow pigeon peas
known as tuar/ arhar dal in Hindi and "kandi pappu" in Telugu
for making juice
150 to 200 grams
3 to 4 varieties
3 teaspoons (heaped)
packets available in market
2 teaspoons (heaped)
- do -
1 teaspoonful (flat)
- do -
2 teaspoons (heaped)
i litre (total)
for cooking pigeon peas, making tamarind juice and everything
Instructions for Preparing Sambar Recipe
- 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.
- 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.
- In the meantime, you can keep the tamarind juice ready by thoroughly mixing and removing the waste pulp from it with your hands.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Now remove the cooker from flame and leave it for 2, 3 minutes to set.
- Remove the lid and pour the cooked sambar recipe into a big bowl with lid.
- 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.
- Now, your sambar soup recipe is ready for the serve.
Step-By-Step Sambar Recipe Preparation Images
Sambar preparation and cook time
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.