Authentic Sambar from Tamil Nadu

May 22, 2020

Contributed by Meenakshi Rajagopalan

Sambar is a popular South Indian lentil and vegetable stew made with tamarind and a unique spice blend called sambar powder. It is a staple in South Indian homes but loved all over India with myraid variations.


  1. Any one vegetableBrinjal/Capsicum/Onion /Radish/ Yellow Pumpkin/ Drumstick
  2. Arhar Dal 1 cup
  3. Haldi a pinch
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Tamarind soaked 2 parts
  6. Sambar Powder (preferably made at home)
  7. Oil

Ingredients for Tempering/Tadka

  1. Mustard seeds ½ tsp
  2. Red Chillies 1-2
  3. Hing a pinch
  4. Methi seeds ¼ tsp
  5. Kari Patta a few


  1. Use a single vegetable from the options mentioned above
  2. Fat cube them. Drumstick to be cut into tiny finger size
  3. Boil Arhar dal with just haldi. Mash it and keep aside.
  4. Soak tamarind or boil in hot water and take the pulp out till tamarind totally looks drained.
  5. In a kadai/pan take oil and splutter mustard seeds.
  6. Once the sputter sound settles add Red Chillies and Hing.
  7. Finally add 1/8 spoon of Methi seeds and Curry Leaves
  8. Now add the vegetable and saute for a bit
  9. Add sambar powder and saute in the same heat for 2 to 3 minutes..
  10. Once the aroma starts to come then add tamarind pulpy water.
  11. Add salt.
  12. Let it boil very well
  13. Once the raw smell of sambar powder and tamarind disappears add the boiled mashed dal.
  14. Allow it to boil for a while.
  15. A little Rice flour can be added if Sambar is too watery

An authentic sambar is ready to savour now!