Spice Up Your Taste Buds with This Authentic Sambar Recipe

Hello there foodies! Are you a fan of South Indian cuisine? If yes, then you must have heard of the famous and delicious sambar. This traditional lentil and vegetable stew is an inseparable part of any South Indian meal, and its tangy and spicy taste can leave your taste buds dancing. If you are craving some delicious and authentic sambar, then you have come to the right place. In this blog post, we are going to share with you an easy and foolproof recipe to make sambar at home.

Spice Up Your Taste Buds with This Authentic Sambar Recipe

The ingredients for sambar may vary from region to region and even households, but the basic recipe remains the same. The sambar is made with a variety of vegetables, lentils, tamarind, and a blend of spices that give it a unique and delectable taste. Whether you are a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, sambar is a dish that appeals to everyone and can be enjoyed with steamed rice or other South Indian delicacies like dosa and idli. So, let’s get started with the recipe and add some spice to your taste buds!

What is Sambar?

Sambar is a popular South Indian dish that is enjoyed all over India and internationally. It is a wholesome and nutritious soup or stew made with lentils and vegetables, infused with a tantalizing blend of spices that tantalize the taste buds. Sambar is a staple in most households, and it is a preferred meal for lunch or dinner.

The Origins and ingredients of Sambar

Sambar has its origins in Tamil Nadu, a state in South India, and is popular in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala. It is believed that sambar was introduced by the Maratha ruler Shivaji in the 16th century. However, there are many theories surrounding the origin of Sambar.

The core ingredients of Sambar include lentils, tamarind, vegetables, and spices. The lentils used in Sambar are usually toor dal or pigeon pea, which creates the base for the soup. Tamarind is used to add tanginess to the dish, while the vegetables used may vary depending on the recipe, and could include anything from onions, tomatoes, carrot, radish, eggplant, drumsticks, pumpkin, or bottle gourd. The spice mix is made using coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, dried chili, turmeric, and asafoetida.

The Different Varieties of Sambar

Sambar comes in different variations, and each of these variations is unique in taste and flavor. Some popular varieties of Sambar include:

  • Sambar – the original and most prevalent form of Sambar.
  • Udupi Sambar – from the state of Karnataka, made with coconut.
  • Kerala Sambar – from the state of Kerala, made with coconut and roasted spices.
  • Milagu Sambar – from Tamil Nadu, made with black pepper and no vegetables.
  • Puli Sambar – a tangy version of Sambar made with tamarind instead of tomatoes.
  • Arachuvitta Sambar – a Sambar made with freshly ground spices.

Health Benefits of Sambar

Sambar is not just delicious but also hugely nutritious. Its high content of vegetables, lentils makes it a source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The rich fiber content in Sambar helps in digestion and regularizes bowel movement. The lentils are a good source of protein and provide amino acids which are essential for a healthy body.

The spices used in the Sambar have their medicinal properties: Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, Asafoetida prevents bloating and is good for digestion, and cumin seeds are a good source of iron. Tamarind is a good source of vitamins and minerals, which are required for the proper functioning of the body.

In conclusion, Sambar is a delicious and healthy recipe to add to your diet. You can experiment with different variations of Sambar to find your favorite flavor and enjoy it with rice, dosa, or idli.

How to Make Delicious Sambar at Home

Sambar is a South Indian delicacy that is loved and cherished by many. It is a lentil-based vegetable stew that is both flavorful and nutritious. Here’s a guide on how to make the best sambar right at your home!

Choosing the Right Vegetables

One of the most important steps in making sambar is selecting the right vegetables. A wide variety of vegetables can be used in the preparation of sambar. Some of the commonly used vegetables are onion, tomato, okra, pumpkin, carrot, drumstick, brinjal, and potato. It is essential to choose fresh, ripe, and seasonal vegetables for your sambar. Make sure the vegetables you choose are firm, vibrant in color, and free from blemishes.

Different vegetables can add different flavors to your sambar. For instance, drumsticks give a unique flavor and aroma, while pumpkin adds sweetness. One can also use a variety of vegetables to enhance the nutritional value of the dish.

The Secret to Perfectly Cooked Lentils

Lentils form the base of the sambar and need to be cooked perfectly to achieve the right consistency and texture. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cook lentils for sambar:

– Rinse the lentils thoroughly in water.
– Soak lentils in water for 30 minutes.
– Drain the water and add the soaked lentils in a pressure cooker or a pot with enough water to cover the lentils entirely.
– Add a pinch of turmeric and salt to the pot.
– Cook until the lentils are soft and mushy.

Make sure to not overcook the lentils, as it can result in a burnt flavor or a sticky texture. If you prefer a less thick consistency, add some water and cook it further.

Mixing the Spices and Tamarind

The mixture of spices and tamarind paste is what makes sambar truly unique in taste and flavor. Here are the steps to mix the spices and tamarind:

– Take a small bowl, add tamarind paste and enough water to make a thick liquid.
– Mix the tamarind paste well and keep it aside.
– In a pan, add oil and heat it over medium flame.
– Add mustard seeds and let them pop.
– Add curry leaves, dried red chili, and asafoetida, and cook for 15-20 seconds.
– Add chopped onions, turmeric, and salt, and cook for a minute.
– Add chopped tomatoes and cook until they are soft and mushy.
– Add the mixed tamarind paste and cook for 2-3 minutes.
– Add sambar powder, which is a mixture of various spices, and mix well.

Make sure each ingredient in the mixture of spices is added at the right time, and they are not overcooked or undercooked.

In conclusion, making delicious sambar is an art that takes practice. With the right ingredients, spices, and cooking techniques, one can enjoy this flavorful dish in their own home. Give this recipe a try and impress your family and friends with your culinary skills!

10 Amazing Sambar Recipes from Different Regions of India

If you’re a fan of Indian cuisine, you’re most likely familiar with Sambar. Sambar is a delicious lentil soup dish that originated in the southern part of India and has now become a favorite all over the country. This dish is not only nutritious, but it’s also very flavorful and is made with a variety of vegetables and spices. Here are ten amazing sambar recipes from different regions of India that you should try.

Kerala Style Sambar

Kerala style sambar is a spicy and tangy variant of sambar from Kerala that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. To make Kerala style sambar, you will need lentils, tamarind water, vegetables such as eggplant, drumsticks, and tomatoes, and a unique blend of spices. The spices used in this variant of sambar include fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and mustard seeds, which give Kerala style sambar its distinct flavor.

Udupi Sambar

Udupi sambar is a famous variant of sambar from Karnataka, which is known for its delicious taste that is obtained from unique vegetables and spices. This recipe uses vegetables such as pumpkin, ash gourd, and shallots. The spices used include coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, and red chilies, which give Udupi sambar its distinct flavor.

Tamil Nadu Style Sambar

Tamil Nadu style sambar is a classic version of sambar that uses lentils and a variety of vegetables such as drumstick, pumpkin, and brinjal. The characterizing feature of Tamil Nadu style sambar is its use of freshly ground spice powder, consisting of coriander, cumin, urad dal, toor dal, fenugreek, red chilies, and black pepper. The addition of a generous amount of drumsticks not only makes it more nutritious but also elevates the taste profile of the sambar.

Andhra Pradesh Sambar

Andhra style sambar is not as thick as the traditional Tamil Nadu-style sambar and has a more soupy consistency. The sambar is spiced with a variety of vegetables such as bottle gourd, shallots, and tomatoes, with a freshly ground spice mix of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, urad dal, and black pepper powder. It’s the use of curry leaves and tamarind that elevates the flavor and tartness of the sambar, making it irresistible.

Gujarati Sambar

Gujarati-style sambar is a lighter, sweet-tasting sambar that originated in the western part of India and uses fewer vegetables than the Southern counterparts. It uses a masala made of ginger, garlic, and coconut, along with yellow lentils, ghee, and a variety of vegetables. The sweetness is obtained by adding jaggery, which helps balance the flavors and aroma of the spices.

Punjabi Sambar

Punjabi sambar is a variant of the dish that is native to the northern region of India. This recipe is made with yellow lentils, tomatoes, and a variety of vegetables. The secret ingredient that elevates the taste is the use of garam masala, a blend of several spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and bay leaves, which gives the sambar its characteristic aroma and taste.

Maharashtrian Sambar

Maharashtrian-style sambar is not as popular as its Southern counterparts, but it’s equally delicious and nutritious. It is made with tur dal, mixed vegetables, and a blend of spices such as cumin, coriander, and turmeric, which also imparts a vibrant yellow color. The key ingredient that sets it apart from the traditional sambar is the addition of goda masala, a spice blend native to the west coast of India. It gives the sambar its unique sweetness and smoky flavor.

Bengali Sambar

Bengali-style sambar is a milder version of the dish that uses fewer spices than its southern counterparts. It is made with a mixture of yellow and red lentils, vegetables like carrots, beans, and pumpkins, and flavored with the Bengali five-spice mix; cumin, fenugreek seed, mustard seed, aniseed, and nigella seed. The addition of coconut milk makes the sambar richer and creamier with a subtle sweetness.

Rajasthani Sambar

Rajasthani-style sambar is not as widely known but has been gaining popularity over the years. It’s made with a blend of lentils, vegetables like drumsticks, and spices such as cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and red chilies. The star ingredient of the sambar is ghee, which gives it a rich and buttery taste.

Goan Sambar

Goan-style sambar is a unique variation of the dish that is famous for its slightly sour taste. It uses a blend of lentils, vegetables like pumpkin or okra, and a distinct spice called kokum, which gives the sambar a tangy twist. The addition of freshly grated coconut gives it a rich and creamy texture.

In conclusion, Sambar is a versatile and nutritious dish that has various variations across India. These ten sambar recipes are just a few examples of the different ways it can be made. With its combination of lentils, vegetables, and spices, Sambar is not only a tasty meal but also a healthy one. Give these recipes a try and experience the different flavors of India.

Tips and Tricks to Upgrade Your Sambar Game

If you want to elevate your Sambar game and impress your family and friends, there are a few tips and tricks that you can use to make your Sambar stand out. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced cook, these techniques are sure to take your Sambar to the next level.

Adding Coconut Milk for a Creamy Texture

One of the best ways to add a creamy, rich taste and texture to your Sambar is by adding coconut milk. This secret ingredient not only enhances the overall flavor of the dish, but it also blends perfectly with all the different spices that go into the Sambar.

To add coconut milk to your Sambar, simply add a cup or two of coconut milk towards the end of the cooking process. You can also add some freshly grated coconut to the Sambar while cooking to give it an even more pronounced coconut flavor. Make sure to stir the Sambar well after adding the coconut milk to ensure that it is evenly distributed throughout the dish.

The Importance of Tempering

Tempering is a crucial step that gives a distinct flavor and aroma to the Sambar. Tempering is the process of heating oil or ghee and adding spices and herbs to it before adding it to the Sambar. The spices in the tempering release their flavors and aromas, which then get infused into the Sambar, giving it a unique and delicious taste.

To temper your Sambar, heat some oil or ghee in a pan. Once hot, add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Then add cumin seeds, red chili, curry leaves, and hing. Once the spices are fragrant, pour the mixture into the Sambar and mix well.

Garnish and Serve

The final touch to a great Sambar is the garnish. A well-decorated Sambar not only looks appetizing, but it also adds an extra layer of flavor and texture to the dish. There are several garnishing options to choose from, depending on your taste preferences.

You can garnish your Sambar with chopped cilantro, grated coconut, fried onions, or even roasted cashews. Additionally, you can also add a dollop of ghee or clarified butter to your Sambar for added depth of flavor.

Serve your Sambar hot with some steamed rice or idlis, and enjoy!

Thanks for Joining Our Sambar Adventure!

We hope this recipe has brought some new excitement to your taste buds and inspired you to explore more traditional dishes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and flavors to make your own unique version of the dish.

Remember, cooking is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, so don’t stress if your dish doesn’t turn out perfect the first time. Keep trying and practicing, and you’re sure to impress your family and friends with your culinary skills soon enough.

We appreciate you taking the time to read our article and hope to see you back for more recipes and cooking tips in the future. Keep an eye out for our next adventure in the kitchen. Until then, happy cooking!


Q: Can I make this recipe with different vegetables?

A: Absolutely! One of the beauties of sambar is its versatility, so feel free to substitute or add in any vegetables you prefer.

Q: Can I use a different type of lentil?

A: Yes, you can use other types of lentils like toor or chana dal instead of the split yellow lentils called for in the recipe. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Q: Can I make this dish without tamarind paste?

A: Tamarind paste is a key ingredient in sambar, but if you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute it with lemon juice or even a bit of vinegar.

Q: Is sambar spicy?

A: It can be, but the level of spiciness really depends on your personal taste and the amount of spices you add to the dish.

Q: Can I make sambar in a slow cooker?

A: Yes, you can adapt this recipe for a slow cooker. Just follow the same steps, but increase the cooking time and adjust the liquid levels as needed.

Q: Can I freeze sambar?

A: Yes, you can freeze sambar in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Just be sure to reheat it slowly on the stove or in the microwave, adding extra liquid as needed.

Q: Is sambar vegetarian?

A: Yes, sambar is traditionally a vegetarian dish made with lentils, vegetables, and spices.

Q: Can I make this recipe without a pressure cooker?

A: Absolutely, you can make sambar without a pressure cooker. Just simmer the lentils, vegetables, and spices in a large pot on the stove for 45 minutes to an hour instead.

Q: Can I use canned lentils for this recipe?

A: We recommend using dried lentils for the best texture and flavor in this recipe, but you can use canned lentils in a pinch. Just be sure to drain and rinse them well before adding them to the dish.

Q: What is the best type of rice to serve with sambar?

A: Sambar pairs well with many types of rice, but some popular options include basmati, jasmine, or even brown rice for a healthier twist.

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About the Author: David Dunlap

Worked in restaurants for years before turning to food writing and has won multiple awards for the work, including more than a dozen awards.

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