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5 from 4 votes

Vegetable Sambar Recipe

Sambar is a spicy, sweet South Indian curry of lentil and mixed vegetables, served with idli, dosa, vada or rice. Learn how to make sambar recipe.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 adults
Calories: 55kcal
Author: Hina Gujral


  • 1 Cup pigeon pea lentil (arhar dal)
  • 1 medium size ridge gourd/bottle gourd/brinjal
  • 2 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 drumstick, cleaned and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 1 tablespoon jaggery, roughly chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoon Sambar Powder ( see recipe )
  • 2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 3 - 4 Cups of water

Ingredients for tempering

  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  • 6 - 8 sambar onions or 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 4 cloves of garlic, fine chopped
  • 2 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil or cooking oil
  • 2 - 3 dry red chilies
  • A pinch of asafoetida (hing)


  • To prepare sambar, clean, wash and soak dal in water for 15 – 20 minutes.
  • While dal is soaked clean and chop the vegetables for the sambar.
  • Transfer dal to pressure cooker with chopped vegetable, tomato, turmeric powder, red chili powder, salt and 2 Cups of water.
  • Cook dal in in the pressure cooker for 2 – 3 whistles on medium to high flame. The dal should become soft and mushy. Turn off the heat and release the steam from the pressure cooker.
  • Open the lid of pressure cooker and add chopped drumstick. Stir well and once again pressure cook dal on medium to high flame till 1 whistle comes. Turn off the heat and let the steam release from the cooker on its own.
  • Remove the lid of pressure cooker and add the sambar powder, tamarind paste, jaggery. Stir to combine well if the consistency of sambar is thick, then add more water.
  • Transfer sambar to a saucepan and then simmer the sambar for 10-12 minutes on a low flame stirring regularly in between so that the dal does not stick to the bottom.
  • Meanwhile prepare tempering, in a small pan, heat ghee over medium heat. Add mustard seeds once they crackle add onion, garlic, red chilies, asafoetida and curry leaves.
  • Fry till the garlic turns a light brown and the onion turn translucent. Pour the whole tempering in the steaming hot sambar. Close with a lid so that the flavors infuse for about 5-6 minutes.
  • Serve Sambar warm with idli, dosa or rice.


  • There could be infinite combinations of vegetables in mixed vegetable Sambar along with Split Pigeon Pea/Toor/ Arhar Dal but always prefer using vegetables which are pulpy, soft, does not have an overpowering taste and takes almost equal time to cook as lentil-like ridge gourd, bottle gourd, brinjal and so on.
  • Adjust the consistency of sambar by increasing or reducing the quantity of water.


Serving: 100grams | Calories: 55kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.2g | Protein: 2.1g | Fat: 2.5g | Fiber: 1.6g