Sambar Recipe for Idli, Dosa, Vada and Rice

Sambar is a South Indian soup prepared from Lentil and vegetables. We prepare it with a special spice blend – Sambar Masala. Lentil itself is rich in protein and the addition of vegetables to it makes it full of vitamins and minerals. Thus, it fulfills all the nutritions that we need. When we serve Sambar recipe with steamed rice, Dosa, Idli, and Vada it becomes a complete diet.

This Lentil and vegetables strew though has a South Indian origin. But now it a global recipe. With the popularity of Idli, Dosa, and Vada, Sambar also became global. Though Sambar is served as a side dish with these recipes. But my son loves it so much, that he consumes it alone too.


How to Make Sambar for Idli, Dosa, and Vada

Lentil (Dal):

In South India, people prepare Sambar from Arhar Dal. In Hindi, we call this split pigeon peas Toor Dal or Tuvar Dal. But many restaurants prepare it by mixing Toor Dal and Masoor Dal. This not only reduces the cost but is also good for your stomach. Arhar Dal causes gas, thus reducing its quantity eases digestion.

At home, I usually prepare Sambar mixing Toor Dal And Moong Dal. Moong Dal is very easy to digest. Thus I prefer Mixing Moong Dal instead of Masoor Dal. You can also do so. The proportion of mixing the lentils totally depends on your personal preference and taste.

Tip: If you are using mixed Dal for preparing your Sambar, then you can skip adding fenugreek seeds. I add it only when I prepare Sambar from Toor Dal. Fenugreek seeds help to digest Toor Dal easily.

Sambar is a very good source of protein, minerals, and vitamins. It fulfills the protein requirement of kids and toddlers. If you are looking for homemade baby food then nothing is better than Sambar recipe. Just blend the sambar in a mixer and it turns into ideal baby food.


Since a variety of vegetables are used to prepare a Sambar recipe. Thus your baby will get the taste and ideal nutrition. Here is the list of vegetables that you can use to prepare your sambar recipe.

  • Potato (आलू)
  • Onion (प्याज) or Shallots/Spring Onion (हरा प्याज़)
  • Tomato (टमाटर)
  • Carrot (गाजर)
  • Pumpkin (कद्दू)
  • Potato (आलू)
  • Radish (मूली)

Winter Vegetables for Sambar Recipe

  • Drumstick (सहजन)
  • French Beans (फ्रेंच बीन्स)

Summer Vegetables for Sambar Recipe

  • Okra or Ladyfinger (भिन्डी)
  • Eggplant or Brinjal (बैंगन)

The use of different vegetables makes your sambar delicious. You can choose vegetables according to your personal preference and availability. But do not cook these sambar vegetables for a long time. These vegetables should maintain their shape, and should not melt. If cooked too much, these vegetables melt and thicken your sambar. And it looks more like curry than sambar.

Sambar Masala:

It is sambar powder that determines its taste. Thus, while choosing the right sambar masala, you should pay very special attention. You can use your favorite brand of sambar powder to get a delicious sambar. Else you can also make it at your home. Although I use branded sambar masala, my mother prepares it at home. Sambar prepared by my mother has a uniquely delicious taste. When I asked her the secret, she gave all the credit to her homemade sambar masala.

Tadka (tempering) Sambar Recipe:

Tadka or tampering in the sambar recipe is quite different. While in any Daal recipe we tamper the Daal at the end. In sambar, we start cooking the veggies in the tampering mixture. Thus, the vegetables get nicely cooked. As well as this step induces nice aroma and flavor in them.

The basic ingredients in it include mustard seeds, curry leaves, and a little asafoetida or Hing. Since the main ingredient of the sambar recipe is Toor Dal, thus asafoetida helps in digesting it.

Here is the step by step Samber Recipe.

Sambar Recipe

Sambar recipe, also spelled Sambhar, is a lentil-based vegetable stew or soup with a variety of vegetables in it. Originating from Tamil Nadu, India it is slightly sour since we prepare it with tamarind broth. It's an ideal accompaniment to Idli, Dosa, Uttapam, Wada, and Rice.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: South Indian
Servings: 4 People
Calories: 139kcal
Author: Punam Paul


  • 1 cup split pigeon peas (अरहर / तूअर दाल)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder (हल्दी पाउडर)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt to taste (नमक स्वाद अनुसार)
  • 2 cups water (पानी) or as required

for Tamarind Juice

  • 1 tablespoon tamarind (इमली) soaked in warm water
  • 1/3 cup water (पानी)

For Cooking Vegetable

  • 2 teaspoon oil (तेल)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (सरसों)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (मेथी दाना)
  • 1 or 2 dry whole red chilies (सूखी साबुत लाल मिर्च)
  • 4-5 pieces curry leaves (करी पत्ते)
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (हींग)
  • 1 tablespoon sambar masala powder (सांभर मसाला पाउडर)


  • 1 piece brinjal (बैंगन) small in size (Optional)
  • 1 piece potato (आलू)
  • 1 piece onion (प्याज)
  • 1 piece tomato (टमाटर)
  • 1 piece drumstick (सहजन)


Preparation for Sambar Recipe

  • Wash and clean all the vegetables, that you are going to use in this recipe.
  • Then peel, and cut all the vegetables into small pieces. Chop the onion into medium-sized pieces.

Making Tamarind Juice

  • Take a tablespoon of tamarind and soak it in 1/3 cup of water for half an hour.
  • After 30 minutes squeeze the tamarind in the water, to extract the juice of tamarind. After this to extract the tamarind juice, strain it. Keep the tamarind juice and discard the extracted pulp on top of the strainer.

Cooking Dal for Sambar Recipe

  • Wash and clean the Toor Daal a couple of time in the water. Wash it in water until the water runs clear.
  • Then soak Toor Daal in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, transfer the lentil along with water in the pressure cooker. To it add 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder and salt. Cover the lid and pressure cook it for 3 whistles over medium-high flame, and switch off the flame.
  • Once the pressure gets released, open the cooker and mash the cooked dal lightly with a potato masher. We need a smooth dal, thus mashing the dal makes it very smooth.

Cooking Vegetables for Sambar Recipe

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a pan. When the oil starts smoking, add mustard seeds in it and let them splutter. Then add fenugreek seeds, 2-3 whole red chiles, one chopped green chili, 4 to 5 curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida.
  • Cook them for 20-30 seconds, then add chopped onions in it and cook the onions till it turns light pink. Then add chopped tomatoes in it cook till they turn soft.
  • Now we will add all the vegetables in it and cook till they get fried lightly. Then add salt to taste, remember we have also added salt to cook our daal. Thus, add salt accordingly.
  • Turn the flame to medium-low. Then add a cup of water in it, cover the lid and let it boil till the veggies are soft-cooked.

Making the Sambar Recipe

  • Now, add 2 tablespoons of sambar masala and tamarind juice in it. Then pour the pressure cooked daal in it. Let it boil over high flame for a minute.
  • Check for salt and consistency of sambar and adjust them accordingly. Then cover the lid again, and simmering the sambar over low flame for 2-3 minutes.
  • Your sambar is ready. Serve hot sambar with homemade Idli, Dosa or Vada.

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