Vegetable sambar

When I was a kid, my mom would cook the Sambar on Fridays and it was always a huge hit back then. It was so simple and easy to make. She would just boil the lentils, add spices and chutneys, add some cooked rice and squeeze the extra water out of the lentils and then voila! Sambar is ready to be served.

Vegetable sambar is a healthy looking South Indian dish (appetizer or side dish) which is similar to dal, but made with a mixture of vegetables. This is not a soup, but more of a thick, stew-like dish. The vegetable sambar is a ideal recipe for vegetable lovers and can be prepared in so many ways.

Sambar is a popular spice and lentil based dish eaten all over South India, especially during the winter season. If you are not a South Indian, or you have not had sambar, it is time to take note. The sambar should be mildly spiced and very aromatic, with a good aroma. It should be a thick, cream gravy, and not too watery. The consistency should be thick, like that of a thick cream. Do not use clarified butter or oil for the sambar, as it will make it watery. The sambar should have a slightly chutney like taste. It is also important that the sambar is not too sour. Sambar is best served with rice and

Sambar is used in everything from breakfast to tiffin. It’s a must-have side dish for famous South Indian morning dishes like Idli, Dosa, Vada, and others. Sambar is offered with rice even at noon. There are several sambar recipes available, some of which I have previously published. The sambar with mixed veggies is the one I’m serving today.

Because of their pleasant flavor, I like to add tiny onions (kunjili, shallots, or sambar onions) to my sambar. It gives the sambar a unique flavor. You may add whatever veggies you want to this mixed vegetables sambar, such as carrots, drumsticks, okra, radish, potato, cucumber, chow chow, pumpkin, brinjal, and/or any other vegetables. I served the mixed veggie sambar and Idli with tomato and mint chutneys this time.

Time to prepare: 10 minutes (excluding soaking dal)

Time to cook: 40 minutes

Tamil Nadu cuisine

Medium spiciness

5 to 6 people


To make the sambar masala paste

    • 1 tsp. oil
    • 7 scallions
    • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
    • 1 teaspoon chana dal (Bengal gram)
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 4 dry chilies (long)
    • 1/4 teaspoon methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
    • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
    • 5 to 6 tbsp grated coconut

For dal that has been boiled

    • 1/2 cup toor dal (arhar dal/split pigeon peas)
    • 2 1/2 cups water
    • 1 tsp. oil

For the purpose of boiling vegetables

    • 3 cups of water
    • 1 – Drumstick
    • 3 brinjals
    • Carrot (one)
    • 1/2 cup okra
    • 2 large tomatoes
    • 3 tsp gur (jaggery)
    • 1/3 cup chopped coriander leaves
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • Medium lemon size dry tamarind

Tadka tadka tadka (Tempering)

  • 3 tbsp sesame oil (Nalla ennai)
  • a pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 dry chillies
  • 15 curry leaves
  • 15 kunjili (shallots)
  • 1/4 teaspoon methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)


    • Extract the juice from a dried tamarind that has been soaked in 1 cup of boiling water for approximately 20 minutes. Keep it on hand. Use as much tamarind water as you want.
    • Remove the veggies from the oven and chop them into the desired size. I cut the drumstick into 3-4 inch pieces after slicing the brinjal into medium-sized pieces.
    • 1 tomato, chopped coriander leaves Slice the remaining tomato. Make sure they’re prepared.
    • Small onions (kunjili or sambar onions) should be peeled and set aside whole. Separate the ones that are still connected.

dal in a pot of boiling water

    • Soak the dal for 30 minutes after washing it. In a pressure cooker, bring the dal, water, and 1 teaspoon of oil to a boil. Cook the dal until it is soft and mushy. Using a large round spoon or a dal masher, thoroughly mash it. Set aside for now. When cooking dal, don’t add salt.

For sambar masala, roasting and grinding are required.

    • 1 tsp oil + 1 tsp oil + 1 tsp oil + 1 tsp oil + 1 tsp oil + 1 (roasting can be done even without oil). Add all of the spices (except the shredded coconut) and cook over low heat for a few minutes, or until the spices become golden brown. The fragrance and flavor of spices may be detected during roasting. Turn off the stove. Place in a dish and set aside.
    • Shallots may be sautéed separately or in the same pan. Fry until the mixture is clear and light brown in color.
    • Allow to cool before combining all of the roasted ingredients in a blender or grinder with shallots and shredded coconut. To make a somewhat coarse paste, grind the ingredients together in a food processor.

Cooking veggies and tadka (tempering)

  • When a broad vessel is heated, add the oil. Toss in the mustard seeds. Add cumin seeds, methi seeds, dried chilies, curry leaves, shallots, and hing as it splutters. Cook until the shallots are light brown or translucent in color.
  • Cook for 2 minutes after adding all of the veggies, including the chopped tomato (1).
  • Add the turmeric powder now. To prevent burning, keep the flame low at this point. Immediately pour in one cup of tamarind water (tamarind extract) and two cups of water. Close the cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Add the ground paste and one cup of water after the veggies are cooked and the rawness of the tamarind has gone away. Mix thoroughly and season with salt (check the seasoning). Allow for 5 minutes of cooking time.
  • When the paste and veggies are well combined, add the remaining sliced tomato and stir to combine. Allow it to boil for approximately 5 minutes after it begins to boil.
  • Combine the dal, 1/2 cup water, gur (jaggery), and coriander leaves in a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly. Boil for approximately 3 minutes, then reduce to a low heat and cook for about 10 minutes with the lid covered. If it gets too thick, add a bit more water until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • The fragrance of the sambar may be detected after it has been cooked. To keep the sambar from sticking to the bottom of the pot, stir it periodically. The sambar should not be too thick or too thin in consistency.
  • With a sprinkle of ghee on top, serve sambar with idli, rice, or dosa.


  • Any veggies, even raw mango, may be added. You’ll need to reduce the sourness if you’re using raw mango since tamarind is also present.
  • I used medium-hot dried chilies in this recipe. Taste and adjust the amount as needed.
  • You may use 1 1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste (concentrated) and 1 cup additional water instead of dried tamarind, or adjust to taste.
  • Sesame oil, also known as Gingelly oil or Nalla Ennai in Tamil, ghee, vegetable, or sunflower oil may be used to temper. Sesame oil, which is often used in Chinese cuisine, should not be utilized.
  • When sambar cools down, it thickens. When warming, just add a little water to get the desired consistency.


Just a little bite of sautéed vegetables, seasoned with gram flour, coconut and tamarind, that’s all you need for a nutritious and delicious vegetable sambar.. Read more about sambar recipe hebbar’s kitchen and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is vegetable sambar healthy?

Vegetable sambar is a healthy dish.

What are the food components of sambar?

The food components of sambar are lentils, vegetables, and spices.

Does eating sambar increase weight?

No, it does not.

Una is a food website blogger motivated by her love of cooking and her passion for exploring the connection between food and culture. With an enthusiasm for creating recipes that are simple, seasonal, and international, she has been able to connect with people around the world through her website. Una's recipes are inspired by her travels across Mexico, Portugal, India, Thailand, Australia and China. In each of these countries she has experienced local dishes while learning about the culture as well as gaining insight into how food can be used as a bridge between different cultures. Her recipes are often creative combinations of traditional ingredients from various different cuisines blended together to create something new.