A South Indian staple that goes with rice, idli, dosa, uthappam etc. It is one of the main gravies that you would have with rice when sitting down to a sadhya (a banana leaf feast).

Quite simple to make, it’s a medley of vegetables with lentils packing a ton of flavor and nutrition.


3 tbsp Cooking oil

1 tsp Mustard seeds

10 Curry leaves

4 Dried Red chillies

1 tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp Coriander powder

1 tsp Red chilli powder

2 tbsp Sambhar powder (buy these in Indian supermarkets if you are outside India)

1 tbsp Ginger garlic paste

5-6 Sambhar onion/ shallots/ Pearl onion (sliced thin)

1 tbsp Tamarind paste

1 cup Toor dal (split skinless pigeon peas) washed

6 cups water

2-3 cups chopped vegetables- use a mix of few vegetables from the below list

– Carrots

– Radishes

– Drumsticks

– Okra

– Aubergine/ Brinjal/ Egg plant

– Unripe Plantain

– Zucchini

– Ash gourd

– Pumpkin or Butternut squash

– Potatoes

– Beans

Salt to taste


1. In a pressure cooker, heat the oil on medium heat and add mustard seeds, curry leaves, dry chillies and wait for them to splutter

2. Lower the heat and add in the 4 spice and masala powders and saute well

3. Add the ginger garlic paste and sambhar onion. Bring the heat back to medium and cook

4. Add one cup of water and the tamarind paste to this and boil

5. Add the washed Toor dal and remaining water. Let this boil for 5 minutes

6. Add the vegetables to this along with salt

7. Close the pressure cooker, place the pressure cooker weight and cook until 7 whistles

8. Let the steam release by itself and let stand for 5 minutes after.

Serve hot with rice or Idlis, dosas and the like.

3 thoughts on “Sambhar

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