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Sambar is practically the heart of the South Indian cuisine.  Merely the thought of it gets you drooling. It is essential companion of idlis, dosas, uttapams and even goes well with rice. Dosa-sambar is also liked by people who want to stay fit and eat tasty food at the same time.


Arhar dal (Toovar) – ½ cup
Bottle gourd (Lauki), cut in square pieces – ½ cup
Brinjals, cut in small pieces – ¼ cup
Onion – 1 big, finely chopped
Tomato – 1 big, finely chopped
Tamarind pulp (Imli) – 2-3 tbsps
Turmeric (Haldi) – ½ tsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 6-7
Dry coconut powder – 2 tbsps (can be omitted if you are dieting)
Sambar masala (any brand I personally prefer MDH or Everest brand, purists might want to make it at home) – 4-5 tbsps
Sugar – 1-2 tsp (optional)
Oil for cooking
Salt to taste


  • Wash and pressure cook the dal with turmeric, salt, chopped lauki and brinjal pieces with 3 cups of water. Pressure cook on low heat.
  • For tempering, heat oil in a pan.
  • Prepare the tempering by frying the mustard seeds and curry leaves until the mustard seeds crackle.
  • Add coconut powder, stir for a minute.
  • Add chopped onions till they turn pink.
  • Add tomatoes till they are cooked well.
  • Add tamarind paste.
  • Add sambar  masala powder and mix well.
  • Now add cooked dal in the pan and simmer it for 30 minutes.You can add water in between to maintain consistency .
  • Add sugar
  • Serve hot.

Serves/Makes: 4-5


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  1. Anjana Agrawal

    good recipe,
    wish the method of making sambhar masala was also described
    in detail

  2. ramani

    For an authentic sambar ,MTR /Aachi/Eastern sambar powder is best. Also the onions and tomatoes can be added in the pressure cooker itself as most households do in south India.So it is only the tempering after that.

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