Sambhar (South Indian Lentil & vegetable Stew)

A deliciously spicy & tangy stew, Sambhar pairs very well with South Indian breakfast items like Onion-Tomato Uttapam/Savory Indian PancakesSteamed Idli/South Indian Rice Cake RecipePaper Dosa/South Indian Thin Crepe Recipe and taste yummy with steamed rice as well :).

Everyone in my family loves South Indian food and my mom makes it delicious. For North Indians like us sambhar means few veggies cooked along with toor dal & few Indian spices. But then when I moved to Bangalore after my marriage, I was shocked to see so so many varieties of Sambhar  ;). I also got an opportunity to enjoy all these varieties as my colleagues used to get in their tiffins. The recipe I am sharing is a typical “North Indian Version” ;), just kidding and I have learned this from my mom and is relished by everyone in my family. So let’s get started.


Cuisine: Indian, South Indian

Recipe Type: Main Course

Author: Rateka

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 20-25 mins

Serves: 6-8


  • Toor Dal/Yellow Pigeon Peas: 1/2 cup, rinsed and soaked for 30 mins
  • Garlic Cloves: 6-8, peeled & smashed
  • Onion: 1 small, finely sliced
  • Green Chili: 2-3, slit into 2
  • Drumsticks: 2 sticks, trimmed & cut into 2″ pieces
  • Carrots: 2 medium sized, quartered lengthwise & cut into 2″ pieces
  • Brinjal/Aubergine: 1 small, cut into medium-sized cubes
  • Tomatoes: 2 small, cut into medium-sized cubes
  • Curry Leaves: 10-12
  • Grated Coconut (Fresh/Frozen) : 2 tbsp
  • Sambhar Masala: 3-4 tbsp
  • Tamarind paste: 2 tbsp or as per taste
  • Black Mustard Seeds: 2 tsp
  • Dry Red Chili: 4-5
  • Heeng/Asafoetida: A generous pinch
  • Turmeric Powder: 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Cooking Oil: 5-6 tbsp


  • In a pressure cooker, add toor dal along with 3 cups of water. Add salt, turmeric powder and cook on high heat for 4-5 whistles and then cook on low flame for another 2-3 mins. Turn off the gas. Once pressure releases, mash it well with a ladle.
  • Take a deep bottomed pan, add oil over medium heat. Once hot add garlic, green chili and onions and saute until slightly caramelized for 7-8 mins.
  • Add drumsticks, carrots, brinjals, tomatoes and 3 cups of water and let it come to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, let the veggies simmer till they are tender. It will take about 15-20 mins.
  • Add cooked & mashed dal, sambhar powder, tamarind paste, coconut and little salt. Mix well and let it simmer for another 10-15 mins or till the desired consistency of sambhar and then turn off the gas.
  • Take a tadka pan, add oil, once hot add heeng, mustard seeds, dry red chili, curry leaves & let them splutter. Once done, pour this tadka over the sambhar and cover the pan for few minutes.
  • Serve delicious and piping hot sambhar with idli, dosa or even steamed rice :).


  • You can also add veggies like potato, okra, raddish.
  • If you like your sambhar little sweet along with tangy you can also add jaggery powder while adding toor dal and other masala’s.
  • I have used 777 sambhar masala powder.


16 thoughts on “Sambhar (South Indian Lentil & vegetable Stew)

  1. I have never made this but everyone’s always talking about how good it is. I think I will have to give your recipe a try to see what all the fuss is about. Your recipe seems quite delicious and straightforward. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

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