Sambar Recipe

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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian, Kerala, South Indian
Author: Maria Jose Martin


  • 3/4 - 1 cup Toor dal
  • 2.5 - 3 cups Water
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 med - big Carrot (cubed)
  • 1 small -medium Potato (cubed & half cooked)
  • 2 Drumstick (cut lengthwise)
  • 2 medium Tomato (sliced)
  • 3-4 Okra (vendakka)
  • A small lemon size Tamarind (adjust the qty as per your taste)
  • 1.5 - 2 tbsp Sambar powder
  • 1/2 tsp Asafoetida (kayam)
  • 5 Small onion / Pearl onion (sliced finely)
  • 2 Red chilly
  • 1/4 tsp Mustard
  • Curry leaves
  • Salt
  • Oil


  • Pressure cook the dal with water & turmeric powder on high flame for 4 whistles. Keep it closed for 30 minutes or till the steam goes. Mash the cooked dal well using a wooden spoon. Add 3.5-4 cups of water to the mashed dal and blend it well. Add salt and all the veggies except the potato to this. When the veggies are half cooked add potato and the tamarind pulp. Cook till all the veggies are cooked.
  • Meanwhile heat oil in another pan and add the sambar powder and kayam. Fry it for a minute, make sure that it doesn't get burnt. Add some water to the powder and make a thick paste. Add this to the veggies and let it boil. Heat some more oil in the same pan and crackle the mustard seeds. Add sliced, small onions, red chillies and curry leaves. Fry it till the onion becomes golden brown. Add this to the sambar and mix well. Remove from fire.


You can adjust the qty of water to suit your requirements. I've used Brahmins brand sambar powder. Also you can use the veggies of your choice.
Tried this recipe? Let others know by...mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu



  • Hi Maria!

    I came across your blog very recently. I was craving to have some home cooked sambar with rice. And i m so glad that i followed your recipe! the sambar was just close to perfection i didn’t feel like i was thousands miles away from home while having it=) What I really love about your blog are the comments from different users about how they tweaked around the recipe a little bit. It kind of gave me the confidence that Indian cooking is not that daunting after all!!

    Again thanks so much!

    • Hi Rebecaa,

      Thank you so much :) Really happy to know that your Sambar turned out successful and it reminded you of home! Though Indian cooking can be a bit time consuming at times, with lil planning, you can manage it.Apart from the time consuming part, it’s not too daunting ;)


  • Mariaaaa. I have been looking far and wide for the last 6 years to find the perfect sambar recipe. And finally here it is. Oh my.. It Turned out beautifully. Thank you so much :)

  • This is exactly how I make my sambar too. I use Nirappara sambar powder and it makes the most delish sambar. But the brand was recently in the news – apparently their spices contain adulterants. Can’t trust any thing that comes from India these days sadly. Maria, please post a recipe for sambar powder. I feel that you have the taste to discern a good one from all those available online.

  • Hi Maria,
    Being basically from Gujarat and a malayali knew only to cook one thing that was “khichdi” and the simple “fish fry”. I had to get out of my shell and i tried searching for online kerala recipe’s, where i got in contact to your recipe methods. my first recipe that i cooked was vanpayar olthiyathu and then later your special thick sambhar recipe, i am just very much overwhelmed and thankful to you for sharing the recipe. Being in a foreign country and to eat something and sharing with someone which not only pleases our stomach but pleases our mind also is what cherishes me always.

    • Hi Sreejith,

      Thanks a lot for your wonderful feedback! I especially liked the part about the recipe “pleasing your mind” :)

      Really happy to know that you find the recipes useful. Hope you get to try more recipes from here, when time permits and you enjoy them as well.


  • Thank you Maria for this simple recipe ..its tasty also took less time to prepare. not only this I have tried many of your recipes and served during our friends get together..They are thinking am special on this and liked all those dishes..The secret of those compliments is yours recipes..Once again Thank you …..

    • Hi Vijay,

      Thanks a lot for your wonderful comment :)

      Great to know that you’ve tried many recipes from here and that your friends enjoyed them. Btw, the credit goes to the cook too :)


  • hai
    Here every time ..even though i know how to prepare but this will be an added benefit for me … only started planning to get married and she has asked me to help her in cooking… probably this website will be there everywhere in my mob and laptop ..

    but i don’t get disappointed every time i visit bcz you have everything here ..thank you so much

    • Hi Dini,

      I liked that you are taking initiative now itself to help your future wife :) I’m sure she is a lucky girl!

      Best wishes to both of you!

      I do hope you get to try recipes from here and like them too.. Happy cooking!


  • Hey Maria,

    Sambar turned out really well :) Your recipes are a savior to people who are away fro home. Thank you so much!

  • Hi Maria,
    The sambar turned out very well! I added all our favorite vegetables and it was delicious with naadan choru, pachadi and cabbage thoran :) Sometimes I feel I forget how to make sambar or other Kerala dishes, that’s when I do a search online for good recipes to refresh my memories. And, yours was one of those delicious sambar recipes. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Shalu,

      Thank you so much :) Great to know that you liked the sambar recipe. Now that you’ve mentioned sambar, pachadi n cabbage thoran, I’m craving for some :)

      Btw, thanks for letting me know about the Sambar picture, I’ll have a look at it and see..


  • Hi Maria,

    The Sambar looks really delicious! I found an exact copy of the photo you have pictured here also on “” I stumbled upon it while my search for “Kerala Sambar.” I was just wondering about its authenticity! Anyway, I am yet to try this recipe and will let you know my comments later.


  • Maria, thanks for sharing all your tried recipes. Your recipes are a good reference for me. Just would like to ask about adding jaggery in sambar. I love the combined taste of tamarind n jaggery in sambar. At exatly which step of cooking should jaggery be added?

  • Maria! I love this recipe. I’m a keralite by way of my father, but we never learned how to cook traditional keralite food. After my father passed away, I have been exploring my south indian roots through food. The first time I tried this recipe, I wowed friends and family who didn’t expect it to go that well. I’ve tried more of your recipes and you’ve never let me down. Thank you so much! Being able to discover my roots by way of something I love and to someone I love and miss very much has been a profound experience and every single time you make my heart happy. I am so grateful! Thank you so much! Big love x

    • Dear Apphia,

      I’m so touched by your comment dear, thanks a ton! I’m really happy that this site helps you to discover your roots through food.

      Thanks again dear for taking time to share your feedback here, appreciate it very much.


  • hi maria,

    I am a regular visitor of ur website (after my wife went home for delivery).I have tried a lot of recipes from ur webpage. I am so happy that all came well.Congrats and thank you so much for such a wonderful website. But today when I entered ur webpage for sambar recipe, I was a bit disappointed,u mentioned sambar powder in the ingredients. But you didn’t give the ingredients of a sambar powder. instead you mentioned some instant make sambar powder(now a days we cannot trust the instant make powders). Later I found the recipe from some other webpage. It came well. Kindly have a look at it if u find it is useful. i like almost all ur recipes because most of them are of kottayam style( I am from kottayam).



    • Hi Ranjith,

      Thank you so much for trying out the recipes from here and also for the comment.

      Sorry to hear that you were disappointed about the sambar recipe. We dont make sambar regularly at home, so I didnt bother to go all the way to mak the powder at home :)

      Wish you a wonderful new year!


    • Achayathioda sambar powder um sambhar undakan parayunnutha…nalla karyam ayi poyi…lol…Vella irachi curry o poth irachio undakkan Samatham avum.

  • hi maria,

    I am a regular visitor of ur website (after my wife went home for delivery).I have tried a lot of recipes from ur webpage. I am so happy that all came well.Congrats and thank you so much for such a wonderful website. But today when I entered ur webpage for sambar recipe, I was a bit disappointed,u mentioned sambar powder in the ingredients. But you didn’t give the ingredients of a sambar powder. instead you mentioned some instant make sambar powder(now a days we cannot trust the instant make powders). Later I found the recipe from some other webpage. It came well. Kindly have a look at it if u find it is useful. i like almost all ur recipes because most of them are of kottayam style( I am from kottayam).



  • Hi ,
    Love your recipes plus they look very delicious too.. keep going and good wishes.. i would like to know how you prepare Kootu which is made with channa dal and yam or banana.. have tasted it in sadhya.. like to know how they are made? Please.. awaiting your reply.

    • H Maggie,

      Nice to know that you like the recipes posted here. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I havent tried cooking kootu so far!

      Anyways, if I cook it sometime and if it comes out well, will post it here.


  • Hi Maria,

        I tried the sambar.. and for the first time in years i got the comment “this is sambar”.. :) thanks for your wonderful recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  • hi
    i am a grt fan of yr recipes…yu simply rock…thanks alot for all those wonderful dishes,,,esp chicken mappas,tomato chutney,dragon chicken,chemmen olathiyathu n prawns fry,,,now plannin to try ur aviyal n sambar recipe..i have one doubt if we add the same qty of water yu have mentioned in sambar recipe will it be too thick?waitin for yr reply

    • Hi Ambily,

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I’m thrilled to hear that you have tried many recipes from the site :)

      The sambar tends to thicken as it cools. So its better to add water to adjust the consistency when you heat it, before serving.


  • Hello! :) I made this smabhar today and lemme tell u… this is the first time my sanbhar actually came out like sambhar! lol :D Generally it comes out like sambar flavoured paruppu curry! :D :D I had a small doubt though….when I double this recipe, do I double all the ingredients, including sambhar powder and asafoetida ?! Please do let me know… thanks a bunch for all the loveley recipes! Ur a rockstar!!! :D

      •  Hello :)

        Thanks for the reply Maria :) I’m doing fine.. How about you ?! Are you back in Bahrain now ?

        There are only totally 10 malayalis where we live, so we have decided to have a small get-together and a potluck onasadhya :) I’m doing Sambhar and kaalan and I wanted to get it right before I make it for others.. hehe :D

        Sajna :)

  • Hello Maria, I just came across your blog randomly when I was searching for Sambar Recipes. Going to try making it tomorrow (My first attempt at sambar!) I’m cooking for 6, so should this quantity be enough? And if I want to add brinjal, when should it be done?
    Btw, your blog looks totally awesome, wish I had more time to cook :(

    • Hi Fida,

      This qty shuld be fine for 6. You can add brinjal along with other veggies. Hope you liked the sambar. Please try other recipes too when time permits.


      • It turned out fantastic, I also added roasted coconut. Also tried the avial :) I’m still trying to believe that I made it all on my own, same goes with my family! Thanx so much :)

        • Hi Fida,

          Its really a pleasure to know that this recipe worked well for you. I haven’t yet tried adding roasted coconut, it sounds interesting! Thank you very much for sharing your feedback here.


  • I tried out the sambhar and it came out well.
    Some modifications which i tried out was
    1)Shallow fried the ladies finger and then added to the cooked veggies.
    2)While sesoning added a lil of garlic flakes and Jeera.

    3)Heard from my mom that it would be good if we added some flakes of ginger for seasoning.

    • Hi Anu,

      Thanks for the comment :)

      Good to know that you liked the sambar & thanks for sharing your tips. Adding garlic & ginger to sambar is something new to me. Will try it sometime :)


    • Hi Neetha,

      First of all, I’m sorry for the delayed response. I’m currently on vacation and hence the delay :(

      Thanks for trying the recipes from here and it’s good to know that you like the recipes posted here. Also thanks for leaving the comment.

      Wish you & your family a very happy new year!


    • Hi Anjana,

      I usually dont use pressure cooker for cooking veggies. However you can use that method. I’ve seen many of my friends doing that.


    • Hi Shemi,

      The recipes using dal tends to thicken even after cooking. I guess that’s what happened.

      Next time, please adjust the thickness of the gravy accordingly.

      Thanks again for trying the recipe from here.


  • hi maria!!!
    i love sambar,but was never destined to taste a self made one :( now u made it posible..thnx a lot!!!!i just made it,its stil steaming ther .,its lunch time here and waiting for my hubby to have it i cant wait anymore the smell kills me..

    • Hi Shemi,

      Thank you so much dear :) Glad that you could make sambar finally and really happy to know that you liked it.

      Hope your husband also liked it :)


  • nalla sambhar ! but i usually add grated coconut too. infact i grind grated coconut with 1 to2 tsps of sambhar powder and add it.

    • Thanks LA :)

      I’ve heard about varutharacha sambar in which grated & fried coconut is added. It sounds nice, but I havent tried it yet. May be sometime soon :)


  • thanks , but i want to know what is kayam you added in sambar and want home made sambar powder recipie

    • Hi Gurmeet,

      So sorry for the delayed reply :(

      Kayam is Asafoetida. Its available in all Indian stores. Since I use ready made sambar powder, so I dont have any homemade sambar powder recipe :(


  • @Maria, s of course…i tried nadan mutton curry, beetroot mezhukupiratty,beef ularthiyadh,dal palak still continuing with ur other recipies..All which I have tried were super.My husband liked all.This gave me an encouragement to try new items..Thanks a lot to u dear Maria ..and to my dear friend Silpa who introduced this site to me.

  • Hi…Your recipies are simply SUPERB…I like the way you present each dish..Now each day I am eager to try your dishes one by one..
    Thanks a lot…..

      • Hi Maria

        I was too disappointed this morning cuz my sambhar did not turn out well n my husband made a comment” u can make it much better” and so i decided to check out sambar in ur site. The paalozhicha egg curry that i had referred from your site was simply awesome.My husband and me just loved it. So thanks a lot for this recipe. Will try soon and let you know. 


        • Hi Anu,

          Good to know that you liked the egg recipe, thanks for trying it. I do hope your sambar also comes out well. All the best and happy cooking :)


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