Friday, September 4, 2009

How to Prepare Sambar

Sambar is a very popular dish and occupies an important place in South Indian Cuisine. A South Indian meal can never be complete without sambar. Learn how to make Sambar (South Indian-Tamil style) by following this easy Sambar recipe.

South Indian Meals

South Indian meals Sunday Brunch- Rice with Pumpkin sambar, pepper rasam,
Ladysfinger curry and keerai kootu

Simple Sambar Recipe (Tamil Style)
How to prepare sambar
Pumpkin Sambar Recipe

Prep time -under 15 mins
Cook time -under 30 mins
Serves -4

Ingredients needed

White Pumpkin/ash gourd-3/4 cup (cubed pieces)
Onion -1 (optional)
Toor Dal -1/3 cup (Soak it in warm water for 15 minutes)
Sambar powder - 2 tsp
Tamarind- small lemon sized ball 
Turmeric Powder -1/4 tsp 
Oil - 2 tsp 
Salt -1 tbsp (flat) rock salt or as required. 
(If using table salt use less.) 

For the seasoning

Mustard -1 tsp 
Hing- a generous pinch 
Red Chilli -1 
Fenugreek seeds-1 tsp 
Curry leaves -little 


Soak tamarind in 1 1/2 tumbler of hot water and extract the juice. Discard the pulp.


1. Pressure cook toor dal by adding turmeric powder for 3 whistles. Mash it well and keep it ready.

2. Heat oil in a pan/kadai and add the ingredients for seasoning .

3.Saute onion until it turns transparent, then add tomatoes, pumpkin pieces and saute for a few seconds. (Alternatively, you can cook pumpkin in a little water with salt separately)

4.Add tamarind extract, sambar powder and salt.

5. Keep it in medium flame and boil until the raw flavor of the tamarind  goes. By this time the pumpkin will also get cooked well. 

6. Add cooked toor dal  along with needed water and boil for 5-6 minutes. The consistency of this sambar should neither be thick nor thin, so adjust water accordingly.

7.Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice or idli, dosa.

Hot delicious pumpkin sambar is ready to be served with hot steaming rice. It can be had with idly and dosa also.
How to make sambar
Note -

I have added 1 tomato in order to reduce the use of tamarind. 

You can prepare this sambar without onions also.

Instead of pumpkin any vegetables like drumsticks, ladies finger, brinjal, beans, carrots, capsicum, pearl onions, potatoes can be used to prepare sambar in the same manner. You can prepare the same sambar with mixed veggies like carrot, beans and potato also. Refer my Mixed Vegetable Sambar Recipe.

Check out more Sambar Recipes from Padhuskitchen.

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  1. Hello..sambar looks yummy, you have a great blog, I love the health beauty tips, very informative.

  2. How much water would you use when you pressure cook the dal?

  3. Dear Mrs.Padma,

    Thanks a lot for providing ur valuable tips to prepare really helped me today....Am Hari, from Chennai, currently on deputation at Singapore for Project work...It so happens that in our apt one among the four of we coleagues take turn and do the cooking....Am an amateur at cooking as I have Happily had food cooked and given by my mother/Grandma as long as I was single and had food prepared by my wife after marriage. So when I had my turn today for cooking, I just happened to spot ur blog yes'day while searching for "How to Prepare Sambar" on google....and this morning I just followed what you had mentioned in your Method and I could make a really good sambar....I used Potato, Beans and Carrot instead of Pumpkin and the Sambar came out really well and waz appreciated by my colleagues and I liked it too. So A BIG THANK YOU TO U !! Have passed on ur blog sites link to my wife too and expect her to make more delicious food using your tips as shez already a gr8 cook !!
    Thanks once again !!

    Best Regards,

  4. hi padma, i started learning cooking now. This time going to prepare sambar. previous time i have tried aloo dhum with the help of ur blog. it came awsome. Thanx a lot :-)

  5. hi padhu,
    iam rohinimanikandan got married last only i know the way to kitchen struggled a lot for the first few days to cook. now becomingexpert my husband praised me for the improvement all those credits goes to padhus kitchen. every day i will ask my husband what does he want to have breakfast/lunch/dinner then i will get tips from padhus kitchen will cook accordingly. you know my husband till dont this secret. anyhow thanks my dear friend

  6. Hello..
    Your breakfast and lunch recipes were very much useful for me when my family was on vacation to native. I use to make phone calls to wife while cooking to clarity doubts. This time, she is surprised when my sms her the menu I prepared everyday!! Thanks a lot for your very nice blog..Kalyanaraman, Hyderabad

  7. Hi,
    Me and My wife enjoy ur blog tips and recipes... its quiet amazing how much you write about traditional foods ....v luv it ...Keep up the stunning work

  8. Hello,Mrs.PAdma,Possible to try readymade tamarind paste instead of tamarind extract?

  9. Karthik - You can use Tamarind extract. Mix it in water and then add.You can add 1 tsp flat.

  10. Adding a pinch of hing in the tadka gives sambar the extra flavour.

  11. How to Prepare Mullangi -onion sambar....

  12. what if Tamarind is soaked over night?


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