April 17, 2012


Sambar is very common side dish for rice in South India. Every home prepare sambar everyday for rice, idli, dosa etc.. It's a mixture of split pea and vegetables. Throughtout the south the sambar has been cooked in different way and the recipe varies widely region to region. I know to cook sambar in three different ways, one from Kerala which i got it from my mom, the second one a Tamil nadu style and the third one is easy & fast sambar cooked in pressure cooker. This recipe is from Tamilnadu. I will post the other ways of preparing sambar later. I have used brinjal in this recipe.

Servings:  6        
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Level: Moderate


250 gm 
Toor Dal                               
100 gm
Pearl Onion                          
10 nos
1 medium
10 gm
2 cloves
Green chillies                      
2 nos
A pinch
Coriander powder               
1 Tbsp
Sambar powder                   
½ Tbsp
Turmeric powder                 
¼ Tsp
Dried Red chilli                   
2 nos
Fenugreek seed                
1 Tsp
Mustard seeds                    
½ Tsp
Curry leaves                        
8- 10 nos
as req
Vegetable oil                      
2 Tbsp
Coriander leaves                
For garnishing

1)      Soak dal in normal water for about 15 mins. This is usually not necessary if you are going
to pressure cook it. Soaking dal will save your cooking time when you cook dal in pan.
2)      Soak tamarind in 1 cup of warm water for 10 mins. Do these two procedures before chopping
vegetables. So that when you are ready to turn heat on dal and tamarind paste would have soaked well.
3)      Start preparing by chopping brinjals. If you need large chunks you can cut it into two halves.
Otherwise chop them into four pieces lengthwise. You need to right away immerse the chopped
Brinjals in cold water in order to prevent it from oxidizing. If the chopped brinjals or potatoes
are exposed to air it turns the colour to brown due to oxidization effect.
4)      Peel the skin of pearl onion and keep aside. No need to chop them. We are going to add it wholly.
5)      Chop the tomato into lengthy pieces, crush the garlic and slit the green chillies.
6)      Now turn on the heat and place the pressure cooker
7)      Pour in 2 cups of water and add the soaked toor dal (Split pigeon peas). To it add asafoetida,
¼ Tsp turmeric powder,crushed garlic, green chillies and ½ Tsp Vegetable oil. Close the cooker.
Bring to full pressure, reduce heat and cook for 5 mins. Let it cool naturally before opening the lid.
8)      Meantime heat another pan and add oil.
9)      When oil is hot add the pearl onion, sauté  well.
10)   After a minute add the chopped brinjal.
11)   Stir fry them till the brinjal’s skin colour change to brown approximately 3-4 mins.At this stage
add the tomatoes. Now reduce the flame since we are going to to add the masalas.
12)   Add remaining turmeric powder, salt, coriander powder and sambar powder. Stir well.
13)   Now squeeze the tamarind and extract the water. Pour the tamarind water into the vegetable mixture.
14)   Add one more cup of water and cook for about 10 mins closing the lid.
15)   While the vegetables are cooking, open the lid of the cooker ( make sure pressure has been released fully)
and mix the dal mixture well with spatula or use any mashing tools and combine well.
16)   Add the dal mixture to the vegetable and mix well. The consistency of the sambar at this stage should be
little watery. If it is very thick add some more water.
17)   Cook for another 5 mins in medium flame.
18)   Turn off the heat and add coriander leaves. Transfer to a bowl
19)   For tadka place the tadka pan or any other normal pan on the heat.
20)   Heat ½ Tbsp oil. Add mustard seeds. When it splutters add a pinch of asafoetida, fenugreek seeds,
curry leaves and red chillies respectively.
21)   Pour this tadka on the sambar. Serve with steamed rice, idli or dosa.

  1. Adding oil to the dal before cooking will avoid the formation of excess froth.

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