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Sambar Recipe

Sambar is a very traditional South Indian dish with a unique flavor. It can be thick or thin but always with rice or bread. Unfortunately, it calls for several “exotic” ingredients. The sambar powder, tamarind, and toor dal are required, but the rest is flexible. The choice of vegetables is up to you, too. Some people add melon, for example. One particularly noteworthy vegetable that is frequently added is called “drumsticks”. Sambar with drumsticks is very very very delicious, but drumsticks are difficult and messy to eat. Keep in mind that there is no one authentic sambar recipe. Every family has their own version. Feel free to experiment.

  • 1 cup dried toor dal (a kind of split pea)
  • 2 qts water
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 tbs. oil
  • 1 tsp. whole mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds (or ground cumin)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 tsp tamarind concentrate
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbs. sambar powder (I like MTR)
  1. Cook the toor dal in the water until fully cooked and a little mushy. Do not soak the dal first.
  2. Chop the carrots, onion, and green beans.
  3. When the dal is done, heat the oil in a large pot and fry the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and whole cumin (add ground cumin later instead) until the seeds sputter.
  4. Add the cooked dal.
  5. Add the vegetables and the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Cook until the vegetables are fully cooked.

Serve over rice or with naan.


Indian Recipes


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