There are a few varieties of sambar that I make but this is the recipe that I use frequently because it's super easy and made with store-bought sambhar powder. You can add quite a few vegetables to this, either individually or as a mix and the flavor changes accordingly. I normally use drumsticks, little red radishes, carrots and/or bell peppers. This goes great with idlis, dosas,ven pongal or rice and is nice and thick too.

My paati used to add a bit of the paste she would've ground for the kootu to the sambhar and it would really enhance the flavour a whole lot.. I don't do this all the time but reserve it for special occasions so have marked this step optional.

I would like to send this as my 2nd entry to JFI-Toor Dhal hosted by Linda


Toor Dhal - 1/2 cup
Tamarind - small lime sized, soaked in warm water for atleast 15 mins.
Onions - 1 big, sliced and cut into 1 inch pieces OR Pearl onions - 2/3 cup
Tomato - 1 roma (small / medium), chopped
Green Chillies - 2 or 3, slit vertically
Green Bell Pepper - half, cut into 1 inch pieces
Red Radishes - about 10, sliced into thin rounds
Carrot - 1, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
Shakthi Sambhar powder - 3 to 4 tsp,
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - couple pinches
Salt -to taste
Coriander leaves - few stalks, chopped

Oil - 1 to 2 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad Dhal - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Curry Leaves - few

For Optional Finishing Touch - Grind:
Coconut - 1 tbsp
Cumin - 1/4 tsp
Green Chilli - 1

1) Pressure cook Toor Dhal with about a cup of water, turmeric and asofetida. I normally put the sliced radishes & carrots in a separate bowl in the same pressure cooker as well. Usually 3 whistles do the trick (1 on med-high and 2 on medium) for me and the dhal is very soft. Mash this well.

2) Heat oil in a deep pan and season with mustard seeds and urad dhal. Once they splutter, add curry leaves, asafoetida and the sliced onions & g. chillies. After 2 minutes add the sliced bell peppers (if using). Once they soften a bit, add the tomatoes and salt. Cook till they turn lightly mushy.

3) Now add chilli powder and sambhar powder and after just a minute or so, add the juice extracted from the soaked tamarind to this. Add the cooked radishes and let this boil for about 10 - 15 minutes.

4) Add the mashed toor dhal to this alongwith sufficient water and let it come to a boil. Then simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes more.

5) Finally add the ground paste (if using) and the 1 tsp of ghee, let boil for a few minutes more. Switch off the stove and garnish with coriander leaves. Tasty Sambhar is now ready.


  1. this is a nice one ..must be great for breakfast with idli ...reminds me of southindian mrg breakfast .....

  2. This is lovely... Never tried with red radish... I always do with white radish...

  3. Hi Laavanya, delicious sambhar would be perfect on this snowy winter morning! I love the finishing touch paste :) Thanks for another great contribution to JFI Toor Dal!

  4. Love sambar it looks delicious

  5. Nice....sambar is an all-round favourite in my home.

  6. slurrrrp :)
    looks so yummy! me to like to add radish in sambar.

  7. Looks yum!! What a perfect colour.. feel like i can smell the sambhar here.. nice photo too!!

  8. Hi First time in your blog

    nice to see yummy sambar !! looks good.

    Nice blog !!! :)

  9. Laavanya!! That sambhar looks so delicious!!

  10. Nothing like sambar for the ultimate comfort food. Give me some idlis too and I'm all set :)

  11. I just read the word drumstick and was sold on this dish :)

  12. Ooh! this almost sounds like the sambhar my husband makes(when he does make it- just so u know, I do cook 85% of the time;-)
    I never make it like this 'cos I'm too lazy to grind & then clean stuff:-)
    Your sambar looks so good, L. I am surprised to see that you have not posted a sambhar recipe before.

    I am glad u tried the vella dosa and liked it. Happy to hear that A ate some too.
    My index is something i have not worked on for the last 2 months! I keep meaning to update it to include the last 35+ recipes. Now it has gotten to the point where I don't know where to begin!:(

  13. That is one lovely looking Sambhar Laavanya! just love both the pics

    ~ Siri

  14. Thank you Deepa. I'm having a hard time commenting on your blog because of snap share. I have a similar issue on Bharathy's blog too.. mostly it's luck and several attempts before I can. Sorry. Loved all your karthigai goodies.

    Thank you Anu. I've always used only the red radish. Have also made a chutney with it.. which is surprisingly tasty - also posted on the blog. Do try it sometime. It tastes like onion chutney.

    Linda, oh yes it would be perfect. Am glad you like it.. and thanks for picking such a wonderful ingredient.

    Smn, Happy Cook, thank you.

    Jayashree, same here.. my daughter prefers the sambar to the idli.

    Thank you Richa.

    Seema, Thank you!

    Thank you Manasi. I'm having the same trouble commenting on your blog. Sorry about that. Your toor dhal rasam looks lovely.

    Vanamala, thanks for dropping by and your comments.

    Padmaja, thanks! :)

    Kaykat, that's true for me too.

    Cynthia, drumstick does impart a lovely flavor. Just that the frozen ones I get here don't really stand up to my expectations most of the time. My grandma's place had a big drumstick tree and we would get fresh ones regularly.. those were good times.

    TBC, oh you can make this too.. This has no grinding if you omit the paste that has to be added... I don't add it all the time either unless I'm grinding something else. I just use Shakthi sambar powder. Lucky you.. your husband cooks 15% of the time. My husband has cooked exactly twice in the 6 yrs of our marriage... :)
    Now that you mention it, quite a few of your recent recipes weren't on your drop down.. I know sometimes it gets out of hand. I havent' been updating my recipe index page either... :D

    Siri, thank you so much you sweet girl.

  15. i love only arachu-vida sambhar..the podi pottu smabhar is only a sorry second cousin..but i like the idea of grinding a wee bit at the has been sooo long i have made sambhar laav..should make it :)

  16. I too have a grinding part for finishing touch..but yours id very different..Think will be more spicy,hot!!
    Nice entry with our sambhar laavanya:))

  17. Sambhar looks yummy laavanya! just can't imagine a southindian not using toordal even for a day! :) Radish tastes best in sambhar!

  18. Who can resist this sambar? I've always used only brinjal-drumstick-raw mango combination in sambar. Got to try with red radish and bell peppers. Looks very very delicious Laavanya.

  19. Though I am not a south-indian still the number of times that it is made in my kitchen is amazing!! Will surely try it with radish next time.

  20. you sure know how to make the sambar queen linda happy, dontcha?

  21. Rajitha, arachuvitta sambhar is very flavorful but I've grown to like this just as much. :)

    Raks, you must let me in on your grinding part as well.

    Latha maami, that is so true.

    Kribha, bell peppers lend a nice flavor. It was not something I liked as a kid but I do now :)

    Sugarcraft, I know quite a few north indians who enjoy idli and sambhar :)

    Bee, right... this must've made linda one happy gal. :D

  22. Hi,
    Am blogging your sambar as a model recipe in the 1001 Sambar cookbook at

    /Thanks for the recipe


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