One Pot Sambar Recipe|Tamil Sambar| Tamilnadu Style Sambar

Tamil Nadu Style Sambar is a South Indian lentil and mixed vegetable stew, a gluten-free, very comforting and heavenly tasting sambar recipe. This traditional sambar is a delicious combination of toor dal, vegetables, herbs and spices. The spices are freshly roasted and then ground with fresh coconut & curry leaves. Curry leaves are the secret ingredient in this recipe. They provide awesome flavor and taste to sambar. This classic dish is healthy, protein packed and keeps you full longer. Serve it as a side with Idly, Dosa, Steamed rice, Vada, VenPongal. Instant pot is the best option to make this sambar effortlessly.

This traditional dish is believed to provide complete nutrition to the body, hence it is a staple food in most South Indian households. This is what binds a perfectly made soft idlis and crispy dosa. We, South Indians eat lentils daily as they are the primary source of protein. Sambar is also the popular in many tiffin centers and restaurants as side dish. It is often served as a combo – Idly sambar, vada sambar, dosa sambar, pongal sambar, upma sambar..

The veggies I used are carrots, radish, french beans, drumsticks, tomato, bottle gourd and shallots. Pearl onions or shallots adds extra flavor to the sambar.

Here are other veggies you can put in sambar:

  • white or orange pumpkin
  • sweet potato
  • potato
  • peas
  • okra
  • eggplant
  • yellow cucumber
  • colocasia (arbi)  

If you’ve tried this Sambar recipe or any other recipe on Siri’s Food Lab, then don’t forget to rate, like and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

How to make Tamil Sambar

PREP TIME: 15 MINS  COOK TIME: 25 MINS  TOTAL TIME: 40 MINS  COURSE: SAMBAR/PULUSU CUISINE: SOUTH INDIAN SERVINGS : 4-5

Ingredients (US cup = 240 ml)

  • toor dal – 1/2 cup
  • water – 1 & 1/2 cups to cook dal
  • tamarind pulp – 1 & /2 tsp
  • salt – 2 tsp
  • turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Vegetables
  • carrots – 1/4 cup
  • beans – 1/4 cup
  • drumsticks – 10-12
  • tomato – 1/2
  • bottle gourd – 1/4 cup
  • radish – 1/4 cup
  • shallots or pearl onions – 1/2 cup
  • curry leaves – 1 tbsp
Tempering (Tadkha)
  • oil or ghee – 2 tbsp
  • mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • cumin – 1/2 tsp
  • methi (fenugreek) seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • hing
  • curry leaves- few
  • red chillies- 2
For Sambar Powder
  • red chillies – 5
  • byadagi chillies (less spicy) – 2
  • bengal gram (chana dal) – 1 & 1/2 tsp
  • coriander seeds – 2tbsp
  • cumin seeds(jeera) -1/4 tsp
  • hing – 1/4 tsp
  • fenugreek seeds (methi seeds) – 1/4 tsp
  • curry leaves – 3 tbsp
  • fresh or dry coconut – 1/4 cup
  • oil – 2 tsp

Instructions

Prep:
  • Wash toor dal 2-3 times until water runs clear. Add 1.5 cups water and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles. If using Instant Pot, press the pressure cook button and set the time for 9-10 mins.
  • Chop all the veggies and keep aside.
Sambar Powder
  • While dal is cooking, make the sambar powder.
  • Heat a pan with 2 tsp oil, then add all the spices except curry leaves and coconut.
  • When the spices are fried half way, add curry leaves to the same pan and and roast them until little crunchy and dals turn golden & aromatic.
  • Now add coconut and roast a few seconds or until golden. Turn off the flame.
  • Cool the spices and grind them into a smooth paste by adding little water.
how to make sambar
  • When the pressure releases, mash the dal with a muddler or masher.
  • In the same cooker, add all the veggies, turmeric, salt, tamarind pulp, ground sambar masala paste and 3 cups water. Close the lid again and cook for 1 whistle or cook till pressure builds, then turn the flame low and cook for 5 mins.
  • When the pressure releases, mix everything well.
  • Tempering : Heat 2 tbsp oil or ghee on med low flame, when the oil is hot, add 1/2 tsp each mustard seeds & jeera, 1/ 4 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi), 1/8 tsp hing (asafetida), few curry leaves and 2 red chillies. When the dal turns golden and mustard seeds crackle, turn off the flame.
  • Add this tempering (tadkha) to the sambar and garnish with cilantro.
  • Serve with rice, dosa, idly, vada, pongal.

Tips

  1. Instant pot can be used for this recipe.
  2. Meal prep tip : Sambar masala can be made in doubles or thirds, store it in an airtight bottle or container and refrigerate. Use when needed. You may omit adding coconut when making in bulk to prevent rancidness. Add coconut when making sambar.
  3. No need to cook dal and veggies in separate bowls.
  4. Adding curry leaves to the sambar masala and sambar gives very nice flavor.
  5. Don’t skip adding hing and methi seeds.
  6. Use veggies of your choice.
  7. You can adjust the spices to your spice level. Add little red chilly powder if needed.
  8. Cool completely and refrigerate immediately. Good for 4-5 days. Bring it to boil & make fresh tempering if needed before serving.

Step by step photo instructions

Wash 1/2 cup toor dal 2-3 times until water runs clear. Add 1.5 cups water and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles.

Heat a pan with 2 tsp oil, then add 1 & 1/2 tsp chana dal, 2 tbsp coriander seeds, 1/4 tsp jeera, 3-5 red chillies, 2 byadagi chillies, 1/4 tsp methi seeds, and 1/4 tsp hing/asafetida. Roast all the spices until half way on med low flame.

When the spices are fried half way, add 3 tbsp curry leaves to the same pan and and roast them until little crunchy and dals turn golden & aromatic.

Now add 1/4 cup fresh or dry coconut and roast a few seconds or until golden. Turn off the flame.

Cool the spices and grind them into a smooth paste by adding little water.

When the pressure releases, mash the dal with a muddler or masher.

In the same cooker, add all the veggies, turmeric, salt, tamarind pulp, ground sambar masala paste and 3 cups water. Close the lid again and cook for 1 whistle or cook till pressure builds, then turn the flame low and cook for 5 mins.

When the pressure releases, mix everything well.

Heat 2 tbsp oil or ghee on med low flame, when the oil is hot, add 1/2 tsp each mustard seeds & jeera, 1/ 4 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi), 1/8 tsp hing (asafetida), few curry leaves and 2 red chillies. When the dal turns golden and mustard seeds crackle, turn off the flame.

Add this seasoning to the sambar then garnish with cilantro.

Serve with rice, Idly, dosa, vada, pongal.

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