• Servings : 4-6
  • Prep Time : 15m
  • Cook Time : 45m
  • Ready In : 60m

The recipe

Sambar is very versatile and is eaten everyday by many people in South India. We keep a bowl in the fridge so that it is always handy and we eat it with rice or chapatis, dosas, idlis or use it as a side dish. It is also good on its own as a soupy snack.

A sample recipe from our Cardamom Days Vegetarian Indian Recipe book.

book details


  • 1½ litres water
  • 100g chana dal (yellow split peas)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 100g carrots, cut into 2 cm chunks
  • 100g butternut squash, cut to 2cm chunks
  • 100g green beans, cut to 2cm lengths
  • 100g cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1½ tsp turmeric
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil (for the masala)
  • 1 tsp chana dal (for the masala)
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds (for the masala)
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 4 small dried chillies
  • 1 tsp asafoetida
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil (for the tarka)
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped) (for the tarka)
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1½ tsp fenugreek seeds (for the tarka)


Step 1

For the vegetables.

Step 2

Pour 1½ litres of water into a large, deep pan and bring to the boil. Add the dal, onion, carrots, squash, green beans, cauliflower and tomato and lower the heat. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

Step 3

Stir in the turmeric, sugar and salt and simmer gently for a further 15 minutes, or until the dal is soft.

Step 4

For the masala

Step 5

Heat the vegetable oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the chana dal, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, dried chillies and asafoetida and fry for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.

Step 6

Tip the mix into a spice grinder (suitable for wet mixes) or a mini food processor, along with the oil, and blend. Stir the blend into the pan of vegetables.

Step 7

For the tarka.

Step 8

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the finely chopped onion, black mustard seeds and fenugreek for 10 minutes, or until the onion is softened and golden-brown.

Step 9

Stir this into the pan with the vegetables, along with any oil and serve

Recipe Type: ,
Related Recipes:
  • spicy omelette

    Spicy Vegetable Omelette

  • kulu trout

    Kulu Trout

  • Persian Fruit and Vegetable Casserole

    Persian Fruit and Vegetable Casserole

  • Persian Stuffed Courgettes

    Persian Stuffed Courgette with Dill and Pistachio Nuts

  • flatbread