Sambar Recipe, How to make Sambar Recipe | South Indian Sambar Recipe

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Sambar Recipe with Step by Step Photos. Sambar is a south indian lentil and vegetable stew. The recipe shared here is an easy and quick method to make delicious vegetable sambar in pressure cooker. I usually make sambar using the method I have mentioned in this post as this is a very easy method for making sambar and less time consuming for me.

In sambar various vegetables are added. Either you can make sambar with a mix of veggies or use only one vegetable. Usually I add vegetables like pumpkin, carrots, drumsticks, green beans, okra, potatoes, brinjals, snake gourd and onions. You can add your choice of vegetables too. Sambar powder is also added. Its best to use homemade sambar powder or a good brand of sambar powder. I have already shared homemade sambar powder recipe.

Usually the vegetables are cooked separately and then the mashed dal is added to the cooked vegetables. In this recipe, I have used veggies like small brinjals, okra, french beans, potatoes, shallots and tomatoes. I have cooked the vegetables and yellow lentils (arhar dal) in a pressure cooker.

Cooking in pressure cooker reduces the cooking time considerably, saves gas and also preserves the nutrients of the vegetables. When you are in a hurry to cook a meal then these quick recipes are life saver.

Sambar can be served with steamed rice, idlis, dosasor vada or uttapam.

if you are looking for more sambar varieties then do check:

Sambar Recipe Below:

4.66 from 50 votes
Sambar recipe | South Indian Sambar Recipe
prep time
15 mins
cook time
30 mins
total time
45 mins

Vegetable Sambar recipe - an easy and quick recipe to make vegetable sambar using pressure cooker.

course: main course
cuisine: south indian
servings: 4
author: dassana amit
ingredients (1 cup = 250 ml)
ingredients for sambar recipe:
  • ½ cup tuvar or arhar dal (pigeon pea lentils)
  • 1 to 1.5 cups cleaned and chopped vegetables like okra, french beans, potatoes, shallots or onions, small round brinjals, tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon seedless tamarind (imli) soaked in ⅓ cup water
  • 1 to 1.5 tablespoons sambar powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric (haldi powder)
  • a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 2 to 2.5 cups water, for pressure cooking the dal
  • 1 cup water to be added later or add as required
  • salt as required
tempering for sambar:
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (gingelly oil), can also use peanut oil or sunflower oil
  • 2 to 3 dry red chillies (sookhi lal mirch)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  • 1 pinch fenugreek seeds (methi seeds), optional
  • 1 to 2 pinches asafoetida (hing)
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves crushed lightly with the peels, optional
  • 10 to 12 curry leaves
how to make recipe
preparation for vegetable sambar recipe:
  1. first soak the tamarind in warm water for 30 mins. 

  2. pick and rinse the dal in water well.

  3. chop all veggies and keep aside. 

  4. if using brinjals, then keep them immersed in water in which a bit of salt is added, so that they don't darken. 

making sambar recipe:
  1. cook dal in 2 to 2.5 cups water in the pressure cooker for 8 to 9 whistles on medium to high flame. the dal should become soft and mushy.

  2. once the pressure settles down on its own, remove the lid.
  3. now add the chopped veggies, turmeric powder, red chili powder, asafoetida and salt. add 1 cup water and stir well.

  4. pressure cook again for 1 whistle on medium to high flame. once the pressure settles down on its own, remove the lid.
  5. add the sambar powder and tamarind pulp. if the consistency of sambar is thick, then add some water.
  6. keep the cooker on the stove and and then simmer the sambar for 7 to 8 minutes on a low flame.

  7. keep on stirring at intervals so that the dal does not stick to the bottom. switch off and keep the sambar covered.
tempering for sambar recipe:
  1. in a small pan, heat oil. crackle the mustard seeds first.
  2. then add the fenugreek seeds, garlic, red chilies, asafoetida and curry leaves.
  3. fry till the garlic turns a light brown and the red chilies change color. pour the whole tempering in the steaming hot sambar. close with a lid so that the flavors infuse for about 5-6 minutes.
  4. later stir and then serve the vegetable sambar with steamed rice or idli or dosa or medu vada.
recipe notes

tips for making sambar recipe:

  1. for faster cooking you can soak the lentils in water for 30 to 45 minutes before cooking them.
  2. usually the vegetables are not cooked in a pressure cooker but in another pan. but cooking the vegetables in the pressure cooker saves a lot of time and also preserves the nutrients of the vegetables.
  3. you can also add about ¼ or ½ teaspoon garam masala powder to the sambar when you add the veggies. the use of garam masala powder gives a spicy flavour and taste to sambar.

How to make Sambar Recipe:

1: Sambar uses tamarind pulp as it lends a subtle sour flavor and taste to it. So first to make the tamarind pulp, take some warm water and soak the tamarind in it for 30 mins.

2. Once the tamarind gets soft, you then squeeze the tamarind and remove the pulp. Strain it later.

3: Boil ½ cup tuvar dal (arhar dal, pigeon pea lentils) along with 2 to 2.5 cups water in a pressure cooker till the dal is mushy and completely cooked. When the pressure settles down in the cooker on its own, then open the lid and mash the lentils. You can see the consistency of dal in the pic below.

4: Now add 1 to 1.5 cups chopped vegetables in the pressure cooker containing the mashed dal.

5: Stir well and then add ½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi), ½ tsp red chilli powder, a pinch of asafoetida, salt. Add 1 cup water. Stir well and and pressure cook for one whistle on medium to high flame. Ensure that you don’t over cook the vegetables.

6: When the pressure settles down on its own, open the lid. Add the tamarind pulp and 1 to 1.5 tbsp sambar powder. Mix very well. Add water if required to give a medium consistency in the sambar. Simmer for 7 to 8 minutes without the lid on a low to medium-low flame. Once done cover and keep the sambar aside.

7: In a pan, heat 2 tbsp oil. Add 1 tsp mustard seeds. When it starts crackling, add 12 to 15 curry leaves, 2 to 3 dry red chillies, 2 to 3 garlic cloves, 1 pinch of fenugreek seeds and a pinch or two of asafoetida. Fry them till the red chilies change color and the garlic turn a light golden. Now add this tempering mixture in the hot sambar. Immediately cover the cooker with its lid, so that the aroma and flavors from the tempering mixture gets infused with the sambar.

8: Usually, the sambar is cooked a two three hours earlier as its taste become better with time. However, I like sambar to be served as soon as it is made. Sambar can be served with steamed rice, idlis, dosas, medu vada or rava uttapam. I served the sambar with rice and red cabbage thoran.

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This post was last modified on May 26, 2018, 5:37 pm

    Categories Dal RecipesDinner RecipesLow Fat RecipesPopular Indian RecipesSouth Indian RecipesTamil NaduVegan Recipes

View Comments (199)

  • Such an easy method to prepare delicious sambar...I have been making sambar for over a year but this time it turned out to be so delicious....and thanks for using sambar powder otherwise with 15 different spices it would be out of my reach :-)

  • Its really a very fine way to make food without disturbing others ,, n all goes to this site.... u guys doing best done,, so pls pls pls continue....

  • thanks a lot for sharing such a wonderful recipe...i made sambhar using your recipe yesterday & my husband gave the best food compliment i hv ever received...i told him 'Thanks to Vegrecipes of India'. i had tried a lot of other recipes but nothing worked out like this one. Thanks for making my day & for sharing this wonderfully delicious recipe :)

  • Thanks for the recipe...easy preparation ... and it came out great the last 2 times I tried.

    • nishi, you can use but it will take more time to cook than arhar dal. and taste will also change.

  • Fantastic recipe!! This was first time I tried sambhar. this came out superb. My hubby n family appreciated it a lot. Thanks for sharing your recipe

  • Hi Dassana! I have been following this recipe successfully from a long time and it never fails. Its easy and wonderful. Can you give us an idea to make home made sambhar masala? I use Everest masala but I want to use homemade masala. Kindly help.

    • rajshree, i have sambar masala powder in the drafts. i will post it after navratri gets over. for sure :-)

  • Hiya, I want to try out your recipe, just one question. Instead of soaking imli, can I substitute that with imli paste? and if so, how much should I use?

    • yes you can use imli paste. try add 1 tsp first and if you feel you need more sourness, then you can increase from 1/2 to 1 tsp more.

  • Hi Dasanna.. I generously follow ur recipes.. and they come out well... I would like to know the sambar powder recipe as well... so kindly pls do post it some time....

    • thankyou mrinalini :) pleased to know this have added sambar powder recipe to our request list :)

  • Thanku so so much for this wonderful recipe... I am from Punjab and my husband loves south Indian food... today I tried this sambhar recipe and it turned out amazing.. he was soo happy after tasting my first Sambhar... Thanku once again... Ur website is amazing... m gonna try all your recipes...

    • pleased to know amy your husband loved the sambar :) surely try more recipes and let us know how they were? thankyou so much and you are always welcome.

  • Hi dear...

    Your recepies are simply amazing... they are so easy and are perfect in all proportions.
    really have to tell you i prefer your recepies over many renowned chefs. Your recepies are the best.
    keep posting more.
    thanks alot.

  • Hey!
    It looked real simple when I read it. This was the first time I tried cooking sambar.

    You say it takes just 45 minutes, but then waiting for the pressure to cool now and then takes a lot of time, doesn't it?

    Thank you so much for this, though. Cooking seems simpler to me because of your recipes. :-)

    • thank you anya. yes it does take time for the pressure cooker to cool. but in meantime we can chop the veggies and do the other prepping required for the tadka as well as prepare the tamarind pulp.

  • i have tried many times making sambhar and do not satisfy by result..after reading many comments i will try this recepie for sure...hoping it turn out well..

  • Hi prasad here again , prepared my second dish sambar finally with your guidance learned how to make sambar and yes it came to be perfect and everyone in home likes it a lot ?? thank you again for dis easy recipe and i am going to try all of ur recipe for sure

    • very pleased to know this prasad :) thankyou for your kind and positive words glad you liked the sambar. wish you luck.

  • I just recently returned from my second trip coaching a student for the Young Chefs Olympiad and I must say that this is an excellent sambar recipe. I fell in love with the stuff so I just made this one and it makes me feel like I'm back in Kolkata. I was very sorry to hear of the tragic accident yesterday in that city. But again, wonderful recipe!

    • thankyou kevin for your kind kind gesture and generous words :) glad you liked the sambar recipe god bless you.

  • ..simply amazing. my first dish as forced bachelor turned out to be the best sambar I had. thanks

  • Hi Amit..
    i try ur recipes whenever i try smthng new... All reciepes were awesome.. Today i tried sambhar recipe.. n yes its as usual awesome.. Thnks ?

  • Hello Dassana,

    This sambhar recipe is so simple yet flavourful and that is the best thing about your recipes.
    Your effort of adding pictures to the recipe is just commendable. Pictures helps a lot to understand the quantity and color till which to saute/cook.
    Thanks for such an awesome blog .


    • thank you ritu for your positive and motivating words. glad to know you like the step by step pictures and you are welcome :)

  • I made this today, it was very good in taste. However, i felt the need to add a bit of sugar, 1tsp, after that it was really perfect almost. However, even though i fried the fenugreek seeds very well in the tempering, still i was finding it difficult to eat the seeds when they came in my mouth while eating the sambar.They had a very hard consistency ,n they wre too crunchy and hence tasted very bitter as well. Bitter taste is not a issue but i wanted to ask that should i soak the methi seeds in warm water first or do i dry roast them and then add in the tadka or what did i do wrong with the methi seeds in my tadka?

    • thanks shea for the positive feedback. adding sugar depends on taste preferences. some variations of sambar like the udipi sambar does include addition of jaggery in it. for the methi seeds, they soften after adding to sambar. i think they needed to be fried a bit more. they don't remain crunchy. could be you must be getting a larger variety of methi seeds, then what we get in india. so you can soak them in water for some minutes. you can even dry roast them or skip them entirely.

      • Thanks a lot. I tried again today, i put the methi seeds first in the oil, and then the other ingredients , and the problem was solved. Actually, we mumbaites have a habit of eating sambar from udipi restaurants and so we are used to that taste of sambar which is a bit sweet.Today i used the leftover tamarind pulp from yesterdays preparation(i had strained it and used only the tamarind water from yesterdays pulp )and so i soaked that same pulp again in warm water and strained and used it today.But the result was not so good and i had to use fresh tamarind pulp again. So i guess there are no shortcuts to sambar .But the result was awesome, a hotel style sambar finally. I did notice that it tastes a lot better after 2-3 hrs once its made. It gives a thicker better consistency and taste.can u please post recipes of different varieties of sambar,and idli.

        • fine shea :-) actually i am also from mumbai and i know about the sweet taste in sambar. initially, i would never like the sweet taste in sambar, but now i am fine with it. fresh tamarind pulp always tastes better. yes sambar tastes much better after some hours. there are no short cuts to make good food :-)

          i have posted some varieties of sambar. you can try the hotel style sambar, mangalorean sambar and the udipi sambar that i have posted. here is a link to get the sambar varieties, i have so far added - https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/?s=sambar

  • I made sambar yesterday... Had known the basics of making it but I learnt and tried some more flavour-adding tips from this recipe. Everyone loved the result. Thank you for sharing all these wonderful recipes :)
    The best part of sambar is that not only is it very easy to make but also very healthy. one can include all sorts of veggies whose individual, traditional sabzis would take much more time than the sambar

    • agree ruchi. sambar is healthy as well as one can add variety of mixed veggies in it. thanks for sharing this. happy cooking :)

  • Tried this today and it was my first time trying Sambhar. Used the sambhar powder as mentioned and it turned out really well. In US we don't get all the veggies to go in sambhar but I got a frozen veggie packet especially for Sambhar that even had the drumsticks and it was delicious. My husband who is a very picky water relished it. Thanks for sharing.

    • Welcome Daisy. Thanks for sharing your positive feedback. Glad to know that you and your husband liked the sambar recipe.

  • Hai,

    Prepared it today and it was delicious. My 3 years daughter loved it too. I blindly follow your recipies and the dishes always turn out to be delicious. Thank you.

  • Hello, I tried samber recipe for the first time and it tastes awesome. I try many of ur recipes and everytime results are great. Thanks for sharing dear :)

  • hi dassana!!! thank u so much for sharing such easy n well explained recipes...I've been following ur website since last year...this year I got married n today I made sambar for the first in my sasuraal...followed all the steps..n it turned out to be very yummy!!! thank u so much...!!!

  • Hi,I'm priya from tamilnadu.I'm just 16 now and I luv cooking.I hope this recipe would satisfy my family,and frnds

  • Hello,, is there a substitute for the tamarind in this recipe if it's not easily available? Thanks

    • Welcome Ekta. You can add some lemon juice towards the end of recipe. lemon juice is not the substitute but it will give some sour taste in the sambar. add at the very end.

  • hello,just wanted to let u know whenever it comes to trying my hand at cooking,it's just ur recipes which i can totally rely upon.
    Really looking forward to making this sambhar recipe too.
    Also, i wanted to know if just one whistle would be enough to cook the vegetables? for example if it's potatoes,would one whistle do?
    Thank u in advance ☺

    • thanks a lot jayashree. one whistle is fine as the veggies will be half done as they are cooked again after adding sambar powder. so if cooked for 2 whistles than the veggies can become mushy when cooking further. alternatively, you can cook for 2 whistles also and then reduce the later cooking time. but do make sure that there is no raw aroma of the tamarind pulp.

  • The sambar powder's raw taste didn't go even after keeping it for low flame for a long time in the stove. Had a tough time making it!

    • then the issue is with the sambar powder and not the sambar recipe. if the spices were roasted before making sambar powder, then it will get cooked quickly in the sambar. if not, then it will take some time.

  • Mam all of your recipes are very good and the explanation makes them easy to prepare specially the photographs... Made sambar yesterday and it turned out to be delicious...

    • Thanks Rupali for your positive feedback on recipes. Glad to know that sambar came out well.

  • Hi!

    I love Sambhar.....gonna make for the first time. Could you please tell me any other alternative for tamarind as I stay abroad and it's difficult to get it. I don't want to miss that tangy sour taste.....


    • taste wise there is no alternative to tamarind. abroad, ready tamarind paste is available. so you can use this but add very less as tamarind paste is more concentrated than tamarind pulp made by soaking in water. for a sour taste lemon juice can be used, but the sour taste given by lemon juice would taste different in sambar.

  • wow really excited to find this website! i’m gonna try some of these recipes on my dad when he visits next week...wish this ABCD luck ;)
    and thank u for the recipes!

    • thanks. one small to medium bowl of sambar can be served for one person with 2 to 3 idlis. so you can easily make sambar with 1/3rd or 1/2 cup of tuvar dal. it will serve 5 to 6 people.

  • Best recipe ever :)...Am not very good in cooking ...but your recipes are very clear in qty level and exactly came out well .After a long search this is the only site which actually true in recipe combination .Thank you guys you made my day

    • Welcome Nisha. Glad to know that you like the website and recipes posted here. All recipes are tried and tested before being published. Thanks for your positive feedback on sambar recipe.

  • Hi Dassana, I have made this a few times for the family and all love it.
    Your recipes are straightforward and down to earth - no special expensive ingredients, just using whatever is in our kitchens yet FANTASTIC results always ! Also, sharing personal tips and stories around each recipe give a special touch that make all your dishes a joy to prepare (and eat !) as if from a cherished family recipe book ! God bless you !

    • Welcome Dimpy. Thanks for your kind words and blessings. I am happy to know that you are liking the recipes and their presentation style.

  • It was just superb my dear friend Amit
    I really enjoyed preparing and having it with dosa
    Thank you soo much

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