kerala sambar recipe, how to make kerala sambar recipe | sambar kerala style

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sambar recipe kerala style, kerala sambar recipe

this kerala style sambar recipe is a delicious and tasty variation of sambar made with mix vegetables and roasted coconut & spice paste.

4.5 from 6 votes
total time:
65minutes

kerala sambar recipe with step by step photos –  i have had sambar in many places, but i like this kerala sambar which my mom makes. she also makes the other varieties of sambar, but this one and the malvani kala vatana sambar tops my list.

kerala sambar recipe

i love the food from kerala from the appams to the avial, from the puttus to the kadala curry. i have been lucky enough to have a feast of the kerala cuisine many times in my life, especially on onam and vishu. thanks to my mother who is a great cook, my father who is born and brought up in kerala.

i remember my office days, when I would come from work and ask mom about the dinner. when she would mention that she had made sambar, i would feel so good. those days, i would take more amount of rice than i usually took. i only need to have sambar with rice and kerala pappadums. its one comfort food for me that i have always relished and cherished..

it would be very selfish of me if i did not share this kerala sambar recipe with the readers of my blog. i hope you enjoy making this sambar and having it too.

this kerala style sambar recipe, makes use of mixed vegetables. you could use any vegetables you have or you like. i have used shallots, aubergines and okra. since, i was also making beans upkari with potatoes, i did not add beans nor potatoes to the sambar.

this kerala sambar recipe also calls for roasting the sambar masala and then grinding it. trust me, just making the fresh sambar masala is better than using ready made sambar powder. i also use ready made sambar powder, when i have to make a quick sambar dish. but in my experience, the sambar made with fresh, roasted ground spices taste very different than the one made with ready made sambar powder. if you have to use ready made sambar powder, than make your own sambar powder. it is much better than using the store bought ones.

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

kerala sambar recipe card below:

sambar recipe kerala style, kerala sambar recipe
4.5 from 6 votes
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sambar kerala style

this kerala style sambar recipe is a delicious and tasty variation of sambar made with mix vegetables and roasted coconut & spice paste.
course main course
cuisine kerala, south indian
prep time 20 minutes
cook time 45 minutes
total time 1 hour 5 minutes
servings 8
author dassana amit

ingredients (1 cup = 250 ml)

for the kerala sambar

  • 1 cup tuvar dal (arhar dal, pigeon pea lentils)
  • 1 small onion - sliced or chopped (optional)
  • 1 to 2 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • 10 to 12 pearl onions or shallots
  • 8 to 10 okra (bhindi or lady finger)
  • 5 to 7 aubergines (brinjal or baingan)
  • 1 large tomato or 2 medium size tomatoes
  • 1 sprig curry leaves (kadi patta)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
  • ½ cup tamarind pulp – made with ½ cup water and 1 lemon sized ball of tamarind
  • 2.5 to 3 cups water or add as required
  • salt as required

for tempering the sambar

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or any vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal (split and husked black gram)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves (kadi patta)
  • 2 to 3 dry red kashmiri chillies - you can also use small red bor chillies for the tadka

for the sambar masala

  • ½ coconut, grated – will yield about 1 to 1.5 cups of grated coconut
  • 3 to 4 pearl onions or shallots - chopped
  • 12 to 15 curry leaves (kadi patta)
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds (sabut dhania)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • ¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns (sabut kali mirch)
  • ¼ teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
  • ¼ teaspoon methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
  • 3 to 4 dry red chilies - I used 4 kashmiri red chillies
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons coconut oil or any vegetable oil

how to make sambar kerala style

to make sambar masala

  1. on a skillet, tava or a shallow frying pan, heat up 2 or 3 tsp coconut oil. add all the shallots and fry till they become translucent. add the rest of the spice and fry till they are light brown.

  2. now add the grated coconut and roast it with the rest of the spices till everything is browned and you get a fragrant aroma in your kitchen. let this mixture cool.

  3. once, cooled, grind this roasted spice mixture in the grinder with some water. 

to make the kerala sambar

  1. first, boil the tuvar dal till in a pressure cooker with the sliced or chopped onion and hing, till the dal is soft and well cooked. mash the cooked dal slightly with a spoon when done.

  2. cook the dal with the vegetables until they are half cooked. this takes about 11 to 12 minutes.

  3. now add the chopped okra, tamarind pulp, and the ground masala. add some more water if the sambar has become thick.

  4. add salt and give the sambar a rolling boil once and then simmer till the veggies are cooked. this will approximately take about 15-16 minutes.

  5. close the flame when all the ingredients in the sambar have nicely infused with one another and you have a lovely sambar aroma pervading all around in your kitchen. keep the sambar closed with a lid and move on to the next step of tempering the sambar. 

tempering for kerala sambar

  1. in a pan or the tadka utensil, heat oil. add the mustard seeds and let them pop. then add all the other ingredients and fry them till they become fragrant. take care they do not get burnt.

  2. once the tadka is ready, directly pour the hot tadka on the hot sambar.

  3. immediately, cover the kerala sambar with a lid and let it stay closed for some 8 to 10 minutes. We do this at home, so that the flavors and aroma of the tadka gets very well infused with the sambar or dal.

  4. later mix well.

  5. serve the kerala sambar with boiled rice and pappadums, accompanied by a side vegetable dish and a bowl of yogurt or raita. enjoy.

  6. if there is any leftover sambar, you could have it the next day with dosa, idli, medu vada or dal vada. but keep the leftover sambar in the fridge.

recipe notes

few tips for making sambar recipe kerala style:
  1. do not directly add the aubergines (brinjal) in sambar. chop them and keep them in salted water for 10-15 mins so that the bitter juices are extracted from them in the salted water.
  2. the souring agent we use in sambar is generally tamarind. if your tamarind is too sour, then you will have to increase the chillies and salt with it and vice versa. the tamarind, chillies and salt have to balance each other. i came across this tip in chandra padmanabhan's cook book - "Southern Spice: Delicious Vegetarian Recipes from South India". its a nice book if you are looking for a variety of vegetarian recipes amongst the south indian cuisine. fortunately, whenever i have made sambar, the tamarind has never been too tart and the sambar has never become too sour.
  3. if you do not have fresh coconut, you could substitute it with dessicated coconut.
  4. if you are using a lot of mixed vegetables, alter their amount (that is do not use the quantity of vegetables mentioned in this post) so that there is a balance of the vegetables and dal in the sambar.

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how to make kerala sambar recipe: 

method to make sambar masala:

1. measure and keep all the ingredients ready for making sambar masala.

making kerala style sambar recipe

2. on a skillet, tava or a shallow frying pan, heat up 2 or 3 teaspoons coconut oil. add 3 to 4 shallots or pearl onions (sambar onions).

kerala sambar recipe

3. fry till they become translucent.

kerala sambar recipe

4. then add 1 tablespoon cumin seeds (jeera) and ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi seeds).

kerala sambar recipe

5. next add 12 to 15 curry leaves and 2 tablespoons coriander seeds (sabut dhania).

making kerala sambar recipe

6. also add 3 to 4 dry kashmiri red chilies and ¼ teaspoon asafoetida (hing).

making kerala sambar recipe

7. fry till they are light brown.

kerala sambar recipe

8. now add about 1 to 1.5 cups of grated coconut.

kerala sambar recipe

9. roast it with the rest of the spices till the coconut is golden and you get a fragrant aroma in your kitchen. let this mixture cool.

kerala sambar recipe
10. once, cooled, grind this roasted spice mixture in the grinder.

making kerala sambar recipe

11. add some water.

making kerala sambar recipe

12. blend till smooth.

kerala sambar recipe

13. this is how the sambar masala paste will look like.

making kerala sambar recipe

to make the kerala sambar:

14. rinse 1 cup of tuvar dal (arhar dal) 3 to 4 times in water.

kerala sambar recipe

15. take tuvar dal in a pressure cooker. add 1 small sized chopped onion and 1 to 2 pinches of hing.

making kerala sambar recipe

16. add 2.5 to 3 cups water.

making kerala sambar recipe

17. pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles or till the dal is soft and well cooked.

kerala sambar recipe

18. mash the cooked dal slightly with a spoon when done.

kerala sambar recipe

19. add 10 to 12 shallots (sambar onions), 5 to 7 chopped brinjals (baingan) and 1 large sized chopped tomato. add all the vegetables except for the okra (bhindi) to the cooked tuvar dal.

making kerala sambar recipe

20. add water as required.

making kerala sambar recipe

21. next add ½ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi).

kerala sambar recipe

22. give a nice stir to the entire mixture.

kerala sambar recipe

23. cook the dal with the vegetables until they are half cooked. this takes about 11-12 minutes.

kerala sambar recipe

24. now add 8 to 10 chopped okra (bhindi) and ½ cup tamarind pulp. to make tamarind pulp, soak 1 lemon sized tamarind in ½ cup hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. the squeeze soak tamarind with your fingers and add in the soaked water. then use the tamarind pulp in the sambar.

making kerala sambar recipe

25. add the ground masala paste.

making kerala sambar recipe

26. mix and stir well. add some more water if the sambar has become thick.

making kerala sambar recipe

27. add salt as required.

preparing kerala sambar recipe

28. give the sambar a rolling boil once and then simmer till the veggies are cooked.

preparing kerala sambar recipe

29. this will approximately take about 15-16 minutes. close the flame when all the ingredients in the sambar have nicely infused with one another and you have a lovely sambar aroma pervading all around in your kitchen.

preparing kerala sambar recipe
31. keep the sambar closed with a lid and move on to the next step of tempering the sambar.

making kerala sambar recipe
to prepare the tadka (tempering) for kerala sambar:

32. measure and keep all the ingredients ready for the tadka.

preparing kerala sambar recipe

33. in a pan or the tadka utensil, heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil. add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai) and let them pop.

making kerala sambar recipe

34. then add 1 teaspoon urad dal, 2 to 3 dry red chilies and 1 sprig curry leaves. fry the red chilies till they change color. take care that the red chilies do not get burnt.

making kerala sambar recipe

35. once the tadka is ready, directly pour the hot tadka on the hot sambar.

kerala sambar recipe

36. immediately, cover the kerala sambar with a lid and let it stay closed for around 8 to 10 minutes. we do this at home, so that the flavors and aroma of the tadka gets very well infused with the sambar or dal.

sambar recipe kerala style, kerala sambar recipe

37. later mix well.

kerala sambar recipe
38. serve the kerala sambar with boiled rice and pappadums, accompanied by a side vegetable dish and a bowl of yogurt or raita. enjoy 🙂 if there is any leftover sambar, you could have it the next day with dosa, idli, medu vada or dal vada. but keep the leftover sambar in the fridge.

sambar recipe kerala style, kerala sambar recipe

dassana amit
Founder, Designer, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer ||

i started vegrecipesofindia.com in feb 2009. it is a pure vegetarian blog and shares recipes with step by step photos that will help you to make delicious and tasty vegetarian food easily.

i am passionate about cooking from childhood and learnt cooking from my elders. having a home science degree greatly enhanced my cooking & baking skills and took it to a different level which i now share as foolproof recipes. i was trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.


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43 comments/reviews

  1. Hey dear m a full fledged fan of ur VegrecipesofIndia. What i like about it is, simple , clear n crisp . For a newly wed bride like me , U r a blessing !!! 😉 😀
    Well for this one i wud agree to u n Sudha both that usually Kerala sambhar does nt have ginger n garlic n ‘coconut’ too..but as u said it gets personalised from family to family n region to region in Kerala.
    I think out of 7 days i refer ur page 5 days 😛 Good to know ur south indian too 😉

    Keep up the good work n meet us sometime 🙂
    Thank u for helping all of us in ur own sweet spicy way !

    • welcome jisha. thanks for sharing your views and the positive feedback. glad to know that the recipes are helping you in cooking.

  2. Tried out your Kerela sambhar on Ram Navami and it was a killer. Family just loved the freshness of it. But took a longer time to prepare it as compared to preparing with instant sambhar masala.

    I want to know, what other vegetables we can use apart from brinjal and okra.

    Secondly, do we need to boil it in daal only after daal is done…I mean can’t we boil it along with the daal..so as to save on time?

    I also have a request if you could come out with a separate category on a high protein, low carb, healthy, easy and delicious r recipes for people like me struggling to desperately reduce weight without starving. .

    Suman Mishra

    • thanks a lot suman for this great feedback. it does take a long time. you can use veggies like drumsticks, white pumpkin, yellow pumpkin, beans, radish, colocasia, yam, bottle gourd, radish, potatoes, carrots, raw banana. if you boil along with the daal, then the veggies will become mushy. you can also boil them separately in water+turmeric powder and then add the cooked dal to this mixture.

      i have a few requests for some separate categories and slowly we are working on them. categorizing the posts takes a lot of time. right now we are working on two categories. once this is done, then i will try to add the categories you have suggested.

      • Thank You sooo much.. Looking forward to those two categories as well. I just wonder the weight I will end up with till you come out with my request.. as am going to try out all your dishes one by one…

        Suman Mishra.

        • welcome suman. i will try to add it soon.

  3. I was looking for a recipe for Mathura vale aalu ki sabzi today and I happened to see your recipes. I followed one recipe after another…and it was a pleasure reading them. As you described each and every recipe, I felt I am travelling through your experience.

    Have copied a few of your recipes. Am surely going to give it a shot!!!

    Suman

    • thanks suman for your kind words. glad to know that you liked the recipes.

  4. I made it but the sambhar tastes like hotel style when u have it on another day…It was so yummmmm! ! Thanks for such a delicious recipe

    • welcome kshitija. thanks for sharing your positive feedback.

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