Mullangi Sambar | Radish Sambar

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Mullangi sambar is an easy and delicious South Indian variant of sambar with piquant favors of radish, healthy lentils, and fragrant spices. This sambar variety is made with white radish or daikon a.k.a mullangi in the Tamil language and mooli in the Hindi language. It is hearty, comforting, filling lentil and radish stew that pairs well with steamed rice, idli, dosa or vada.

radish sambar served in a bowl

Sambar is one dish that is always on the menu at home once a week. So sometimes I make Kerala Varutharacha Sambar and sometimes sambar with just one vegetable like spinach, red amaranth leaves, shallots, drumsticks, okra, tomatoes etc. This Mullangi sambar also falls in this category where the sambar is made mainly with just one vegetable.

Radish lends its unique aroma and taste to this sambar. So if you like radish, then do try adding radish in sambar and you will love it.

This recipe uses Sambar Powder. When making sambar either make your own sambar powder or buy a good quality one.

You can also quickly roast the spices for the sambar powder in a skillet and later grind them. Also note that, there is no coconut in this recipe. So less work and an easy delicious sambar to make.

The radish sambar goes very well with steamed rice and some papaddums by the side. Also pairs well with idli, dosa or uttapam.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Mullangi Sambar

Cooking Lentils and More Prep

1. Pick and then rinse ½ cup of arhar dal (tuvar dal or pigeon pea lentils) 3 to 4 times in water.

rinsing arhar dal in water

2. Add the lentils to a pressure cooker and 1 to 2 pinch of turmeric powder. Also, add 2 or 2.5 cups of water. Pressure cook for 6 to 7 whistles or till the lentils are softened and mushy.

add lentils to pressure cooker with water

3. Meanwhile as the lentils are cooking, soak 1 tablespoon of tamarind in ¼ cup water for 30 minutes. You can also soak in hot water for about 20 minutes.

Later press the soaked tamarind and squeeze its extract in the water. Set aside.

soaking tamarind in water

4. Rinse and then peel the white radish. Slice the peeled radish into rounds. It should be around 2 cups of sliced radish.

sliced radish rounds in a bowl

5. Measure all the ingredients and keep ready. Chop all the veggies that are required like shallots, tomatoes etc.

ingredients for making radish sambar

6. Once the pressure of the cooker drops down on its own, then only open the lid. The lentils would be cooked. If the lentils are undercooked, then pressure cook again for some more time adding some water if required.

pressure cooked lentils

7. Lightly mash the cooked lentils with a spoon or a wired whisk and keep aside.

mashing cooked lentils with a spoon

Making Mullangi Sambar

8. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in another pan. Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds and let them splutter. Keep the heat to low to medium-low. You can use any neutral flavor oil.

You can use sesame oil made from raw sesame seeds (gingelly oil) or ghee or coconut oil if you prefer.

mustard seeds in a pan with oil

9. Now add ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi seeds) and ½ teaspoon of urad dal (husked and split black gram).

adding fenugreek seeds and urad dal to oil

10. Fry stirring often till the urad dal turns golden.

frying urad dal till golden

11. Add 5 to 6 shallots or pearl onions (sliced). Saute stirring often till the shallots become translucent.

adding shallots and frying them

12. Add 1 to 2 dry red chilies. Remove the seeds before adding the chilies.

adding dry red chilies now

13. Then add ¼ teaspoon of asafoetida (hing). Stir and saute for some seconds on a low heat.

adding asafoetida

14. Add 1 medium-sized chopped tomato and 1 sprig of curry leaves (about 10 to 12 curry leaves).

adding chopped tomatoes and curry leaves

15. Saute till the tomatoes soften.

saute till tomatoes soften

16. Then add the sliced radish and also sprinkle ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder. Stir and mix well.

adding turmeric powder to radish

17. Saute for a minute.

saute radish for a minute

18. Then add 1 to 1.5 cups of water or as required.

adding water to the kadai

19. Sprinkle salt as required. Mix again.

adding salt as required to pan

20. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over medium heat till the radish slices are fork tender.

cover and cook till radish are tender

21. Remove the lid and check a few times when the radish is cooking.

remove lid of pan

22. Once has the radish has cooked well then add the mashed lentils.

adding lentils to the pan

23. Add tamarind pulp that we had made earlier and 2 to 3 teaspoons of sambar powder.

adding tamarind pulp and sambar powder to pan

24. Add ½ teaspoon sugar or jaggery if you prefer. Adding sugar or jaggery is optional.

add sugar to radish sambar

25. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes on a medium-low heat till the raw aroma of the tamarind goes away and all the flavors come together.

If the sambar appears thick, then add some hot water and simmer for a few minutes. You can always alter the consistency and make it thick or thin by less or more water.

simmer the radish sambar

26. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve the Radish sambar hot with steamed rice or with South Indian snacks like idli or dosa or medu vada or uttapam.

It makes for a hearty, healthy lunch option. You can also serve this sambar with any South Indian meal. For best taste and flavor finish eating the sambar on the same day. So scale the recipe and make as much as you need.

I would not recommend refrigerating as the flavor and taste of this sambar changes completely. It is best served hot as soon as it is made.

radish sambar served in a bowl

Few more sambar varieties

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mullangi sambar recipe, radish sambar recipe

Mullangi Sambar | Radish Sambar

Mullangi sambar is an easy and delicious South Indian sambar variant made with white radish, pigeon pea lentils, tamarind, herbs and spices. This radish sambar is a healthy and comforting meal when paired with steamed rice.
4.62 from 13 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Cuisine South Indian
Course Main Course
Diet Vegan, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 4


For cooking lentils

  • ½ cup tur dal (tuvar dal, arhar or pigeon pea lentils)
  • 2 to 2.5 cups water – for pressure cooking dal
  • 1 to 2 pinch turmeric powder

Other Ingredients

  • 2 cups peeled and sliced white radish (mullangi or daikon or mooli)
  • ¼ cup tamarind pulp – ¾ or 1 tablespoon tamarind soaked in ¼ cup water for 20 to 30 minutes and then squeezed with the juice extracted and strained.
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons sambar powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
  • 5 to 6 shallots or pearl onions (sliced or chopped)
  • 1 to 2 dry red chilies – halved and seeds removed
  • ¼ teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
  • ½ teaspoon urad dal (husked and split black gram) – optional
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 medium size tomatoes – chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oil – any neutral flavored oil or gingelly oil (oil made from raw sesame seeds) or coconut oil
  • salt as required
  • ½ teaspoon sugar or jaggery (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric – for adding in sambar
  • 1 to 1.5 cups water for sambar



  • Pick and rinse the lentils well. Pressure cook the lentils with a pinch of turmeric in 2 or 2.5 cups water for 6 to 7 whistles on medium flame. 
  • Meanwhile as the lentils are cooking, soak the tamarind in ¼ cup water.
  • Rinse and later chop all the veggies that are required like radish, shallots, tomatoes etc
  • Once the pressure of the cooker drops down on its own, then only open the lid.
  • The lentils would be softened and mushy. If the lentils are undercooked, then pressure cook again adding some water if required.
  • Lightly mash the cooked lentils with a spoon or wired whisk and set aside.

Making mullangi sambar

  • Heat oil in another pan. Lower the heat and add the mustard seeds and let them splutter.
  • Now add fenugreek seeds and urad dal. Fry till the urad dal turns golden stirring often on a low heat.
  • Add the shallots or pearl onions. Sauté stirring often till the shallots become translucent. 
  • Then add dry red chilies and asafoetida (hing). Stir and saute for some seconds.
  • Add the tomatoes and curry leaves. Saute till the tomatoes soften. 
  • Then add the radish and turmeric powder. Stir and saute for a minute.
  • Add water and salt as required. Cover the pan with lid and cook over medium heat till the radish slices are fork tender.
  • Remove the lid. Then add the mashed lentils.
  • Add the tamarind pulp and sambar powder.
  • Add sugar or jaggery if you like. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or until all the flavors come together and the raw aroma of the tamarind goes away.
  • If the sambar appears thick, then add some hot water and simmer for a few minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Serve the mullangi sambar hot or warm with steamed rice or idli or dosa or uttapam.
  • Best to enjoy this radish sambar on same day. I would not suggest refrigerating as the taste and flavor changes completely next day.


  • Use good quality or a good brand of sambar powder. I always use homemade sambar powder.
  • Instead of tuvar dal you can also use yellow moong dal.
  • For a gluten-free version skip adding asafoetida or use gluten-free asafoetida.
  • Swap shallots or pearl onions with regular onions.
  • You can alter the consistency by adding less or more of the water.
  • Feel free to omit adding sugar or jaggery if you don’t prefer it. 
  • You can scale the recipe to make a small batch or a big batch.

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Mullangi Sambar | Radish Sambar
Amount Per Serving
Calories 190 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Sodium 356mg15%
Potassium 367mg10%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 304IU6%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 3mg15%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 25mg30%
Vitamin E 3mg20%
Vitamin K 4µg4%
Calcium 60mg6%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 62µg16%
Iron 2mg11%
Magnesium 31mg8%
Phosphorus 51mg5%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Radish Sambar recipe post from the blog archives (first published in March 2013) has been updated and republished on 28 June 2021.

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Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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Comments are closed.


  1. Can i replace the radish with a cup of capsicum and okra each ? for the same amount of tamarind and sambar powder. I am making for 4 people.

  2. Tried it tonight and OMG it’s fantastic. Reminded me of my grandmother’s cooking. I have learnt a lot from your site and continue to do so!5 stars

  3. Thank you for the recipe. Can you please tell me if i can cook radish along with the dal in different containers but same cooker?5 stars

  4. Dear Dasanna,
    Often times the radish turns bitter after cooking. How to avoid this ?5 stars

    1. use radish which is tender. tender radishes are not bitter. the radishes which are dense and fibrous do sometimes become bitter after cooking. i always buy tender radishes. so i do not know any method which removes the bitterness from them.

  5. I wasn’t quite sure when to put the arhar dal in the pot with cooked radis, so I did it at the same moment I added the sambar powder. Not sure if this is the right way to make a sambar, but it was good anyway.5 stars

    1. once the radish are cooked, then the dal has to be added. what you did was right. generally, dal and sambar powder is added at the same time. thanks for letting me know. i will update the post.

  6. Hello…. I am assistant cook at 1hotel. Tmw my chef s leave. I d’nt know how to prepare sambar. So i saw ur recepi. It s so easy. I’ll prepare tmw. I’ll tell my result tmw tanq.

  7. Hi Dassana, I love your site and this recipe is a winner in my house. I made it some days back and must tell you that my husband absolutely relished it. I have also mentioned you in the blog post of radish sambar. Thanks again and would keep visiting you in between to drool over the recipes and try some too. Best wishes!!

    1. welcome deepa and thanks for the link credit. that is a genuine gesture on your part.

  8. Hi Dassana,

    I never leave a comment on any website or blog even if I like a recipe. But your blog is an exception. I have tried several recipes (including the radish sambhar and dahi arbi) and all have turned out delicious. I love how your recipes are simple and that your instructions are precise. The pictures are great. All in all, your blog reflects your true craftsmanship and I for one, am an admirer and a follower!

    Best always,

  9. My Granny introduced me to this sambar & I have always loved this.
    It is simple to make & very light on the tummy.
    Great recipe as always, Dassana