tomato sambar | thakkali sambar

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Tomato sambar recipe with step by step photos – this thakkali sambar is a delicious variation of sambar made with tomatoes, lentils, pearl onions, spices and herbs. A vegan recipe.

I make both Onion sambar and tomato sambar regularly. Both of these two sambar varieties come handy when you do want to make sambar and there are no mix veggies at home.

tomato sambar, thakkali sambar

In this tomato sambar, I have used homemade sambar powder. You can even use any good brand of sambar powder. I have made a puree of the tomatoes and added to the sambar. Though you can also add chopped tomatoes. Onions can also be skipped in this sambar.

Obviously, since tomatoes are added, the sambar has the tang of the tomatoes in it. This tomato sambar goes very well with idli and dosa. Though you can also serve it with steamed rice.

idli sambar

How to make tomato sambar

1. First soak 1 tsp tamarind in 3 tbsp hot water for 15 to 20 minutes.

how to make tomato sambar recipe

2. After 15 to 20 minutes squeeze the soaked tamarind pulp. Filter and keep aside.

tomato sambar recipe

3. Meanwhile when the tamarind is soaking, take 1.5 cups roughly chopped tomatoes in a mixer or blender jar.

tomato for tomato sambar recipe

4. Puree the chopped tomatoes to a smooth consistency. Keep aside.

tomato puree for tomato sambar recipe

5. In a bowl, rinse ⅓ cup tuvar dal (pigeon pea lentils) a couple of times and keep aside.

dal for tomato sambar recipe

Cooking lentils

6. Add the rinsed tuvar dal in a pressure cooker along with the tomato puree. Also, add ½ cup thickly sliced pearl onions or regular onions.

making tomato sambar recipe

7. Now add ¼ tsp turmeric powder and a pinch of asafoetida (hing).

making tomato sambar recipe

8. Add 1.25 cups of water.

making tomato sambar recipe

9. Stir very well.

making tomato sambar recipe

10. Now pressure cook everything for 8 to 10 whistles or 12 to 15 minutes on medium to high flame. when the pressure settles down on its own in the cooker, open the lid of the cooker. mash the cooked lentils with a spoon.

making tomato sambar recipe

Making tomato sambar

11. keep the cooker on a low to medium flame. Now add the tamarind pulp to the cooker.

making tomato sambar recipe

12. Add 2 to 3 tsp sambar powder.

making tomato sambar recipe

13. Season with salt as per taste. Mix very well.

making tomato sambar recipe

14. Add 1.5 to 2 cups water to thin the consistency. You can add the amount of water as per your requirements. If serving with idlis, you can make a slightly thin tomato sambar. If serving with steamed rice, you can make a slightly thick tomato sambar.

making tomato sambar recipe

15. Stir very well.

making tomato sambar recipe

16. Bring the sambar to a simmer and then add 1 or 2 slit green chilies.

making tomato sambar recipe

17. Simmer the tomato sambar on a medium flame for 10 to 12 minutes or till you get the desired consistency. Cover and keep aside.

making tomato sambar recipe

Making tempering for tomato sambar

18. Heat 1 to 1.5 tbsp sesame oil or any other oil in a small pan. Add 1 tsp mustard seeds and crackle them. Keep the flame on low while tempering.

making tomato sambar recipe

19. Then add 2 to 3 dry red chilies, 1 sprig of curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida/hing. Saute till the red chilies change color and the curry leaves become crisp.

making tomato sambar recipe

20. Pour the tempering in the tomato sambar. Cover and keep aside for 5 minutes for the tempering flavors to infuse with the sambar.

making tomato sambar recipe

21. Serve tomato sambar hot with steamed rice or with idli or dosa. You can also garnish thakkali sambar with coriander leaves if you want.

tomato sambar recipe
More Sambar varieties

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tomato sambar recipe
Tomato Sambar
5 from 5 votes
Thakkali sambar or tomato sambar is a delicious variation of South Indian sambar made with tomatoes and lentils. It can be served with South Indian snacks like idli, dosa, medu vada. Tomato sambar can also be served with rice.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins

Cuisine South Indian
Course: Main Course

Servings 3 to 4

Ingredients

for pressure cooking

  • 1/3 cup tuvar dal (arhar dal or pigeon pea lentils)
  • 250 grams tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes or 1.5 cups roughly chopped tomatoes - pureed
  • 8 to 10 pearl onions or shallots or 1 medium onion or ½ cup thickly sliced pearl onion or onions
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • 1.25 cups of water for pressure cooking

for tamarind pulp

  • 1 teaspoon tamarind soaked in 3 tablespoon hot water

other ingredients

  • 2 to 3 teaspoon sambar powder
  • 1 or 2 green chilies, slit
  • 1.5 to 2 cups water to be added later or add as required
  • salt as required

for tempering

  • 1 to 1.5 tablespoon sesame oil or any oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 to 3 dry red chilies
  • 1 sprig curry leaf
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)

Instructions

preparation

  • First soak 1 tsp tamarind in 3 tbsp hot water for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • After 15 to 20 minutes squeeze the soaked tamarind pulp. Filter and keep aside.
  • Meanwhile when the tamarind is soaking, take 1.5 cups roughly chopped tomatoes in a mixer or blender jar.
  • Puree the chopped tomatoes to a smooth consistency. Keep aside.

cooking lentils

  • In a bowl, rinse ⅓ cup tuvar dal a couple of times.
  • Add the rinsed tuvar dal in a pressure cooker along with the tomato puree and 1/2 cup thickly sliced pearl onions or regular onions.
  • Now add 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and a pinch of asafoetida.
  • Add 1.25 cups of water. stir very well.
  • Now pressure cook everything for 8 to 10 whistles or 12 to 15 minutes on a medium to high flame.
  • When the pressure settles down on its own in the cooker, open the lid of the cooker. Mash the cooked lentils with a spoon.

making tomato sambar

  • Keep the cooker on a low to medium flame. Now add the tamarind pulp to the cooker.
  • Add sambar powder. Season with salt as per taste. Mix very well
  • Add 1.5 to 2 cups water to thin the consistency. Stir well. You can add the amount of water as per your requirements. 
  • For idlis, you can make a slightly thin sambar and for rice, you can make a slightly thick tomato sambar.
  • Bring the sambar to a simmer and then add 1 or 2 slit green chilies.
  • Continue to simmer the sambar on a medium flame for 10 to 12 minutes or till you get the desired consistency. Cover and keep aside.

making tempering for tomato sambar

  • Heat 1 to 1.5 tbsp sesame oil or any other oil in a small pan. 
  • Add 1 tsp mustard seeds and crackle them. Keep the flame on low while tempering.
  • Then add 2 to 3 dry red chilies, 1 sprig of curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida. Saute till the red chilies change color and the curry leaves become crisp.
  • Pour the tempering in the sambar. Cover and keep aside for 5 minutes for the tempering flavors to infuse with the sambar.
  • Serve thakkali sambar hot with steamed rice or with idlis.

Notes

  • ¼ to 1/2 tsp of red chilli powder can also be added along with the sambar powder.
  • You can also add few mix veggies to the sambar.
  • Ghee can be used for tempering instead of oil.
  • You can also use yellow moong lentils or masoor dal (red/pink/orange lentils) instead of arhar dal.
  • If you do not have sambar powder, then add 1 tsp coriander powder, ¼ tsp cumin powder, ¼ tsp black pepper powder and ¼ to 1/2 tsp red chili powder.

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Dassana Amit

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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9 Comments

    1. I’ve got a question. If I want to triple the amount, do I just triple everything (including tamarind, hing, sambar powder etc’…) ? Or is there some nuance to it? Detailed info would be appreciated as I am new to cooking and don’t want to ruin the great taste of the original recipe 🙂

      1. tripling can be tricky, but you can try. the trickiness can come from the tamarind and sambar powder. the rest of the ingredients can be easily tripled. tamarind can be really tart and sour if its increased. so i would suggest to use only 2 teaspoons of tamarind. for sambar powder, add 2 tablespoons first. if you feel the aroma, taste and flavor is less, then add 1 to 2 teaspoons more. hope this helps.

  1. Hey I just found your page and am already loving it!!!!
    Just wanted to ask I’ve eaten some sambhar which tasted sweet and it was amazing. Can you please let me know the recipe for sweet sambhar.
    Thank you so much.

  2. HI, I was wanting to share this site with a friend, and was looking for the “About Us” link you used to have….. as I wanted to share about the people (you) behind it, as well as share the yummy recipes. Have you changed the site, or am I missing something??
    Kind regards Clare