tomato sambar recipe, how to make tomato sambar| thakkali sambar recipe

5 from 1 vote

tomato sambar recipe is a delicious variation of south indian sambar made with tomatoes and lentils. tomato sambar can be served with south indian snacks like idli, dosa, medu vada. tomato sambar can also be served with rice.

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tomato sambar recipe with step by step photos – a delicious variation of sambar made with tomatoes and lentils.

tomato sambar thakkali sambar

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. i have already shared the onion sambar recipe.

in this tomato sambar recipe, 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

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

tomato sambar recipe below:

tomato sambar thakkali sambar
5 from 1 vote
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tomato sambar recipe | thakkali sambar recipe

tomato sambar recipe is a delicious variation of south indian sambar made with tomatoes and lentils. tomato sambar can be served with south indian snacks like idli, dosa, medu vada. tomato sambar can also be served with rice.

course main course
cuisine south indian
prep time 20 minutes
cook time 20 minutes
total time 40 minutes
servings 3 to 4
author dassana

ingredients (1 cup = 250 ml)

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 (haldi)
  • 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 for tomato sambar

  • 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 tomato sambar:

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

how to make recipe

preparation for tomato sambar

  1. first soak 1 tsp tamarind in 3 tbsp hot water for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. after 15 to 20 minutes squeeze the soaked tamarind pulp. filter and keep aside.
  3. meanwhile when the tamarind is soaking, take 1.5 cups roughly chopped tomatoes in a mixer or blender jar.
  4. puree the chopped tomatoes to a smooth consistency. keep aside.

cooking lentils for sambar

  1. in a bowl, rinse ⅓ cup tuvar dal a couple of times.
  2. 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.
  3. now add 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and a pinch of asafoetida.
  4. add 1.25 cups of water. stir very well.

  5. now pressure cook everything for 8 to 10 whistles or 12 to 15 minutes on a medium to high flame.
  6. 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

  1. keep the cooker on a low to medium flame. now add the tamarind pulp to the cooker.
  2. add sambar powder.
  3. season with salt as per taste. mix very well
  4. add 1.5 to 2 cups water to thin the consistency. stir well. you can add the amount of water as per your requirements. 

  5. for idlis, you can make a slightly thin sambar and for rice, you can make a slightly thick tomato sambar.

  6. bring the sambar to a simmer and then add 1 or 2 slit green chilies.
  7. continue to simmer the tomato sambar on medium flame for 10 to 12 minutes or till you get the desired consistency. cover and keep aside.

making tempering for tomato sambar

  1. heat 1 to 1.5 tbsp sesame oil or any other oil in a small pan. 

  2. add 1 tsp mustard seeds and crackle them. keep the flame on low while tempering.

  3. 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.
  4. pour the tempering in the tomato sambar. cover and keep aside for 5 minutes for the tempering flavors to infuse with the sambar.
  5. serve tomato sambar hot with steamed rice or with idlis.

recipe notes

tips for making tomato sambar recipe:

  • 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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how to make tomato sambar recipe:

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 a couple of times and keep aside.

dal for tomato sambar recipe

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

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 medium flame for 10 to 12 minutes or till you get the desired consistency. cover and keep aside.

making tomato sambar recipe

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 idlis or dosa. you can also garnish tomato sambar with coriander leaves if you want.

tomato 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 surely enhanced my cooking & baking skills which i now share as fool proof recipes on the blog. i am trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.


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  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. hey in this recipe. do we need to add the tamarind pulp or the water in which it was soaked?

    • ashwini you could add both the tamarind pulp and also the water if you wish. hope this help’s you.

  3. 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

    • thanks claire. the about section we removed from the top menu bar as wanted only the important recipe sections and category to come on top. however, here is the link to our about page – https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/about/