Udupi Sambar with freshly made Udupi Sambar Powder

Udupi sambar Recipe with step by step photos. Udupi sambar is a lightly sweet, semi spiced, tangy and a flavorful sambar made with pigeon pea lentils and mixed vegetables. Vegan recipe.

I have had udupi sambar many times in the udupi restaurants in Mumbai as well as bangalore. Then I never liked the mild sweetness that would be in the sambar.

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udipi sambar

At home the sambars we made were never sweet. So, I could not figure out why jaggery in the sambar. after years, I have started to relish and enjoy the subtle sweetness in sambar and even in dal and kadhis.

The udipi sambar is famous after the temple town of udupi. udupi city is famous for its sai krishna temple and udupi cuisine. Udupi cuisine is purely vegetarian.

Whenever you are looking for purely vegetarian restaurant in south India then the tag of udupi restaurant means they serve totally vegetarian food. similarly in north India the ‘vaishno’ tag with a dhaba or restaurant, means they serve purely vegetarian food.

Udupi food is satvik without the use of onion and garlic. the famous masala dosa has its origin in udupi cuisine and here now I am sharing the recipe of udupi sambar.

I have added small sambar onions to the recipe but you can skip it you want a satvik & a no onion no garlic sambar.

Fresh roasted spices are used in the recipe. these spices are ground later to a smooth paste along with coconut. As we all know when we add fresh spices to any food, magic happens. You don’t need to add any ready sambar powder to make the udupi sambar.

Unlike the Kerala sambarThis udupi sambar has a slight sweet taste with a bit of spiciness. It also has coconut in it. Lightly spiced, sour, slightly sweet and aromatic. It is served with idlis or dosa. Also goes well with some steamed rice.

Here I have added veggies like drumsticks, aubergines, bottle gourd (lauki) and sambar onions. Do use veggies which are generally used in sambar. The recipe is very easy and simple to make.

udipi sambar recipe

I served the udupi sambar with some rice as well as mysore masala dosa.

P.s – here’s one interesting and endearing post I read on Udupi cuisine….  going back to one’s roots.

Making udupi sambar powder

1. Keep all the ingredients required for making sambar powder ready. The ingredients required are 3 teaspoons coriander seeds, 2 teaspoons urad dal, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon chana dal, ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds, ⅛ teaspoon asafoetida (hing) and 3 to 4 dry red chilies. Do note that as a reader had suggested in the comments, you can also add 1 teaspoon fennel seeds.

udipi sambar recipe

2. Dry roast only the spices mentioned above for the sambar powder on a low flame till they become aromatic.

udipi sambar recipe

3. when cooled, add the roasted spices in a grinder jar. Also add ⅓ cup water (or as required) and ¼ cup grated coconut. Grind to a fine paste. You can also use desiccated coconut instead of fresh coconut.

udipi sambar recipe

4. This is how the paste will look like.

udipi sambar recipe

How to make udupi sambar

5. In a pressure cooker add ⅓ cup tuvar dal (arhar dal or pigeon pea lentils) and ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder.

udipi sambar recipe

6. Add 2 cups water and pressure cook the dal for 7 to 8 whistles in medium flame or till the dal is well cooked and softened.

udipi sambar recipe

7. Meanwhile when the dal is cooking, soak 1 tablespoon tightly packed tamarind in ⅓ cup hot water.

udipi sambar recipe

8. Once the pressure settles down, then remove the lid.

udipi sambar recipe

10. Mash the dal with a wired whisk or a spoon. keep aside.

udipi sambar recipe

11. In another pan, mix 5 to 6 quartered sambar onions (pearl onions), 1 chopped carrot, ½ cup chopped lauki (bottle gourd), 2 to 3 quartered small brinjals, 1 to 2 drumsticks peeled and cut into 3 to 4 inch pieces, 8 to 10 curry leaves and 1 medium-sized tomato diced. Also add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder.

udipi sambar recipe

12. Next add 2 cups water.

udipi sambar recipe

13. Cover the pan.

udipi sambar recipe

14. Cook till the veggies are almost done.

udipi sambar recipe

15. Add the mashed dal to the veggies.

udipi sambar recipe

16. Stir and mix well.

udipi sambar recipe

17. Squeeze the tamarind pulp.

udipi sambar recipe

18. Stir and add the tamarind pulp. You can also use a mesh strainer.

udipi sambar recipe

19. Next add the ground udupi sambar masala paste.

udipi sambar recipe

20. If required you can add some water. I added ¼ cup water. Also add salt as required.

udipi sambar recipe

21. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons jaggery powder or grated jaggery.

udipi sambar recipe

22. Stir and mix well.

udipi sambar recipe

23. Simmer for some 10-12 minutes or more. You have to simmer till the raw aroma of the tamarind has disappeared and the whole flavors in the sambar have merged with each other. Check the taste and if required add more salt.

udipi sambar recipe

Making tempering for udupi sambar

24. Heat oil in a small pan. Splutter 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds.

udipi sambar recipe

25. Then add 2 dry red chilies, 8 to 10 curry leaves and 1 generous pinch of asafoetida (hing).

udipi sambar recipe

26. Fry for some seconds.

udipi sambar recipe

27. Pour the tempering mixture in the udupi sambar.

udipi sambar recipe

28. Stir and mix well.

udipi sambar recipe

29. Cover the pan with a lid for a few minutes, so that the tempering flavors get mixed with the udupi sambar.

udipi sambar recipe

30. Serve with idli, dosa or steamed rice.

udipi sambar
More Samar varieties

STEP BY STEP PHOTOS ABOVEMany of my recipes have detailed step by step photos and useful tips to help you make it easily and perfectly.

Udupi Sambar

4.89 from 9 votes
Udupi sambar is a lightly sweet, semi spiced, tangy and a flavorful sambar made with pigeon pea lentils and mixed vegetables
udupi sambar recipe
Author:Dassana Amit
Prep Time:30 mins
Cook Time:20 mins
Total Time:50 mins
Course:main course
Cuisine:south indian
Servings (change the number to scale):4
(1 CUP = 250 ML)


main ingredients

  • cup arhar dal (tuvar dal or pigeon pea lentils)
  • 2 cups water for pressure cooking dal
  • 5 to 6 sambar onions (shallots) or 1 medium sized onion - quartered (optional)
  • 1 carrot - peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup chopped bottle gourd (lauki or opo squash)
  • 2 to 3 small brinjals (baingan or eggplant) - quartered
  • 1 or 2 drumsticks - peeled and cut into 3 or 4 inch pieces
  • 1 medium sized tomato - diced
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon tightly packed tamarind soaked in ⅓ cup hot water
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons jaggery or as add as required
  • 2 cups water for cooking veggies
  • salt as required

for udupi sambar powder

  • 3 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons urad dal (husked and split black gram)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chana dal (husked and split bengal gram)
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
  • teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
  • 3 to 4 byadagi dry red chilies or kashmiri red chilies
  • ¼ cup grated fresh coconut or desiccated coconut
  • cup water for grinding or add as required

for tempering

  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • a generous pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves
  • 1 or 1.5 tablespoons vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • some coriander leaves for garnish (optional)


making udupi sambar powder

  • Dry roast only the spices mentioned under sambar powder.
  • When cooled, grind to a fine paste with some water along with grated coconut.

making udupi sambar

  • Pressure cook tuvar dal with 2 cups water with ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder for 7 to 8 whistles on medium flame. 
  • When the dal is cooked and soft, mash the dal with a wired whisk or a spoon. keep aside.
  • In another pan, mix the chopped veggies, 2 cups water, turmeric powder, salt and cook till the veggies are almost done.
  • Add the mashed dal to the veggies.
  • Stir and add the tamarind pulp followed by the sambar masala paste. if required you can add some water.
  • Add the jaggery also and stir.
  • Simmer for some 10-12 minutes or more, till the raw aroma of the tamarind has disappeared and the whole flavors in the sambar have merged with each other.
  • Taste and if required add salt.

making tempering for udupi sambar

  • Heat oil. first splutter the mustard seeds.
  • Then add the red chilies, curry leaves and asafoetida.
  • Fry for some seconds and pour the tempering mixture in the udupi sambar.
  • Cover the pan with a lid for a few minutes, so that the tempering flavors get mixed with the udupi sambar.
  • Serve hot with idli, dosa or steamed rice.
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Dassana Amit

Dassana Amitnamaste and welcome to vegrecipesofindia.com which i started in feb 2009 and is a pure vegetarian blog. i have been passionate about cooking from childhood and began to cook from the age of 10. later having enrolled in 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 formally trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.

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28 comments/reviews

  1. Hi Dassana,
    Could you please tell if it 3 tsp coriander seeds or three tablespoons, as in the picture the quantity appeared less..
    Thank you..

    • its 3 teaspoons coriander seeds. thank you for letting me know. its a typo error on my part. so you can use 3 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds.

  2. Can you tell me in grams measure of tuvar dal and sambar onions. Also what kind of dry chillies you used in your recipe. I just finished cooking tomato sambar of yours. Very very tasty.Thanks for the recipe of tomato sambar.Next time I want to try udupi sambar.

    • barb, half cup tuvar dal is 95 grams. sambar onions in weight is about 35 to 40 grams. you can add more sambar onions if you want. here i have used stick chilies. they are medium spicy. for this recipe, i would suggest to use byadagi chilies. you can use 4 to 5 byadagi chilies. also thanks for the feedback on tomato sambar. nice to know ?

  3. Hi,

    When do you add sambar onion

    • the sambar onion is cooked with the remaining veggies.

  4. OMG! I just made the best Sambar ever. Thanks a lot Dassana and Amit.5 stars

    • Welcome Jo. thanks for sharing positive feedback.

  5. It was awesome dasanna, superb with rice and ghee thank you for this.5 stars

    • welcome ramesh.

  6. Awesome. It’s very tasty. My husband likes most. Thanks5 stars

    • welcome sejal

  7. Hi Dassana,

    All your recipes are very good. One key ingredient in the udupi sambar is 1 tbsp saunf to be ground with the sambar masala. I had a hotelier friend who had told me this.

    VV4 stars

    • hi vasanthi, thanks for sharing this info. i never knew saunf could be added to sambar masala. will try adding saunf and see the results.

  8. Awwwwwesome. Its very tasty.5 stars

    • thanks shalini

  9. Your recipe was too good. Taste was same as UDIPI restaurant. Ma’am just one confusion was there, when to add Jaggery. I added it after tamarind.

    Thank you.5 stars

    • thanks. what you did was right. the jaggery is added after the tamarind is added. jaggery can also be added towards the end once the tamarind has got cooked. i will update the post.

  10. Hey, it tasted yummy, thanks, must say u are a great cook.
    I have a request can u post recipe for pickle of lemon in which we first ground lemon in mixer.

    • thanks khushboo. i am not sure about the grinding part, but we do squeeze lemon juice in the lemons while making pickles. i shall update in some time.

  11. Hi, I have made many recipes from you blog and they have all been fabulous. However, I request your advice regarding Udipi Sambar. The dish turned out VERY unpleasantly acidic. I have not worked much with tamarind paste and am wondering if that is the culprit. My ingredients were purchased at the local India Grocery store (fresh curry leaves, fresh drumsticks, etc.) Perhaps I should have cooked the tamarind more? Any thoughts about how to ensure balance in this dish would be appreciated.

    • firstly thanks. secondly about the sambar…. i am sorry to hear this. as per what you mention “VERY unpleasantly acidic”, i think the sambar became too much sour to taste. i also feel tha tamarind was not cooked enough. the balance got awry here. since you have mentioned tamarind paste, i assume it would be store brought. tamarind paste is a thick concentrate and just 1 or 2 tsp would be enough for this recipe. i am giving you an approx proportion, since i have also not used tamarind paste more and the quality differs from brand to brand.

      what i use is dried tamarind which is easily available in india. this dried tamarind is soaked in water and then squeezed to get the pulp. so its not a concentrated form like tamarind paste. for making any recipe that use tamarind, i would suggest to go with smaller amounts like adding 1/2 tsp of the paste and then keep on adding more and checking the taste till you get the desired sourness and balance in the dish.

      a little extra sourness can be balanced by adding spice powders or salt or some extra water. even sugar or jaggery would reduce the sourness to some extent. but if its too much as i feel when you made the sambar, then not much can be done.

      if you cook the tamarind well, the raw acidic taste goes away, but the sourness will remain if too much of the paste or pulp is added. i hope the tamarind paste was good and not spoiled. did you taste it before adding to the sambar.

      hope next time when you make any dish with tamarind paste, it really comes out great.

  12. Dasanna,namaskara,hope you are keeping fine and bussy trying new dishes,please dasanna send me recipes for baingan ki sabji and bhendi masala,thanks and regards.

    • i have some bhindi recipes including bhindi masala and some with baingan on the blog already posted. you can search with the recipe name in the google search bar located on the top right side.

  13. gr8 one 🙂 dipping the idly in the sambhar must be tasty !

    • could be…

  14. Deliciously comforting!

  15. The sambar served in restaurants also always have this sweet taste and I’ve always loved it though I’ve never made it at home.This looks delicious!