Mixed Vegetable Sambar is a popular South Indian lentil stew that we prepare with yellow lentils and mixed veggies, and flavored with spices, tamarind and fresh curry leaves. It is commonly paired with rice, idli and dosa. It is one of those easy recipe you can make on weekdays too.
In south of India, Mixed Vegetable Sambar is prepared in several different ways and every region I believe has their own special way of preparing Sambar.
I won't claim mine to be authentic and can't even put it in any region, as I am not a South Indian. However, I have been eating Mixed Vegetable Sambar since I was a child, as my Mom made Dosa very frequently. And this how she made sambar, simple straight forward loaded with vegetables and flavored with sambar powder.
Pipping hot sambar with ghee tadka is very satisfying and soothing after a tiring day. So give it a try, if you haven't already.
Ingredients I used for Mixed Vegetable Sambar
Toor Dal - Pigeon peas are used to make Sambar and you can either boil it along with the vegetables or separately in a pressure cooker. I follow the method of boiling the dal separately.
Vegetables - Tomatoes, Carrots, Drumstick (not to be confused with chicken drumstick) and pearl onion. These are the basic vegetables I use more frequently, but you can add green beans and eggplant and radish too.
Garlic and Curry Leaves - Fresh garlic along with fresh curry leaves is used to prepare the sambar.
Sambar Powder - I sometime use homemade sambar powder and some days, I just use the store bought.
Concentrated tamarind paste - The specialty of Sambar is its mild tangy taste that comes from using tamarind paste. The spicy sambar powder, with the tangy tamarind, creates a lovely balance.
I like to give a good doze of ghee tadka at the end using my homemade ghee, black mustard seeds, dry red chili and fresh curry leaves.
Steps to prepare Sambar
- Wash a toor dal a few times to remove any dirt. Then boil it in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes with salt.
- In a heavy bottom pan on medium heat, pour the oil along with chopped garlic and fresh curry leaves. Let it sizzle for a while.
3. Add the all the chopped vegetables along with onion and tomato and stir it around.
4. Season with salt, turmeric and add the sambar powder. Cook the vegetables for a few minutes to soften it down.
5. Once the vegetables are cooked, pour the boiled lentils and mix it around.
6. Add the tamarind paste and mix it around.
7. If the sambar looks too thick, add water to thin out the consistency. Also check for salt and add more if needed. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
8. Finally, make tadka in a pan with ghee black mustard seeds, dry red chili and fresh curry leaves. Once it starts to sizzle, pour the tadka on the sambar and mix it around.
My favorite way to enjoy sambar is with soft and fluffy idly.
Yes! Sambar is healthy. Fresh curry leaves, mustard seeds, turmeric powder, has some health benefit that have help in digestion and improve body immunity.
Making sambar powder at home is very easy. It is a blend of roasted coriander seeds, toor dal, chana dal, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and few more spices which adds to this unique taste and enhances the taste of sambar.
Yes! There are various different versions of sambar and some regions do make it without onion or garlic. They instead use freshly grated coconut.
- ½ cup Toor Dal/ Pigeon pea
- 1 Tomato
- 1 carrot
- 3 Drumsticks vegetables, sliced into 2 inch length
- Few fresh curry leaves
- ½ cup Baby onion
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder
- 1 and ½ tablespoon Sambar powder
- 2 tablespoon Tamarind paste
- Salt to taste
- tablespoon Oil
- 2 Tbsp ghee
- ½ teaspoon Black mustard seeds
- Few dry red chilies
- Few fresh curry leaves
- Wash the toor dal and boil the dal with little salt.
- Chop the carrot and tomato into bit chunky bites. Finely chop the garlic, and peel the baby onions.
- While the dal is boiling, start cooking the vegetables In a heavy bottom pan, pour the oil and add the garlic along with curry leaves. Stir it around for a while.
- Add the onion, tomato, drumsticks, carrots and salt. Stir it around.
- Sprinkle the turmeric powder, sambar powder and cook for 5 minutes to soften the vegetables.
- Pour the boiled lentil, and add water to thin out the consistency. Add the tamarind paste and let the sambar simmer for 5 minutes.
- Finally, make the tadka by heating ghee in a pan, add black mustard seeds, dry red chili and curry leaves. Let it sizzle for a few seconds and then pour it on the sambar and stir it around.
- Taste for salt and add more if needed.