Sambar – A South Indian Soup

After a visit to a restaurant that specializes in Dosa – a South Indian dish, I decided to try it at home. Although I was not very successful with the actual dosa, I was however able to make the standard accompanying dishes successfully. The usual companion dishes to dosa are: Sambar – a soup made with dal and vegetables, coconut chutney, tomato chutney, spiced potatoes. Here are some pictures of the sambar I made along with the recipe. The recipe I followed is from Manjula’s Kitchen. If you have never visited her page or watched one of her video, I would highly recommend her for all types of Indian vegetarian recipes 🙂

South Indian Soup, Vegetarian

Here are some pictures from different stages of cooking.

Sambar - Tomatoes

Vegetables used are: carrots, red bell pepper, zucchini (courgette), kohlrabi (german turnip)

Sambar - Vegetables Sauteed

Sambar - Vegetables Being Cooked

Recipe for is as follows (Link:

Recipe will serve 4.


  • 1/2 cup toor dal/arhar dal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (haldi)

For Seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seed (methi)
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  • Pinch of asafetida (hing)
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 4 dry whole red chilies
  • 1 large tomato cubed in small pieces
  • Approx. 1-½ cup mixed vegetables cubed in bite size (green beans, carrot, Zucchini, radish)
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sambar powder, available in any Indian grocery store


  1. Wash and soak dal in about 2 cups of water for 10 minutes or longer.
  2. In pressure cooker add soaked dal, about 2-1/2 cups of water, salt and turmeric then cook on medium high heat.
  3. As the pressure cooker starts steaming reduce the temperature to medium and cook for another 6 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and wait until steam has escaped before opening the pressure cooker. Dal should be soft and mushy.
  5. Mix dal well enough so there are no lumps. If dal is thick add up to 1 cup of water.

Prepare Seasoning

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Test the heat by adding one cumin seed to the oil; if it cracks immediately, the oil is ready.
  2. Add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafetida, red chilies, and curry leaves, and then stir for a few seconds.
  3. Add tomatoes, vegetables, sambar powder, tamarind pulp and ½ cup water.
  4. Covered the pan and let the vegetables cook till they are tender over medium heat.
  5. Add the vegetables and dal together to make the Sambar. Sambar should be thin and have the consistency of soup. If the sambar is thick, add water as needed. Cook sambar on low heat for 10-15 minutes.

Serve Sambar with dosa, idli, rice or with any meal as a side.

She also has a video for those who would like it 🙂

2 responses to “Sambar – A South Indian Soup

  1. Pingback: Onion-Tomato Chutney! | Culinary Adventures of The Twisted Chef T·

  2. Pingback: Curry broth (soup) with vegetables – zuppa al curry – Post Christmas dinner binge… | Chocolate Spoon & The Camera·

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