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<em>Sambar</em> Related:   Asia, condiments & sauces, gluten-free, vegan, vegetables & legumes, vegetarian

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6–8 servings

Recipe courtesy of Tannishtha Sarkar. Sambar is a vegetable and lentil stew often served alongside dosas or on its own. It calls for several specialty ingredients and spices, which you can find in Indian markets or online.


  • ¾ cup toor dal (pigeon pea lentils)
  • 2–3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 teaspoons chana dal (chickpea lentils)
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • I teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 12 curry leaves
  • ½ teaspoon asafetida
  • 4 whole dried red chili peppers
  • 2 onions (preferably red), sliced
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • Drumsticks (saragawa vegetable, also known as moringa), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (optional): pumpkin/butternut squash, eggplant, carrots, beans, all cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons sambar powder
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro


  • Rinse the toor dal. Add the water to a saucepan, and stir in the toor dal and the turmeric. (How much water you use determines how thick the sambar is; use less water for a thicker sambar.) Bring to a boil and cook until the dal becomes soft and mushy. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet and add the chana dal. Cook for about 30 seconds, then add the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds pop, add the fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, asafetida and chili peppers. Cook for a few more seconds. Now add the sliced onions and chopped garlic and sauté for a few minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes, drumsticks, optional vegetables and sambar powder, and stir quickly. Add the tamarind paste and salt, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Now add the toor dal mixture and blend all the ingredients well. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the drumstick pieces are soft and cooked through. When the sambar is done, garnish it with fresh cilantro. Serve with the dosas.

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