Sambar for Tiffin

Sambar is the most popular side dish for idli, or dosa typically prepared by south Indians. Others used to feel that their sambar is not as delicious as the one prepared by south Indians. So I have shared a fail-safe recipe for making delicious sambar that is a perfect accompaniment for idli, masal dosa, vennpongal, kichadi, or medhu vadai.


Cooking Time: 30 min

Serves : 3


  1. Split green gram (moong dal or paasi paruppu) – 1/2 cup (100 g)
  2. Onion – 1 No.
  3. Tomato – 3 Nos.
  4. Green chilli – 1 or 2 No.
  5. Chilli powder – 1 tsp
  6. Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  7. Oil – 1 tbsp
  8. Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
  9. Red chillies – 2 Nos
  10. Asafoetida – a pinch
  11. Sambar powder – 1/2 tsp
  12. Coriander leaves – few sprigs
  13. Salt – 1 tsp


  • Slit green chillies, chop onions into long slices and chop tomatoes into small pieces.
  • Wash green gram & add water (300 ml) into it.
  • And then add chilli powder, turmeric powder, green chillies, onions & tomatoes.
  • Pressure cook this lentil mixture (simmer for 7 min. after bringing to high pressure).
  • Mix sambar powder with water (1/4 cup) and keep aside.
  • Heat a cooking pot (with heavy bottom) with oil, add mustard seeds when they start crackling, add snapped red chillies & asafoetida powder and fry for 5 sec.
  • Pour the water mixed with sambar powder and bring to a boil.
  • Mash the cooked lentil mixture with the back of a ladle nicely.
  • Add mashed lentil & sufficient water to get pouring consistency and bring to a boil.
  • Close the pot with a lid and simmer for 5 min and turn off the stove.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves & serve hot sambar with any tiffin.

Tips for making restaurant style delicious flavorful sambar:

  • Red chillies & sambar powder are important ingredients for the restaurant style taste & flavor.
  • You can add shallots (sambar vengayam or chinna vengayam) instead of onion.
  • You may use masoor dal instead of moong dal but you have to reduce lentil by 10% as it adds more viscosity than other lentils and follow the same recipe above.
  • If you want sambar to be more flavorful you can use roasted asafoetida (hing) block in place of hing powder.

Tips & Tweaks:

  • You can add curry leaves and/or coriander leaves.
  • If you want to add tamarind juice, you may have to reduce tomatoes accordingly.
  • If you allow sambar to boil after adding coriander leaves, coriander leaves may start to taste bitter.
  • Sambar gets thickened after a while, so it is better to make it little watery.
  • You can also add steamed (or cooked) vegetables like drumsticks, red pumpkins (manjal poosani), ridge gourd (peerk/ peerkangai), eggplant (kathrikai), carrot, beans or potato; sambar prepared with vegetables goes well with pongal or kichadi.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Another great looking recipe!

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks ! 🙂

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