Sambar for Tiffin

Sambar is the most popular side dish for idli, or dosa (particularly masal dosa) all over India. But it is typically prepared by south Indians; others used to feel that their sambar is not as delicious as the one prepared by south Indians.

IMG_9564So here is the recipe for simple and delicious sambar that is a perfect accompaniment for idli, dosa, vada, vennpongal or kichadi:

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 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.

Please Note:

  • 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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