Red Lentils Sambar

Traditionally sambar (for rice) is prepared using thuvaram paruppu (red gram/ toor dal), but here I have used masoor dal (red lentils) to prepare drumstick sambar mainly because it is a rich source of protein as it contains an important amino acid.

Red lentils are preferred over other lentils in restaurants as it adds more viscosity to sambar than any other lentils.

Cooking Time : 30 min

Yields : 600 ml

Ingredients :

  1. Red lentils (masoor dal) – 1/3 cup
  2. Tamarind – a gooseberry sized
  3. Drumsticks (murungai kai) – 2 Nos.
  4. Fenugreek (vendhayam) – 1 tsp
  5. Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
  6. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  7. Sambar powder – 1 tsp
  8. Asafoetida (perungayam/hing) – ¼ tsp
  9. Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
  10. Salt – 1 tsp
  11. Oil – 1 tbsp


Cooking Method :

  • Pressure cook red lentils (simmer for 8 min after bringing to high pressure) and mash with the back of a ladle.
  • Wash drumsticks & cut into 2-inch long pieces.
  • Extract tamarind juice & keep them aside.
  • Heat a heavy bottom pan with oil, add fenugreek seeds & fry them.
  • Add curry leaves followed by drumstick pieces.
  • Pour tamarind juice into the pan and add red chilli powder & turmeric powder.
  • Bring them to a boil in medium flame.
  • Cook drumstick pieces until their seeds become soft.
  • Add sambar powder, mashed lentil and combine together.
  • Add salt & asafotida and bring to a boil.
  • Garnish with tempering before serving.

Please Note:

As lentils cause flatulence for some people the following tips may be useful for them:

  • Soaking lentils for 6 hours or more and wash them well before pressure cooking.
  • Adding chopped coriander leaves generously just before removing from heat.

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