south Indian sambar with vegetables

25th June 2009


Sambar is another Indian dish that I regularly make and I serve with dosa or with rice.   You can experiment with any type of seasonal vegetables you have on hand or whatever is abundant in your garden.  Whole green mung beans can be used instead of the yellow lentils.

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south indian sambar with vegetables

Toor Dal is a yellow split lentil which has a wonderful, slightly sweet taste.  If you do not have toor dal, use split moong dal or red lentils.  I kept the vegetables chunky to give it real substance. Sambar Powder, jaggery (Indian sugar), fresh curry leaves and tamarind paste can be bought from any Indian store.

Preparation – 45 minutes

Serves 3 – 4  


½ cup toor dal

4 – 6 cups water

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp ghee/oil

1 medium carrot (cut into rounds)

1 medium zucchini (cut into large chunks)

½ red bell pepper (roughly chopped)

a handful of beans (finely chopped)

2 heaped Tbsp jaggery/sugar

1 heaped tsp fine rock salt

fresh coriander

sambar – coconut paste

1½ heaped tsp sambar powder (or more to taste)

1 tsp tamarind concentrate

¼ cup shredded dried coconut

1 cup water


2 Tbsp ghee/oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

8 fresh curry leaves

¼ tsp asafoetida powder (hingu)


1.  In a heavy-bottomed saucepan wash the dal until the water runs clear, add water, bring to boil, then reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes, then add the vegetables.

2.  Simmer until the dal breaks down and vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes.  If it becomes too dry, just add a little water.

sambar – coconut paste

3.  Place in an upright blender, dried coconut, tamarind paste, sambar powder and 1 cup water – blend into a smooth paste – approximately 1 minute. 

4.  Pour into the dal and use a cup of the liquid from the dal to swish the blender clean. 


5.  In a small pan, heat the ghee, when hot, add the mustard seeds, wait until they splutter and pop and then add the curry leaves, and asafoetida.

6.  Pour the voggarane over the dal, add the jaggery, salt – mix and cover with a lid and allow to sit for 5 minutes for the flavours to come together.

7.  Stir in the coriander.  If you have kale or spinach in your garden, this is a nice addition as well. Taste and adjust by adding more tamarind, jaggery and salt.


Goodness shared from Stacey

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1 comment

  • Anna Gatmon

    Just made this as an early Shabbat Dinner for Leon and me. A wonderful way to wind down and start the weekend. Yummy! So nourishing and grounding. Beans, red pepper, zucchini, and carrots were fresh from the farmers market. Sending love and blessings to you and family.

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