South Indian Sambar Recipe: Quick and Easy

South Indian Sambar Recipe

Ingredients for South Indian Sambar Recipe

  1. Madras onions/pearl onions (peeled and heads removed) – 250 gms (if these onions are not available use two medium onions, peeled, destalked and sliced into thick slices)
  2. Drumsticks (cut into 3 inch pieces) – 2
  3. Tomato (cut into 8 pieces) – 1 medium
  4. Green chilly (destalked and slit) – 1 (You may add more if you like it hot or remove seeds of the chilly to make it milder)
  5. Curry leaves – 10-15
  6. Toor dal – 1 cup (125 gms)
  7. Tamarind paste – 1.5 teaspoons (If you are preparing fresh tamarind extract. Soak a lemon sized ball of tamarind in warm water for 10 minutes. Then extract the pulp from it by adding water and pressing with your fingers and strain it to remove pit, seeds etc)
  8. Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
  9. Dry Red chilly – 2 (remove stalks)

For the sambar masala

South Indian Sambar Recipe
  1. Dhaniya seeds – 2 tablespoons
  2. Channa dal – 1 tablespoon
  3. Fenugreek (methi seeds) – 7-8 grains
  4. Pepper – ½ teaspoon
  5. Dry Red Chilly – 1
  6. Grated fresh coconut – 4 table spoons
  7. Oil for frying masala – 1.5 teaspoons
  8. Oil for tadka and frying vegetables – 3 teaspoons
  9. Salt to taste
  10. ½ spoon of jaggery (optional if sambar becomes too sour)
  11. Chopped fresh coriander – a handful

Method of preparation of South Indian Sambar

Fry all the dry masalas in the oil till the channa dal becomes golden. Remove from heat and let it cool. Once cool, grind the fried masalas and coconut along with some water to make a paste.

  • In the meanwhile, heat oil for tempering in the pan of the cooker.
  • Add mustard seeds and red chilly.
  • Once the mustard seeds have sputtered, add the onions, green chilly, curry leaves and drumstick pieces.
  • Fry till onion becomes well roasted.
  • Then add tomatoes.
  • Fry for a couple of minutes.
  • Add tamarind pulp/ extract. If you add the pulp, then you need to add some water.
  • Once the mixture starts boiling, add salt and let it cook till the raw smell of tamarind is gone.
  • Add the ground mix to it.
  • Let it cook for 5-7 minutes. Add 3 cups of water and add the toor dal.
  • Close the cooker and cook with whistle on.
  • Once a cooker gives out 2 whistles, bring the flame down to an absolute minimum and let it cook for 10-12 minutes. Check to see if the taste is balanced or else add jaggery to reduce sourness and salt if required.
  • If sambar is too thick dilute with water
  • If sambar is excessively diluted, boil for a few minutes with the lid open till liquid evaporates
  • Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot.

Hint: If you do not have cooker pan, then:

  • Use a kadai and follow all the steps
  • And simply pressure cook the dal separately and add it to the boiling sambar mix.

Final Picture of South Indian Sambar Recipe

South Indian Sambar Recipe


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