“Instant” Sambar:


This is a quick and delicious version of sambar that is best served with idlis or dosais. If you are ever invited for a Tamilian wedding breakfast, you would surely be served this sambar.

But hey, why wait till then? You can make it at home quite easily!




  1. Tuvar dal – 1/2 cup
  2. Masur dal – 1/2 cup
  3. Onions – 1 medium-sized one
  4. Tomatoes – 2
  5. Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp.
  6. Sambar powder – 1 tsp.
  7. Asafoetida – 1/4 tsp.
  8. Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp.
  9. Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp.
  10. Fenugreek seeds – a pinch
  11. Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  12. Salt to taste


  1. Soak the dals in cold water for about 1/2 an hour.
  2. Boil the soaked dal in plenty of water and turmeric powder until soft and mushy. Or you could pressure cook them.
  3. Chop the onion and tomatoes and keep aside.
  4. In a wok, heat the oil.
  5. When hot, add the mustard seeds and the fenugreek seeds.
  6. When all the mustard seeds have crackled, add the onions and sauté until pale brown.
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes and salt to taste.
  8. And the curry leaves.
  9. When they soften, add the sambar powder and the asafoetida powder. Sauté for a minute more.
  10. Add the cooked dals and salt to taste.
  11. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat.

Serve hot with idlis or dosais.


2 thoughts on ““Instant” Sambar:

  1. Anita, I tried your Sāmbhar recipe. It was de-li-cious! Changes here, apart from my own recipe, added the delicious flavor and taste! I make it almost the same way; however, fenugreek is in the Sāmbhar masala itself. Having the fenugreek seeds in the “baghar” added a great touch to the dish! Also, I use only toor dhal generally. But the blend of toor and masoor brought me the consistency that I have tasted in the homes of my Iyengar friends! 🙂 Since my family likes Sāmbhar a wee bit sour, I added little tamarind juice towards the end. I added also a little bit of fresh coconut while frying the onion.

    Very nice dish! Now I will make this with your idli recipe next weekend! Next, I must try the Chicken Chettinad for my son. Thank you for sharing these really special recipes. With stuff all over the Internet, it’s hard to find a place I can trust dishes to come out great. I have it here.


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