Udipi sambhar & sambhar basics

I'm big fan of stews -- like pulusu ,kolumbu ,sambhar ,rasam etc. They are must for me to call a complete meal.
My kid loves them. ofcourse he thinks and says that his 'Amamma' grandmother prepares best sambhar  :) I second his opinion , love my mom's sambhar. 

This is one of sambhar recipes i have ,which my family likes a lot. Difference between regular and this is the powder . My mom don't add much onions (sometimes no onions at all) ,but i like adding small onions to this.

Sambhar taste depends on 3 things

1. Sambar Powder  : this is important ,Right combination of spices will give great flavor.Prepare in advance in large quantities .

2. Good vegetable combination :  Based on vegetables you are using your sambhar tastes different

Best vegetable combinations to add are

 lady's finger + tomato+ potatoes (sweet potatoes are even more better)
drum sticks+ tomato + coconut
dosakaya ( yellow cucumber ) + tomato
sorakaya /Dudi  aka bottle gourd + tomato + pumpkins (any tpe)
Squash + mango (my mom prepares with ripe mango also... it tastes good)
Brinjals/ Eggplants + tomato + raw mango(small quantities)

tomatoes and onions can be used with any vegetables.

3. Dal /Lentils : using Moong (green gram)or toor dal  or masoor dal also impacts taste. Each lentil gives different flavor.


1 cup lentils ( toor/mung/red lentils)
1 tsp tamarind paste (add more if you want a tangy flavour)
chopped veggies 2-3 cups

For sambhar powder (udipi style )
1 tsp methi / fenugreek seeds
2 tsp coriander /dhaniya seeds
1/2 tsp black pepper  (reduce this if you want less hot)
2-3 red peppers
1 tsp urad dal /black gram
curry leaves

grated coconut

1 tsp mustered seeds
1/2 tsp methi /fenugreek seeds
1 or 2 red chiles
 curry leaves


Cut  vegetables ,pick any veggies of your choice

cook dal in a pressure cooker. Let it cool

heat 1 tsp of ghee( if you don't have ghee ,use regular oil like peanut or sesame) ,add all the above except cocunut and roast them. keep in medium heat and Don't burn them.

add cocunut and switch off the heat.keep it aside and let it cool.

 grind it to fine powder. add cooked dal and run your grinder once.
add water if needed

Now  in a deep vessel ,add a tsp ghee ,add all veggies.
fry for a couple of mins.
add  1/2 cup water enough to cover vegetable.Don't add more water.
add tamarind  paste and salt
cover with lid and let vegetables become tender.

now add the dal + powdered paste

add enough water ( 2 -3 cups of water)  ,adjust salt
 let it boil. .

i prefer keeping it in meduim heat ,so that the smell of sambhar is all around my kitchen :)

add seasoning :
heat oil /ghee a small pan,  add seasoning ingredients except hing /Asafoetida and curry leaves
when seeds splutter add Asafoetida and curry leaves.

add this to sambhar

garnish with cilantro.