Vegetable Sambar Using Ready Sambar Masala

Vegetable Sambar Using Ready Sambar Powder

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Vegetable Sambar








My sambar making skills are as recent as 6 months old. This is how I cooked it the first time round and since it turned out so well, I have stuck to it.

here’s a fail safe sambar recipe which tastes yummy, is healthy and pretty authentic

A note on the sambar powder used. I know that homemade spice blends are unbeatable when it comes to taste but I have read many South Indian food bloggers who write that the MTR brand of masalas are as good as what you would make yourself. ‘Why fix it if it ain’t broke?’ is my philosophy so for bisi bele bhath, rasam and sambar, I use MTR brand of ready powder.

If you would like to make your own sambar masala, here are some links.

As for the vegetables, I tend to favour one pot meals and so to ensure that I get my share of 5 a day, my recipes usually involve plenty of vegetables. This sambar recipe includes onion, tomato, pumpkin, drumstick, okra and aubergine. You can add or subtract as per your preference but don’t skip the onion and tomato.

Sambar goes well with idli, dosa, paniyaram, uttapam or even plain rice. We had ours with some non-rice idli (recipe coming up next).


1.5 Cups toovar dal (split pigeon peas)

1 Tablespoon fenugreek seeds

1 + 1 Teaspoon turmeric powder

4 Large onion or 10-12 Pearl/Sambar/Button onion

4 Tomato

150 Grams pumpkin

4 Drumstick

10-12 Okra

8 Baby aubergine

1 Tablespoon mustard seeds

2 Teaspoons asafoetida

1/4 Cup fresh curry leaves

1 Tablespoon chilli powder

2 Tablespoons sambar powder

2 Tablespoons tamarind paste

1 Tablespoon oil

Salt to taste


  1. Soak the toovar dal and fenugreek seeds for 4 to 6 hours.
  2. Add one teaspoon turmeric powder and a pinch of salt and boil till soft. You can either do this in a pressure cooker or on the stove.
  3. When you are ready to make the sambar, prep the vegetables.
  4. Peel and wash the onion. If using the large variety, quarter them and cut each quarter in half so you end up with large chunks. If using pearl/button/sambar onion, leave them whole.
  5. Wash and chop the tomato.
  6. Wash and cut the drumstick into 2-3 inch pieces.
  7. Wash and cube the pumpkin. No need to peel, the skin tastes good.
  8. Wipe each okra with a damp cloth, remove the top and cut in half.
  9. Wash and quarter baby aubergine and leave it in water to prevent it from discolouring.
  10. Wash the curry leaves.
  11. Heat the oil in a large pot.
  12. Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat and add mustard seeds.
  13. Once the seeds start crackling, add asafoetida followed by the curry leaves.
  14. Stir for 30 seconds.
  15. Add the onion, salt to taste and 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder.
  16. Mix well, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  17. Next, add the tomato, again mix well, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  18. After this, add the pumpkin and drumstick, cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
  19. Uncover, add the cooked toovar dal, tamarind paste, chilli powder, sambar powder, okra, aubergine, salt to taste and about 2 cups of water.
  20. Turn the heat to high and bring the sambar to rolling boil.
  21. Once it starts bubbling, turn down the heat, cover and cook the sambar for about 20 minutes.
  22. Take the pot off the gas and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  23. Enjoy hot.


  1. You can adjust the quantity of tamarind, chilli powder and sambar powder according to your personal taste.
  2. The consistency of sambar should be neither too thick nor too watery. The water measurement given here is an indication, please feel free to use your own judgement.
  3. You can cook the toovar dal ahead of time.
  4. Wiping the okra instead of washing them ensures that they don’t become sticky once cooked.
  5. Any leftovers can be refrigerated. It tastes just as good the following day.


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