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Sambhar – South Indian Style Dhal

I had no idea what sambhar was until my travels to India.  I just couldn’t get enough of it needless to say I literally drank it in litres…yes I did 🙂  back home in South Africa I found it difficult to get hold of a good packet of sambhar masala hence the birth of my sambhar masala mix.  Since introducing it to my family and friends, they too have now become sambhar

Sambhar  - South Indian dhal

Sambhar – South Indian dhal

Preparation:     10 – minutes

Cooking time:   45 – 60 minutes

Serves:              6 – 8


1 ½ cups toor dal or pea dhal

1 litre water (add more while boiling)

40 ml vegetable oil or ghee.

¼ tsp mustard seeds

¼ tsp cumin seeds

Pinch of fenugreek seeds

2 red chillies

2 green chillies

1 small onion diced

1 sprig curry leaves

1 tsp garlic & ginger

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1 or 2 tbsp sambhar powder

2 drumsticks cut into 5 cm pieces

½ small carrot diced

½ cup diced butternut

1 medium tomato diced

¼ cup thick tamarind extract

½ cup chopped coriander

Sambhar Powder (Roast and Grind)

Dry red chillies – 3 cups

Coriander seeds – 2   cups

Bengal gram dhal ¼ cup

Urad Dhal – 1 tbsp

(De husked black gram dhal)

Black pepper – 1 Tsp

Fenugreek seed – ½ tsp

Curry leaves – 2-3 cups

Dry turmeric root – I piece or (1 tbsp turmeric powder.

Do not roast powdered turmeric)

Asafoetida – 1 piece (cm square)

  • Dry roast each ingredient separately until flavour emanates.
  • Grind together in a spice or coffee grinder
  • Store in an airtight container.

Let’s cook 🙂

  • Carefully remove any grit from lentils. Wash out thoroughly and boil until tender and mashed.   The drumstick should be boiled along with lentils.
  • In a separate sauce pan. Heat oil – add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, chillies and asafetida fry until mustard seeds it pops. Add in onions, curry leaves, garlic & ginger, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and sambhar powder – give it a quick stir.
  • Toss in carrots and butternut – sauté for a minute or two
  • Add tomatoes – cook for a few minutes.
  • Add tamarind extract –  as well as boiled lentils and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves

Best served with Dosa or Idli or plain white rice.


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This entry was posted on July 9, 2015 by in Vegetarian.
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