My Treasure…My Pleasure

Authentic Kerala Cuisine & much more…

Kerala Sambar

Posted by Annita on August 30, 2006

As Onam is approaching,I would like to share some recipes that can be used for Sadya.So thought to start with Sambar itself.Kerala Sambar is very much different from that of its neighbouring states.For us,sambar is also a mixed vegetable dish just like aviyal.My amma usually makes Sambar to finish off the leftover vegetables.

Idli Sambar
Kerala Sambar

The vegetables mostly added to Sambar are the following :

  • Potato
  • Plantain
  • Yam
  • Snake gourd
  • Carrot
  • DrumSticks
  • Okra/Lady’s Finger
  • Beans
  • Cucumber
  • Bottle gourd
  • Ash Gourd
  • Ivy Gourd(Kovakka)
  • Tomato
  • Pumpkin
  • Brinjal etc

You don’t have to get all these vegetables to prepare Sambar.The combination and choice of vegetables is purely according to the chef’s taste.And here’s how i make my Sambar…


Mixed Veggies cut into bite sized pieces – 3-4 cups
(I’ve added 1 potato,1 carrot,1 drumstick,1/2 plantain,1 small brinjal,4 okra,1 tomato ,some ivy gourd,snake gourd ,and a few bottlegourd pieces)
Toor Dal – 1 cup
Sliced Onion – 1/2
Green chillies slit – 2
Tamarind – gooseberry sized ball
Chopped coriander leaves – 2 tsp(Optional)
Asafoetida(Kaayam) – a pinch
Ghee/Oil to add with dal – 1/2 tsp (Optional)

Sambar Masala:-
I don’t use any Sambar Masala.Instead i mix all the following powders and prepare my own sambar masala.

Red chilly powder – 1 tsp
Coriander POwder – 2 tsp
Cumin powder -1/4 tsp(Optional)
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek powder – a pinch

For Popping:-

Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
Red chillies – 3
Curry Leaves – a sprig
Oil – as needed


Soak tamarind in 1/2 cup of warm water for sometime,squeeze and take the extract from it.Keep aside.Cook the dal in a pressure cooker,adding required water,salt,1/2 tsp of ghee/oil,sliced onion and green chillies.When the dal is done ,remove the lid and add in the tamarind juice and asafoetida ,stir and simmer for some more time ,so that the dal is mashed well.Now throw in the cut veggies and cook till they are done adding water if needed.(No need to pressure cook the veggies as it can be over cooked sometimes).Mix in the sambar powder and simmer for 5-10 mts.Check for salt and add if needed.Add chopped coriander leaves and simmer for 2 more mts.Switch off the stove and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan and allow mustard seeds to splutter.Add red chillies and curry leaves and fry for a minute.Now add the seasoning to the sambar,mix well and serve hot with Idli,Dosa,vada or steamed rice.

Idli Sambar
Sambar served with Idli and Coconut Chutney

See Indira’s three-step process of making Sambar here.

42 Responses to “Kerala Sambar”

  1. Rg said

    I’ve never ever heard of plantain, snakegourd, bottlegourd,Kovakka and beans being added to sambar, not separately and not even all together….it’s totally new to me. sounds healthy though as there are lot of vegees in just one curry. thanks for sharing annita.

    You can add almost anything ,other than bitter gourd or something like that. But use only the veggies you love,otherwise you wont feel like eating it..

    And what are your plans for Onam?Sadya undaakkunnille?


  2. MenuToday said

    Hi Annita,
    Very good way of making sambar with mixing all powders. Thanks for sharing.Your onion chutney recipe also nice.

    Thanks Menu today,You are always kind to me.

  3. prema said

    Hi Anita,
    Kerala sambar with Idlis and chutney looks yummy…My mom makes this kind of sambar with all vegetables for every sankaranthiWe call it ‘pongal festival’.I havent tried with many veggies as I make sambar with one or two vegetables.. Ur recipe looks nice and I remember my mother’s .Thanks for the recipe..

    I too started to cook Sambar with one or two veggies nowadays,may be the inspiration from my fellow bloggers.Its really good to know different Sambar recipes,rt?


  4. giniann said

    My sambhar never turns out good. Never has the kick that sambhar is supposed to have. I should try making it your way.

    Try it out sometime and let me know whether u’ve liked it or not.


  5. Asha said

    Sambar looks mouthwatering! Perfectly goes with idli,dosa and chutney. Never get tired of any kind of sambar recipes. More please… :) Thanks!

    Thanks Asha..I’ll definitely post more  sambar recipes…


  6. Hey Annita, what a coinincidence— I also have Kerala sambhar in my blog:)

    Yeah.I just saw that Priya…Its really a coincidence..Great minds think alike..:))


  7. shaheen said

    yummy , onam is making me hungry. can u blog about chakka pradamam?

    What are your plans for Onam?I haven’t blogged about chakka pradaman yet.So check on Shynee’s link below for that,Shaheen.. You might be getting ready for Onam,rt?


  8. shynee said

    Hi Annita,you are almost ready with all items for Onam!! Somebody had asked me for the Kerala sambar recipe,I think I can now just give u’r link…You r right,sambar is often for us a curry to finish all the vegetables in the fridge!!I think I make it slightly different…Hope you dont mind me answering shaheen’s request above…I have already posted the prathaman recipe in the chakkavaratty post.
    Hope she may find it useful.

    Thanks for giving me the link too,but no way i can prepare chakka prathaman,as i dont get good jackfruits here.What r the plans for Onam?


  9. “sambar is often for us a curry to finish all the vegetables in the fridge”

    NO WAY!!! Sambar is the secret of my energy:) u r a smabar lover,huh?And I’m happy to know that u had a belated Onam Sadya


  10. Vidya Shiva said

    i just tried your recipe and its turned out well.grt recipe.thnks.god bless.

    Thanks Vidya and many thanks  for letting me know about it.


  11. lms120 said

    hi annita, thankyou so much for sharing all these recipes with us and not just keeping it to urself :) i tried ur butter chicken and sambar recipe and it came out really good. ur website is very helpful for newly married wives who are away from their families. thanks again for doing this. God bless u and ur family abundantly.

    Thank you very much lms.Do visit my blog often ..

  12. rajesh parakkoth said

    hi thanks for the sambar recipe…looks pretty similar to kind that my mom makes…gonna try to make and see if i am able to impress my wife :-)…


  13. […] Annita […]

  14. meera said

    not interseted. In kerala sambar coconut must be an important ingredient.

  15. Nimitha said

    I make almost similar one, the difference is I add dal to the boiling vegitables. The sambhar powder part is just like my mom’s instruction.. After chancing upon food blogs of you and a few bloggers, cooking has become my creative outlet now :)

  16. Babitha said

    Hi Annita

    I have tried sambhar in many ways, but its not up to the mark. Gonna try ur way today. Meanwhile could you suggest which sambar powder tastes good…

  17. Fancy Chef said

    And I started cooking again! started with Sambar and used your recipe as I almost forgot the steps. Good effort. I made a very good sambar :-D Keep blogging. Thanks a lot!

  18. Sella Manian said

    Thanks for easy and wonderful recipe.. I have never cooked sambar on my own but this recipe was so easy and I tried it yesterday! It turn out to be so well!

    Happy to hear that from you,Sella..Thanks for visit my blog

  19. shree said

    hey…am new to luking up recipes and cuking…the sambhar turned out real gud….i added mangoes n carrots n caulifowers and it turned just fine!

    thank you!

  20. renson said

    it was good ,the taste of homeland. thanx but i am still lookin for the taste of sambar i had from a small thatched roof hotel run by an old man. it didnot hav much of veg in it, but it was the best sambar i ever had. still lookin for it………i rmeber it had a mix taste of rasam and sambar. Anyway thanx and come out with more.

  21. Sudha said

    First time to ur blog, ur recipe reminds me of my mum, she also uses all powders to prepare sambar coz before she was a working person. Nice recipe.Thx for sharing.
    Happy Onam

  22. hn said

    hi anitta,
    i have been visiting ur website since the past 2/3 dayss…and already, i’m a big fan of urs! ;)
    i hav jus strtd i find it little difficult to know certain types of dals..etc..

    my question is if we can use masoor dal instead of toor dal for this recipe..


  23. sajitha said

    hey, isnt coconut required? i guess its required for that authentic n traditional kerala sambar..what u have suggested is typical tamil sambar…

  24. I am looking for some summer job in a nice beach hotel. working hard all day, and partying at the beach each night. Care to join me to gather a group?

  25. Chandra said

    Dear Anitha,

    I was always eating from restaurants as I was averse to the time spent in cooking food at home. Also even if I put time and effort I was not sure how the outcome will be. But with the help of your blogs and cooking techniques I started cooking at home and enjoying the fruits of the labour. It also brings to light, how the restaurants ( usually in US of A ) where we are having a buffet system robs us of our money by serving buffet items not sold as regular a -la- carte items. Thanks very much for your wonderful recipes and I will ask questions if any… Please be patient enough to answer them.. :-)


  26. Shibu Raj Punna said

    Hello Anitha,
    Thanks for the recipe.
    Actually I am looking for VARUTHARACHA SAMBAR, MALABAR STYLE. Though I prefer the no coconut sambar, sometimes I prefer the coconut roasted sambar which our family members, as well as people of Malabar region, enjoy with rice. I could have asked my mom about the method. But as I wanted to surprise everyone with my varutharacha sambar preparation, thought like to go through you before doing it myself.
    So please add the coconut variety too as one more addition to Kerala sambar which is really different from the sambars of other states.

  27. Deepa said

    Tried the sambar..loved it..I have put a picture in my blog..

  28. Satheesh said

    Hi , Annita , My wife started cooking very nice and i was wondering what is the secret , then she told me she is trying your style of cooking , and i really taste nice … Thanks for the website .

    Satheesh and Lakshmi
    3357 W Lone Cactus Dr
    Phoenix , Az , 85027 , USA
    623 398 7911

  29. Satheesh said

    Hi , Annita , My wife started cooking very nice and i was wondering what is the secret , then she told me she is trying your style of cooking , and it really taste nice … Thanks for the website .

    Satheesh and Lakshmi
    3357 W Lone Cactus Dr
    Phoenix , Az , 85027 , USA
    623 398 7911

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  32. preethy said

    Hi anita your recipes are just and my husband live in canada ,the first thing what i tried is kallappam and it turned out really good.i have been trying to look for nadan thattu dosas recipe..could you kindly put an awesome recipe for nadan thattu dosas ..thankyou ..
    love & god bless

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  35. Nivedita said

    Thank you very much! I made this sambar for my friends and they simply loved it!! I am really thankful for all the simple dishes you have on your site…makes life easy for novice cooks like me :-)

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  40. […] Kerala Sambar « My Treasure…My Pleasure – Aug 30, 2006 · August 31, 2006 at 5:55 am. Hi Anita, Kerala sambar with Idlis and chutney looks yummy…My mom makes this kind of sambar with all vegetables for …… […]

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