Sambar with Sambar Powder


Sambar is a very popular lentil soup served with idlis or rice. There are many different ways of making it. I think every family has their favorite recipe for making this. This is my aayi’s version. We usually serve this with idlis. She usually adds only onions, potatoes and tomatoes while serving with idlis. She adds other vegetables to it while serving with rice. She makes this Sambar with Sambar Powder which she makes in big quantities and stores. You can also use any store bought sambar powder.


Sambar is a spicy lentil soup served with idlis or rice
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 3 -4


  • 3/4 cup toor dal
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1/4 cup tomato
  • 1/4 cup potato
  • 1 tea spn sambar powder home made or store bought
  • Vegetables optional - carrot, green beans, drumstick etc
  • A pinch turmeric
  • Oil
  • 1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
  • A pinch asafoetida
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • 2-3 strands coriander leaves
  • Salt


  • Cook toor dal with turmeric. Cook potato, tomato and onion separately, I mean do not mix them with dal while cooking. (If you have the cooker vessels, use the down one for the dal and the upper one for vegetables. This way the dal cooks faster than the vegetables). Around 3-4 whistles are enough in cooker. (If using microwave, cook both separately one after the other).
  • Mash the dal with a spoon. Add the vegetables to dal and add sufficient water (this sambar tastes good when the dal is cooked well and mashed well).
  • Heat the dal, vegetables mixture. Add salt. When it starts boiling, add the sambar powder (Do not hold the entire packet of sambar powder on boiling sambar. The steam gets into the packet and the powder gets spoiled. So use spoon to take out the powder away from the boiling sambar and then add the powder). Add the chopped coriander leaves and cook for 2-3mins.
  • Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they start popping, add asafoetida and curry leaves (tear the curry leaves into two to increase the aroma). Add this seasoning to Sambar and immediately close the lid.

 I like to use homemade sambar powder to make sambar. Click here for sambar powder recipe.

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