Sambar (Lentil & vegiie Soup) Without coconut

Posted by Rini Raj

Sambar is a most common dish in Kerala. I hope my amma makes sambar almost every alternate day. But i make it very less here... as i am not a veggie lover. Sambar in Kerala differs a lot from Sambar we see in our neighbouring states.. Last time when i was in Banglore during my vacation, I happened to be in a newly opened Indian restuarant there. It was very beautiful place, i dont remeber the name now though... There i saw a menu item as National Soup and i tried that ... Surprisingly it was just Sambar!!!!

For Sambar u can add a variety of vegetables. The most commonly added ones are Brinjal, Potato, Bitter Gourd, DrumSticks, Ash gourd ( Kumblanga) , Lady's Finger, Carrot, Yam ( Chembu) ..

Adding 2-3 pieces of bitter gourd ( kaypakka) to sambar really enhances the taste of the dish.

This is a recipe where coconut is not added. Sambar can also be made with grated coconut. i will post another recipe for that...


Mixed Vegetables cut into medium pieces - 2 cup
Tamarind - Gooseberry sized ball - put it in water ahead of time.
Toor daal - 1/2 cup
Onion - If big onion - 1 diced / Small red onions - 9-10 diced
Tomato - 1 medium sized or 2 small
Green Chilli - 2-3
lady's Finger - diced 3-4
Cilantro leaves plenty
Curry leaves plenty
Mustard Seeds
Red chilli - 1-2

Sambar Masala
- If using Sambar Masala, use a good one and add some more spices to it. I dont like using just the store bought ones

Red Chilli Powder - 1tsp
Corriander Powder - 2-3 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1tsp
Fenu Greek - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida(Kaayam) - < 1/4 tsp
Cumin Powder - a pinch

In a pot bring the dal to boil adding a pinch of turmeric and salt. When cooked keep it aside

In a small bowl either add some hot water to tamarind or add some water to tamarind and microwave for 30 seconds to make it soft and when cooled down squeeze the water out and keep aside.

In a pan add some coconut oil ( or any other oil) and then add diced onion, tomato, green chilli, bitter gourd, and lady's finger and saute it for 3-4 mnts. The veggie's should not loose their green color. Keep veggies aside and then in the same pan add a little oil and put all the masala and saute for 1-2 mnts. The masala should not get burned. Add one or 2 tsp of water to this masala and make a fine thick paste. So that masala wont get clotted when added to sambar.

When daal is done add the tamarind water and when boiled add the veggies to it and add salt to taste. When veggies are done add the paste of masala and let it boil for 3-4 mnts. Then add the chopped cilantro leaves and a few curry leaves. Then cover the cooking pot and keep aside. This will lock the flavors of cilantro to the dish .

In a small pan add few oil and then add mustard seeds, red chilli and curry leaves and when all mustard seeds are spluttered, add that to curry and close it.

Mix the curry well before serving .