This tantalizing vegetable sambar recipe combines a lentil base with a savoury mixture of potatoes, eggplant, bottle gourd, onions, carrots, and tomatoes. It’s seasoned with sambar powder, cumin, mustard seed, and other spices, and topped with fresh parsley—the result is a wonderful blend of flavours. Sambar is a truly classic food, made for centuries and eaten by the Maharashtrian Tamils. You can enjoy it on its own or as a side, or try pairing it with idli!
Ingredients for a Vegetable Sambar
- 1 cup okra, cut into 1-inch-long pieces
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 medium-sized potatoes, cut into chunks
- ½ medium-sized eggplant, cut into chunks
- ½ medium-sized bottle gourd, cut into chunks
- 2 medium-sized onions, cut into quarters
- 1 medium-sized red onion, wedged
- 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 small carrots, cut into chunks
- 3 tbsp oil
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 2 tbsp brown mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp red chili powder
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp sambar powder
- 1 tbsp jaggery powder
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 cups water
- 3 cups prepared Toor Dal
How to Make a Vegetable Sambar
- Wash and prepare the vegetables.
- Preheat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds and stir-fry until thy start popping.
- Now, stir in the red chili powder, cumin seeds, turmeric, and garlic. Cook for 1 minute and then add potatoes, eggplant, bottle gourd, okra, onions, red onions, and carrot. Stir well and saute for 5 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and coconut milk. Sprinkle with sambar powder, salt, and jaggery. Add about two cups of water and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are fork-tender. Stir occasionally.
- Now, stir in the prepared dal and switch off the heat.
- Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with basmati rice.
Ingredients for the Toor Dal
- 1 cup yellow lentils
- 3 cups water
- 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium-sized tomato, diced
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp salt
How to Make Toor Dal
- Rinse and drain lentils. Place in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Pour in enough water to cover and bring it to a boil. Cook until soft. Remove from the heat and drain. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Set aside.
- Melt the ghee in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and stir-fry until translucent. Season with chilli flakes, turmeric, and salt. Give it a good stir and add tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes.
- Now, add lentils and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.