Sambar is a lentil-based vegetable curry, cooked with tamarind broth, originating from South India. It is popular in South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisines. Each state in South India has it’s own version of Sambar. You can make Sambar with or without coconut. This delicious Sambar comes from Malabar region with coconut and flavoured with coconut oil.

This curry can be prepared without coconut. I will be sharing the recipe of the same shortly

Sambar is healthy curry and rich in protein, fibre and essential nutrients. It has perfect blend of veggies and coconut with lentils which makes this dish highly nutritious. This is one curry which is a MUST dish for any South Indian feast. Sambar completes the feast

I have very fond memories of this curry as this was THE only curry I used to have as a kid, I liked non veg but among veg curries, only Sambar was my favorite. My mom used to make this 6 days a week for me to the extent that one day my sis and dad revolted having to eat sambar daily with rice šŸ˜› šŸ˜€ . My mom used to then make it once in 3 days and store in air tight container and warm it as required. Since this contains coconut and veggies, it is recommended to use the curry within 2 days and any leftover should be immediately refrigerated. Now in my family, my kid loves Udupi Sambar more than Kerala Sambar. I will be sharing of Udupi dishes too shortly

Some of the commonly used veggies in the curry is white pumpkin, yellow cucumber, Shallots, Brinjals(Egg plant), Ladies Finger, Drumsticks, Onions, tomatoes, yellow pumpkin, beetroot, carrot

* You can substitute coconut oil but as I mentioned earlier,. the flavor of any Kerala dishes comes from Coconut oil so do not substitute for authentic taste

** This curry can be cooked with Toor Dal (Split Pigeon pea lentils) or Moong Dal ( Yellow Split Gram ) or mix of both lentils. This dish can be cooked in Instant pot/Regular pan too, Pressure cooker speeds up cooking process.

Preparation time: 25 mins Cooking time: 40 mins Total time: 65 mins

Servings: 4


  • 1/3 cupĀ Toor Daal ( Split Pigeon pea lentils )
  • 1Ā Lemon sized Tamarind ball
  • 2 cupsĀ cubed Vegetables (White pumpkin, yellow Cucumber, brinjal, carrots, lady’s finger etc)
  • 4-5Ā Drumstick pieces cut lengthwise
  • 1Ā chopped Tomato
  • 1Ā Green Chilies slit (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp+1/4 tspĀ Turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbspĀ chopped Coriander leaves

For Ground paste

  • 1/3 cup grated Coconut
  • 2 tsp Urad Dal ( Black Gram Skinned , split)
  • 2 tbsp Coconut oil
  • 4-5 dry Red Chilies
  • 1/4 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • 3 tablespoon Coriander seeds/Dhania seeds
  • 1 tbsp Chana Dal ( Bengal Gram Split lentil)
  • 4 Shallots or 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 sprig Curry Leaves

For Seasoning

  • 2 tsp Coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp Hing/Asafoetida
  • 1 sprig Curry Leaves
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds

Steps to prepare

  • Soak tamarind in warm water for 45 minutes , extract the tamarind pulp and discard tamarind
  • Clean toor dal 3-4 times in water. Discard the water  
  • In pressure cooker, add dal, 1/2 tsp turmeric and water. pressure cook until done  
  • Mash cooked dal. Keep it aside  
  • For Ground paste: Heat oil in a pan, add dals and fenugreek seeds. saute until brown  
  • Add coriander seeds, dry red chilies, curry leaves. Mix well for 1 minute
  • Add shallots/onion and mix
  • Add coconut and saute until golden brown  
  • Allow to cool completely  
  • Add cooled mixture with water to grinder
  • Grind it to smooth paste and keep it aside
  • Pressure cook vegetables for 1 whistle with little water and 1/4 tsp turmeric  
  • Add mashed dal, tamarind water to the vegetables
  • Add ladies finger and tomatoes to the cooker. Mix well
  • Add ground paste and salt. Mix well

  • Bring curry to boil
  • Simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes . Switch off
  • For Seasoning: Heat oil in a small pan. add hing and splutter mustard seeds  
  • Add dry red chillies and curry leaves. saute for 2-3 seconds.  

  • Add coriander leaves seasoning to sambhar. mix well.  
  • Serve hot with rice/idli/dosas etc
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_20190718_1651441052610019.jpg
Kerala Sambar
Posted by:Rekha Unni

Humble quirky soul embarking on beautiful journey of love called Life. Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies and I love experimenting with different types of foods. it's the love of cooking for my family which has made this hobby as one of my passions

One thought on “Kerala Sambar

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