Ayurvedic Sambar (Sambhar)


Sambhar is a unique side dish usually served with idli/dosa varieties in the southern regions of India. Every region in southern India has a unique way of preparing this dish and it is said that the recipe changes every 10 miles. Mostly, it is a lentil-based gravy (resembling lentil soup) traditionally made with toor dal, shallots, tomatoes, curry leaves, and a mix of robust spices combined in a powder form called Sambar Powder. This recipe has been modified by replacing some of the ingredients for more ayurvedic benefits.

Good for all doshas.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes
Serves: 4 Person


  • 1 cup Toor dal
  • ¼ cup Moong Dal
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 ½ chopped tomatoes
  • 5 to 6 curry leaves
  • 2 cups of your favorite vegetables chopped (cauliflower, carrots, radish, beans, bottle gourd, etc)
  • 1 T sambhar powder
  • 1 stalk of drumstick (moringa) cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 t ghee
  • 1 t mustard seeds
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • ¼ t asafoetida
  • ¼ t turmeric
  • 1 dried red chili
  • 1 T chopped fresh coriander
  • ½ T tamarind extract
  • ½ T fresh grated coconut
  • Salt to taste


  1. Pressure cook the toor dal and moong dal, mash well, and set aside
  2. In a saucepan, heat coconut oil and add mustard seeds.
  3. Wait till the mustard seeds sputter and add asafoetida, turmeric, curry leaves, grief chili and garlic
  4. Mix well and add shallots. Saute for 2 mins
  5. Add chopped tomatoes and saute well
  6. As tomatoes start to form a paste add sambar powder and about 1 T of water. Mix well
  7. Add the diced vegetables and drumsticks and saute well to coat with the masala paste
  8. Put a lid on the pan and steam for ⅔ minutes
  9. When the vegetables are half-cooked add the mashed dals and mix well
  10. Add 1 ½ cup of hot water and mix well.
  11. Add salt. Stir in the tamarind extract and allow the mixture to boil
  12. Let it simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Add more water if required to get the desired consistency.
  13. Turn off the flame and add ghee, coriander leaves, and fresh coconut.
  14. Give it a mix and serve hot.

Serving suggestions

Serve hot with Rice, Dosa or Idli.

Check out the Ayurvedic benefits of ingredients used in this recipe

Chinmayi Kulkarni

Chinmayi is a Nutritionist turned Marketer, with Masters in both Marketing and Nutrition. Her focus is to combine her knowledge to understand and evangelize Ayurveda.

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