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4.92 from 24 votes


A delicious gluten-free, vegan Sambar recipe to serve with Idli, dosa or vadas.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Brunch, Indian Cuisine, South Indian
Keyword: Dosa, Idli, Idli Sambar, Sambar
Servings: 6
Author: Gayatri Singh


Sambar Masala

  • 1 1/2 cup coriander seeds
  • 10 nos dried chillies
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp chana dal (chick-pea lentils)
  • 1 tbsp urad dal
  • 1 tbsp toor dal (piegon peas)
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 4 sprigs curry leaves

Ingredients for Sambar:

  • 1/4 cup mung lentils
  • 1/2 cup pigeon peas (toor dal)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 inch ginger crushed
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 cup radish diced (optional)
  • 1 nos tomato diced
  • 3 nos boiled drumsticks peeled and cut in 2 inch pieces
  • 1 nos potato medium diced
  • 2 tbsp sambar masala
  • 1 piece tamarind
  • 1 tsp jaggery powder optional
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 piece dried chilli
  • 1 tsp or to taste red chilli powder
  • A few curry leaves
  • 2 tsp oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • coriander for garnishing


Instructions for masala:

  • In a heavy-bottomed pan, dry roast the coriander seeds on a low flame until fragrant or light brown colour. Add the asafoetida to the coriander seeds and continue roasting for a few seconds or until fragrant. Transfer it to a plate. Add the turmeric powder to the roasted coriander seeds and let it cool.
  • Dry roast the curry leaves until crisp. Keep them aside.Then roast the red chillies for a few seconds and keep them aside.Dry roast all the ingredients one by one until they are light golden brown in colour and fragrant.Let them cool completely.
  • Grind the roasted ingredients into a fine powder.Let the ground powder cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Instructions for sambar:

  • Soak the tamarind in water and squeeze well to extract the juice and set aside.
  • Pressure cook the rinsed moong and pigeon lentils with 2 cups water for 3 whistles or boil in 5 cups of water till it’s cooked. Mash the cooked dal and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pot, add in the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and let them splutter. Add in the asafoetida and cumin seeds. Add in half of the curry leaves, onions and garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Now add in the potatoes, radish, drumsticks, and cook till the potatoes are halfway cooked. Now add in the red chilli powder, sambar masala and salt.
  • Saute for 2 more minutes. Now add the mashed lentils, jaggery, tomatoes, tamarind and water.
  • Boil the sambar for 5 minutes and then add the green peas and let it boil for another for 5 minutes. Garnish with coriander and serve hot with idlis.