Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Idli Dosa Sambar

Idli Sambar (Arachuvitta sambar)

Idli and dosa are a staple in TamilNadu and I am sure they will get anyone who has tasted it before to drool just thinking about soft idlis, yummy sambar and delicious chutney. I recently heard a tamilian here say to him even if the restaurant does not serve good idli and dosa it is ok as long as the sambar is yummy. Such is the love for sambar and I would be lying if I said I did not like it. When growing up, my mom used to make delicious sambar that prompted me to eat so many dosas that she will have to make so many of them. A few people have asked me for recipe for idli sambar and finally here is how my mom makes it and now I make it. It is quite the same as the famous ‘arachuvita sambar’ made in Brahmin households. I would suggest you to use a variety of vegetables like drumstick, carrot, ‘avarakai’, eggplant etc. I did not have most of them but had an eggplant to use up. If you use other vegetables the process would still be the same. This sambar has been a hit in my family and also among my friends and always gets me great compliments. Loaded with vegetables and lentil and aromatic spices, it can fill you up in a healthy way. I have suggested certain quantities for the paste to grind. Depending on how much sambar you make (which depends on how diluted you like) and also depending on whether or not you prefer a lot of the freshly ground spices, you may have some paste left over. Just put it in an airtight container and stick it in the fridge to use for sambar next day or even add it to the vegetables you prepare. As ‘arachuvita sambar’ is also made during some festivals, on such occasions you can skip the onions.

4-5 pearl onions (sambar onion)
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
Turmeric powder
Couple of handful of vegetables of choice (like drumstick, aubergine, carrots etc.)
Few curry leaves
2 heaped teaspoons sambar powder
¼ cup toor dal, cooked
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
Salt to taste

For the paste:
3 tablespoon coriander seeds (dhania)
3 tablespoons channa dal
4-5 dry red chillies
½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
2 teaspoon grated coconut
2-3 pearl onions

To make the paste, fry all mentioned ingredients except coconut. It is easier to fry each of them separately as they take different length of time. Roast dhania until it starts to dance in the saucepan; roast channa dal until it turns golden brown; roast dry red chillies until they just start changing colour; roast fenugreek seeds until it turns slightly dark; add few drops of oil and fry the onions until it turns golden

Heat little oil in a kadai and add the mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add the pearl onions, turmeric powder, asafoetida, vegetables and stir

Add the sambar powder and give a quick stir

Add 2 cups of water, tamarind and curry leaves, cook covered until the vegetables are done

Add the ground paste, dal and salt and mix well. If needed add more water and boil

Serve hot with idli, dosa, pongal, upma or rice


  1. Hi veena,I follow ur recipes regularly.If iam right you seem to have missed tamarind paste in this recipe.

  2. Hello Jayasree, thanks for taking time to comment. I checked the post and tamarind paste is second on list of items and is added after my fourth photo. Thanks, please keep visiting :)