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This oil free version of the South Indian staple can be teamed with rice, dosas, idlis, uttapams and vadas.


  • ½ cup split pigeon peas (tuvar dal / arhar dal), soaked for 6 hours
  • 1 medium-sized tomato, cubed
  • 1 medium-sized onion, cubed
  • 2 medium-sized brinjals, cubed
  • 1 drumstick, cut into 3” long pieces
  • 2-3 ladies’ fingers, cut into ½” long pieces
  • 1 tbsp tamarind (imli) pulp
  • 1 tsp unrefined salt

For the Sambar Masala

  • 6-8 red chillies
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds (sabut dhania)
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
  • 1 tbsp split pigeon peas (tuvar dal / arhar dal)
  • 1 tbsp split Bengal gram (chana dal)
  • 1 tbsp split skinless black gram (dhuli urad dal)
  • 1 tsp turmeric (haldi) powder
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida (hing)

For the Tempering

  • 1 tsp mustard (rai) seeds
  • 6 curry leaves
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida (hing)


To prepare the sambar masala, dry roast all the ingredients until fragrant. Grind them to a fine paste in a blender with a little water. (You can also grind this into a powder (without adding water) in a larger quantity and keep it ready for future use).  Keep aside.

Drain and rinse the dal. Pressure cook for 1 whistle and then for 10 more minutes on Simmer. Steam the vegetables separately for 5-6 minutes and add them to the dal. Then, add the tamarind pulp, sambar masala, salt and 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.

Prepare the tempering by dry roasting the mustard seeds until they crackle. Add curry leaves and asafoetida. Add this to the sambar and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Serves 8-10


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