Sambar – South Indian style vegan/gluten-free lentil soup with homemade spice mix, pairs perfectly with Idli/Vada/Dosa and side of coconut chutney.

Sambar is South Indian pigeon pea stew made with vegetables. It is one of the most commonly consumed dish in India. It was originated in South Indian/Sri Lankan regions, however it is very popular all over India. I have seen many different variations of Sambar over years, especially around what vegetables are used. I am one of those who does not like my Sambar too chunky with big vegetables. That being said, this recipe is not authentic and highly modified based on my and my families taste.


The key part of any Sambar is the spice mix, powder or paste. Once you get that right, you got the sambar down with no fuss! I love making the spice mix at home in big batch. Then keep it in the refrigerator upto 3-4 months. Once you have the spice mix ready, it is very easy to put this together. Serve this comforting soup/strew with Idli/Vada/Dosa and coconut chutney. I love serving this with our family favorite Quinoa Brown Rice Idli.


One of our favorite Sunday family brunch is all about Idli, Chutney and Sambar. I am not going to lie, we all devour on this deliciousness and then need a nap after that! I hope you try my modified version and like it as much as we do! If you end up making it and liking it, tag me on Instagram @myvegetarianroots. I would love to see your recreation of this comforting soup food!
Happy & Healthy Eating!


Sambar – South Indian style lentil soup with homemade spice mix, pairs perfectly with Idli/Vada/Dosa and side of coconut chutney.
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 5


Sambar Spice Mix

  • 2 tsp Coconut Oil
  • ½ cup Dry Whole Coriander
  • 2 tbsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tbsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • ¼ cup Dry Urad Dal black lentil
  • 2 tbsp Dry Chana Dal Split Chickpea Lentils
  • 20 large Fresh Curry Leaves
  • 20 Whole Dry Kashmiri Red Chilis the mild ones
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric Powder

Boiled Dal

  • cup Toor Dal washed and soaked for 30 minutes
  • ½ tsp Cumin Seeds
  • ½ tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • 6 cup Water DO NOT add this while boiling, add it after dal it boil when you blend the boiled dal and make it thin


  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • tsp Asafetida/Hing
  • 5 Fresh Curry Leaves
  • 1 cup Finely Chopped Yellow Onions
  • 1 cup Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Thai Green Chili & Ginger Paste skip this if making it kid friendly
  • 1 tsp Red Chili Powder use less or skip this if making it kid friendly
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 2 tsp Cumin Coriander Powder
  • tsp Salt
  • ¼ cup Sambar Spice Mix
  • ¾ cup Finely Chopped English Cucumber peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup Finely Chopped Cilantro
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice


Make Sambar Spice Mix

  • Dry roast everything listed under "Sambar Spice Mix" except turmeric powder on low heat for 5-7 minutes, or until ingredients start to deepen in color (but do not let them turn brown) and release aroma. Once roasted, let it cool down.
  • Once cooled down, mix in turmeric powder and blend it to powder.
  • Sambar spice mix is ready. The quantity you will get with this spice mix measurement is more than you would need for the sambar. You can store this in an air tight container/mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 months.

Boil Dal

  • Wash and soak toor dal in warm water for 30 minutes.
  • Pressure cook it with twice as much water, ½ tsp cumin seeds and ½ tsp fenugreek seeds. Make sure you boil it to smooth consistency, grainy dal consistency will not help with smooth sambar texture.
  • Once boiled, add 5-6 cups of warm water and blend it to smooth liquid. Keep it aside.

Make Sambar

  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a separate pan. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and fenugreek seeds.
  • Once the seeds start to pop, add curry leaves and asafetida.
  • Add finely chopped onions along with ½ tsp of salt. Saute on medium heat till they are translucent.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and saute till they become mushy and start to loose water.
  • Add ¼ cup of sambar spice mix, thai green chili & ginger paste, red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin-coriander powder, and 3 tsp of salt. Mix well and cook it until the oil starts to separate, do not burn it.
  • Add this onion/tomato spice mix to blended dal we prepared earlier. Mix very well and bring it to boil.
  • While the sambar is simmering, add finely chopped cucumber, cilantro and lemon juice. Mix well.
  • Serve it with idli/vada/dosa or just plain rice!

Spread the love