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best homemade sambar recipe for idli, dosa, rice, how to make sambar
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5 from 15 votes

Sambar Recipe | Hotel Style Sambar | Tiffin Sambar

Sambar is a popular and classic South Indian style lentil stew or soup that is packed with protein. Sambhar is my favorite comfort food that is hearty, healthy, and flavorful.
Sambar can be served with idli, vada, pongal, upma, dosa, medu vada, or almost any South Indian breakfast recipe or along with steamed rice (brown or white) for lunch and dinner.
Sambar is prepared mainly using pigeon pea (toor dal), vegetables of your choice, and a unique spice blend known as sambar powder. 
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, South Indian, sri lanka, Tamil Nadu
Servings: 6
Calories: 164kcal
Author: Kushi


  • 1 Pressure cooker


  • ¾ cup Toor dal (split pigeon pea)
  • 1 Onion , finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 Tomatoes, finley chopped
  • 1 Potato, finely chopped
  • 2 Green chilies slit
  • 2 sprig Curry leaves
  • 3 tablespoon Homemade sambar powder (or store bought), adjust the amount to taste.
  • Salt, to taste

For the tempering and garnish

  • 1 to 2 tablespoon Coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 8 Curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoon Coriander leaves or cilantro, finely chopped



  • Add toor dal with sufficient water (approx 2 ½ to 3 cups) and cook for 2 to 3 whistles on medium flame. One of high flame and two whistles on medium flame. You can even cook the dal in an instant pot.
    ¾ cup Toor dal (split pigeon pea)
  • Once the pressure releases naturally, open the lid and whisk the dal.


  • To the cooked dal, add onion, ginger, tomato, potato, green chilies, curry leaves, salt to taste, water for desired consistency, and mix. Bring this to a boil. Check out the video here.
    1 Onion , finely chopped, 1 tablespoon Ginger, finely chopped, 2 Tomatoes, finley chopped, 1 Potato, finely chopped, 2 Green chilies slit, 2 sprig Curry leaves
  • Add sambar powder (see tips), mix, and bring it to boil again. Simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes.
    3 tablespoon Homemade sambar powder, Salt, to taste


  • Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. When they start to splutter, add curry leaves and saute till it becomes crisp. Switch off the flame.
    1 to 2 tablespoon Coconut oil, 1 teaspoon Mustard seeds, 8 Curry leaves
  • Add this tempering to the sambar along with coriander leaves and mix. Switch off the flame. Sambar is ready. Serve hot and fresh, and enjoy.
    2 tablespoon Coriander leaves or cilantro, finely chopped


  • Press the SAUTE button on your instant pot. Add oil. When hot, add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves and saute for a few seconds.
  • To this, add dal, onion, ginger, tomato, potato, curry leaves, green chilies, sambar powder, salt along with 4 cups of water and mix well.
  • Close the lid of your IP with vent to sealing position and pressure cook on HIGH for 9 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
  • Open the lid. Garnish with cilantro and mix well. Serve hot and enjoy.



  • I have used tomatoes, so I skip adding tamarind pulp. You can substitute one for the other.
  • Tempering in my region is mainly done using coconut oil to give that traditional taste. Use the preferred oil of your choice.
  • Two important ingredients for flavorsome sambar are cilantro (coriander leaves) and curry leaves. Don’t miss adding them if you have them in the pantry.
  • I have kept my recipe super simple. You can check here for mixed vegetable sambar – best mom’s-style sambar.
  • To get that Udupi brahmin style or hotel-style taste, you can add a small piece of jaggery.
  • If you add sambar powder directly to hot dal, it may form lumps. To avoid this, mix the sambar powder with two to three tablespoons of water in a bowl and add it to the sambar.
  • If you do not want to make sambar powder at home, use sambar powder from your favorite store-bought brand.
  • The amount of sambar powder can be varied as per your liking. If you like yours spicier, add an additional 1 tablespoon of sambar powder.


Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Sodium: 58mg | Potassium: 511mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 428IU | Vitamin C: 57mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2mg