Vegetarian Concoctions

October 3, 2006

Mysore Sambhar

Filed under: Cookbooks, Indian, Karnataka, Main meals, Mixed Veggies, South Indian — Hema @ 1:21 pm

One of my favourite cookbooks DAKSHIN, by Chandra Padmanabhan had been lying on the counter- top without being used for a long time. I got this as a gift from my MIL 2 years back and have tried various recipes from this book with wonderful results each time.  This recipe for Mysore sambhar always caught my attention, since this was a new recipe to me. The only reason I had not tested this was because there was no tamarind in the list of ingredients and sambhar sans tamarind……hmmm? Yesterday, however I decided to go for it. I couldn’t help but add a little bit of tamarind never-the-less. I was quite impressed with the outcome. Though, the tamarind did add that little bit of taste that I like, I am pretty sure the recipe would have been as good if not better even without it.

Tur Dal  – 3/4 cup uncooked

Water – 3 cups

Beans – 1 2/3 cups

Potato – 1 medium

Green peas – 1 tbsp

Tamarind – 1/2 lime sized ball

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

Salt to taste

For the paste:

Dhania  – 1 tbsp

Grated coconut  – 6 tbsp

Hing –  1/2 tsp

Methi (fenugreek) seeds – 1 tsp

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Raw rice (soaked) – 1 tbsp

Red chillies – 6 nos

For tempering:

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Cumin – 1 tsp

Red chilli – 1

Curry leaves – 5-6 nos.

Cook the dal and soak the rice in water for about 15 minutes. Cut vegetables to about 1 inch size and boil in water. Add the tamarind and salt when the vegetables are half cooked and let it boil up together till the vegetables are fully cooked. Make a fine paste of all the ingredients listed with minimum water. The original recipe did not have methi (fenugreek) seeds, but I decided to add some for the flavour. Add turmeric and the paste to the veggies and let it simmer up for about 5 minutes on medium flame. Next add the dal and cook the sambhar for another 3-4 minutes. Temper with Mustard, cumin, red chilli and curry leaves and serve hot with rice.




  1. Hey Hema!! I have Dakshin book and I love it!! Yeah! sometimes they print little weird recipes, ur rt to add tamarind unless they suggest any other alternative!! Indian cooking is all abt the balance of hot,sour,sweet and salt,isn’t it? Looks good!!:D

    Comment by Asha — October 3, 2006 @ 2:44 pm

  2. Even I would be apprehensive about a sambar recipe that did not call for tamarind…rasam I can imagine but sambar !! Never heard of that, will try the original recipe when I am in an adventurous mood, but until then its a big Yes to tamarind 🙂 Thanks for the recipe

    Comment by Priya — October 3, 2006 @ 6:13 pm

  3. qutie interesting… I should admit that having lived 20 years of my life in Mysore, i havent come across tamarind free sambar… but am willing to try… and anotehr strange thing is there is no jaggery… again, strange by Mysore standards 🙂

    Comment by Vidya — October 3, 2006 @ 8:24 pm

  4. My husband was just telling me today that the Sambhar in mysore has jaggery, so I browsing thro the list for the same, interesting recipe, I will give it a try soon

    Comment by Shankari — October 3, 2006 @ 8:29 pm

  5. Hi Hema,

    Last two nights I cooked some made-up version of sabhar just because I was too lazy to follow a recipe – I think this one will cure me of laziness. Thanks for sharing – looks delicious.

    Comment by outofthegarden — October 3, 2006 @ 11:44 pm

  6. @ Asha
    Yes, it’s a very very nice book and you are absoulutely right about balancing out the flavours. Thanks.

    I am glad I am not the only one. Thanks!

    Thanks for this info. Now on I can add as much tamarind as i want without feeling guilty. Hmmm Jaggery? I would love to put some in there. How much do you suggest for this recipe? About 1/2 tbsp?

    Vidya just said the same thing! Thanks!

    Thanks. Make sure you add in more tamarind than listed and jaggery. Just makes it more authentic.

    Comment by Hema — October 4, 2006 @ 9:27 am

  7. I have the Dakshin book too. I bought it for the gorgeous pictures!! It has been sitting on a little book stand on my counter for the past 6 years, believe it or not. It is sticky and dusty from all the kitchen steam and grease, but I love it 🙂

    I’ve never tried this recipe from it, but your success is encouraging me to give it a try!


    Comment by Saffron Hut — October 5, 2006 @ 8:31 am

  8. hmmmm…. as a rule of thumb, i use use a marble size ball of jaggery for a small-lemon size ball of tamarind… again, this proportion changes from chef to chef…. the balance i look for is: more sour than sweet… just try a few proportions and see what suits you best.

    Comment by Vidya — October 6, 2006 @ 11:47 pm

  9. Hi Hema,
    Am blogging your sambar as a model recipe in the 1001 Sambar cookbook at

    /Thanks for the recipe

    Comment by Ramki — March 21, 2008 @ 9:32 pm

  10. I tried it today but it has raw smell and taste. Should we not roast the masala ingredients before grinding them? I added little jaggery too. Thanks for the recipe. I was looking for celery recipe and bumped into ur blog. will try the celery thokku. ur blog is awesome. pl share ur MIL’s method of cooking and keeping kitchen spic and span in couple of hrs. i desperately need the help to keep kitchen always clean and sink dishes free. i would really appreciate it.

    Comment by sai — October 13, 2009 @ 12:38 pm

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