Thursday, February 21, 2013


This recipe has an interesting background.Those were the days when I was a college pass out and joined Cognizant as Entry Level Trainee.There were not much responsibilities and I had lot of free time in my hand. I used to read several magazines and note down the recipes in a diary.This is one such recipe.My mom was out of town and my uncle paid sudden visit to our house. My mom had already prepared idli batter. So I made this sambar before they arrived and served with dosa for breakfast.After that I left for office and my uncle had his lunch in a nearby hotel (Our house was at walkable distance from a famous hotel at Adyar).He had come to a conclusion that I had bought the sambar from this hotel.Though I was upset to know that he could not believe that I can cook, in a way I was happy that my sambar was close to the sambar of a popular hotel. After all it is the recipe for Hotel Sambar! 

Hotel Sambar

Toor dhal: 1/2 cup
Onion: 1 small
Tomato: 1 medium
Tamarind: a small lemon sized
Green Chilli: 1
Salt: to taste
Turmeric powder: a pinch
Asafoetida: a pinch
Any vegetable (Drumstick/Radish): 1/2 cup (optional)

For the sambar masala

Shallots(Small onions/Sambar onions): 2
Channa dal : 1 tsp
Coriander seeds: 2 tsp
Red chillies: 5 to 6
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Pepper: 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek:1/8 tsp
Poppy seeds (Kasakasa): 1/4 tsp (optional)
Grate coconut: 1 tablespoon

For tempering
Oil: 2 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Red chilli: 1 or 2
Curry leaves: a sprig

  1. Cook the toor dhal with turmeric powder and enough water for 3 whistles in a pressure cooker
  2. Add a little oil in a pan and fry the channa dhal, coriander seeds ,red chillies, cumin seeds, pepper, fenugreek and poppy seeds.
  3. Finally add the grated coconut and fry for a minute
  4. Remove from the pan and keep this aside
  5. In the same pan add 1/2 tsp of oil and fry 2 or 3 shallots until golden brown
  6. Allow this to cool and grind together (both the masala and fried shallots) to a smooth paste
  7. Heat 2 tsp of oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. Once its starts spluttering add curry leaves and a broken red chilli
  8. Fry the chopped onions until it becomes translucent
  9. Add the tomatoes and fry well
  10. If adding any vegetables, it can be added at this stage. make sure that you pre cook the vegetable in enough water before adding
  11. Add the tamarind extract and dilute with a 1 cup of water
  12. Add salt and asafietida and allow bring it to a boil
  13. Cook in medium flame for 5 minutes
  14. Now add the ground masala .
  15. Also add the dhal and mix well
Step by Step Pictures:
Sambar Restaurant Style
Fry the masala

Sambar Restaurant Style
Fry the onions and grind everything together

Sambar Restaurant Style
Fry onions and tomato

Sambar Restaurant Style
Add drumstick/radish (optional) and fry

Add tamarind extract, salt, hing and turmeric powder

Add cooked dhal and ground masala
The recipe is very similar to vengayam arachuvita sambar. Cumin seeds and tomatoes are the additional ingredients added.
More than with rice, I felt that this sambar goes well with tiffin varieties

Checkout the quick version of sambar in pressure cooker


  1. मेरी सबसे पसन्दीदा सब्जी है। my favourite.......

  2. Love this ever with mini idlies...

  3. Nice sambar! Enjoyed reading our flashback! :)

  4. hmmmmmmmmmmmm yum yum delicious and flavourful sambar.

  5. Now its 1 pm here and this makes me hungry...:(..Delicious sambar and fluffy idlis..

  6. Aww take that as a compliment only that you could recreate the same magic..Looks delicious..

  7. Looks extremely yumm & inviting!!!
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  8. Love tiffin sambar... Nice one with spongy idlis

  9. Sambar masala looks very refreshing and yummy.

  10. Nice recipe dear..sambar looks yummy n flavorful!

  11. That is a nice compliment from your uncle :)
    Sambar looks awesome.

  12. Yummy flavorful sambhar,lovely!!

  13. Wow looks so inviting.... Bookmarked.. Lovely cute bucket... First time here... When u get time do drop at mine

    href="" > Event: Dish name starts with Q till Feb 28th</a

  14. woowww Hotel sambar :)Yummyyyy

  15. Rubhi posena pulusu in telughu,andhra recipe ethu,well xplained,same time manjal pusanikai and verkadalai pottu panrathu than perfect,its our traditional dish also

    1. Thanks Sangeta.
      I guess both carry the same meaning. In Tamil we call Arachuvita sambar or Araithu vitta sambar.

  16. how many red chillies for grinding the sambar masala we have to put?

  17. Super recipe. I like to taste sambhar from Adyar hotel too..