SAMBAR (Lentils with Vegetables)

This is like soup, served hot, generally with Dosa, Idli, or rice. Add any vegetables that you like.

  • 1 cup Toor split dark yellow dal
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 eggplant (or any other vegetable)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste mixed with 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon oil


  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 whole red chili
  • 3 teaspoons Chana dal
  • 1 tablespoon un-sweetened grated coconut
  •  1/4 teaspoon asafetida powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds


  • 1 tablespoon chopped curry leaves

Pick over 'dal' for any foreign matter; rinse a couple of times and drain.

Cook the 'dal' in about 6 cups water in a large pot, adding salt and turmeric powder, until tender.

Roast the remaining seasonings, except mustard seeds, lightly; grind them together. Set aside. (This is called Sambar Powder and can be bought from any Indian grocery store.) Cut the vegetables into 1/2" pieces.

Heat the oil in a medium pot. Saute mustard seeds. Add onions and stir until light brown. Stir in carrots and eggplant (or any other vegetable). When half cooked, add the tamarind paste mixed with water; cook until the vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes).

Blend in the ground seasonings and curry leaves. Add everything to the cooked 'dal'; boil together for a couple of minutes. Add more water, if needed, to bring to soupy consistency.

Makes about 12 servings, cup each. Per serving
Nutritive Value: 80 calories, 4 g protein, 13 g carb, 1 g fiber, 1.5 g fat, 0 mg chol.
Food Group Exchange: Legumes/Meat, Vegetable, 1/8 Fat.