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5 from 1 vote

Kerala Sambar

Kerala Sambar- A delicious Vegan South Indian Sambar curry made with mixed veggies and pigeon pea lentils ( toor dal)
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian- South
Servings: 6
Calories: 486kcal
Cost: 8


  • Pressure cooker or Electric pressure cooker
  • 2 or 3 qt Frying pan
  • Blender


For the Spice Paste

  • 1.5 teaspoon cold pressed coconut oil
  • 2 shallots peeled and sliced
  • 1 garlic peeled and sliced
  • 2 to 3 dry red chili
  • 1.5 tablespoon Urad dal
  • 1 tablespoon channa dal
  • 1.5 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 6 tbsp freshly grated coconut tightly packed
  • ¼ ro ½ c water

For the tamarind extract

  • 15 to 20 grams tamarind
  • 1 c warm water

For the toor dal

  • ¾ c Toor dal
  • 1.75 c water
  • ¾ tsp ground turmeric


  • ½ c thinly sliced onions
  • 1 medium tomato quartered
  • 2 green chili
  • 60 g carrot chopped into fingers
  • 60 g okra chopped into 2 inch fingers
  • 50 g potato chopped into thin and long wedges
  • 50 g drumstick chopped into 3 inch long pieces

For the Kerala Sambar

  • 1.5 tbsp cold pressed coconut oil
  • 2 tsp salt or to taste
  • All veggies mentioned
  • 1 c tamarind extract
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 recipe ground spice paste
  • 2.5 c cooked toor dal the amount of dal + water mentioned under Toor Dal ingredient group will yield this much.
  • ¼ to ½ c water to adjust consistency if required

For Garnishing

  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped coriander leaves cilantro
  • 1 sprig curry leaves


Prepping the Tamarind

  • Soak the tamarind in warm water for 20 mins.
  • Once softened, mash well with your fingers and make an extract.
  • Discard the leftover fiber and strings

Cooking the toor dal

  • Wash the dal thoroughly.
  • Soak this in 2 c water for 20 mins.
  • Once soaked, discard the water used for soaking. Add 1.75 c fresh water and ¾ teaspoon turmeric powder.
  • Pressure cook this for 5 to 6 whistles until mushy.

Roasting the spices

  • Heat a pan with 1.5 teaspoon coconut oil.
  • Add the shallots, garlic, dry red chili, urad dal, channa dal, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. Mix and saute on low flame till fragrant and dals begin to turn golden.
  • Once done, add coconut and switch off flame.
  • Continue to roast the coconut with the spices in the residual heat till coconut turns light brown.
  • Once done, transfer to a blender and let cool.
  • Add ½ c water and grind to a slightly coarse paste.

Making the sambar

  • Heat a pan with coconut oil.
  • Add onions, tomato, green chili and all veggies.
  • Saute and mix well. Cook till tomatoes begin to lose shape.
  • Add salt. Mix well.
  • Now, add tamarind extract along with turmeric.
  • Simmer till raw smell of the tamarind goes away. Add ½ c water if the water has reduced.
  • Continue to cook the veggies till they are fork tender.
  • Now add ground paste and mix well.
  • Simmer for 1 to 2 mins.
  • Add cooked toor dal and asafetida next and simmer for 4 mins till you see a frothy surface with tiny bubbles.
  • Adjust the consistency if the sambar is too thick at this stage by adding up to ½ c water.
  • Once done garnish with coriander leaves and curry leaves

For Instant Pot & Air Fryer Recipes

Instant Pot timings may vary based on your geographic location. Air fryer settings and timings may vary based on the capacity and the model of the Air fryer.


Nutrition values are provided here as a courtesy and are only a rough guide. Please consult a health care provider if you have any concerns.


Serving: 150ml | Calories: 486kcal | Carbohydrates: 87g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 927mg | Potassium: 523mg | Fiber: 20g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 1997IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 5mg
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