Monday, 26 November 2012

Sambar - Vah re Vah Style

Sambar is a must have in any south indian meal. Every state and to some extent every house has their own variation of Sambar.

Check out other versions of Sambar posted in my blog
  1. Ezhukari/Thaalakam
  2. Sambar for Tiffin
  3. Sambar Version 1
  4. Kerala Style Vegetable Sambar
I found a version of Sambar by Vah Chef Sanjay Thumma. Most of you don't need an introduction to him. He has this super addictive personality and true to his word, Vah re vah is all about inspiring others to cook. Just looking at his show will make you want to run to the kitchen and try it immediately. This Sambar is no exception. It tasted awesome. It is quire similar to the arachu vitta sambar made in our homes. But a couple of things that I found different was the use of garam masala and ginger/garlic. Never heard of anyone using it, we quite liked this.

His sambar was very watery for my taste. So I made it slightly thicker.

At the end of this video, he tells how Sambar and rice taste best when eaten with hand and not with cutlery. So true. Our son now taken a crazy liking to eat his rasam rice with hands. Well what a mess he makes. But we love watching him eat. (He is this guy who needs to wipe his face between every mouthfuls even when he eats with his spoon. So this is saying something)

The spice level in this is slightly higher than my usual ones. Still not too spicy. Just a warning

Ingredients (Makes a big pot. Can easily serve 4-5 adults)

Do not be over whelmed by the number of ingredients. I have tried to group them in sets of how they go into the pot.

For Sambar Masala 

Set 1
Coriander Seeds 2 tbsp
Cumin 1 tbsp
Red Chilli 4
Pepper 1 tsp
Rice 1 tbsp
Channa Dal 2 tbsp
Fenugreek Seeds (Mendayam) 1/2 tsp
Clove 2
Cinnamon 1 inch piece
Star Anise 1
Fennel Seeds 1 tsp

Set 2
Mustard 1 tsp
Ginger 1 inch piece
Garlic 5 pods
Coconut 1 cup
Curry leaves few
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Hing a little
Tomato 1

Other Ingredients
Onions 2
Potato 1
Carrots 2
Okra/Vendakka 4
Beans 3-4
Peas 1/2 cup
Tomato 3

Puli 1 tsp
Toor Dal 1/2 cup
Mustard 1 tsp
Cumin 1/2 tsp
Green Chilli 2
Curry leaves few

Coriander leaves a handful

Oil and salt to taste

Method of Preparation

1. Pressure cook the dal with enough water till it is well mushed. Keep ready.

2. The next step is to prepare sambar masala. We are not using ready made sambar powder at all. In a pot, dry roast the following ingredients together till they are slightly browned. Coriander Seeds, Cumin, Red Chilli, Pepper, Rice, Channa Dal, Fenugreek Seeds (Mendayam), Clove, Cinnamon, Star Anise, Fennel Seeds. Transfer to a mixie

3. In the same pot, add a little oil. Add mustard. When it sputters, add the Ginger and Garlic. Saute for a minute. Add the Coconut, Curry leaves, Turmeric, Hing and Tomato. Stir for a minute or 2 and then transfer to the mixie.

4. Grind to a smooth paste by adding a little water. Keep aside.

5. In the same pot, add some more oil. Add the Mustard. When it sputters, add the Cumin, Green Chilli and Curry leaves.

6. When it sizzles, add onions (chopped into 1 cm squares), cubed potato, cut carrots, sliced beans and peas along with some salt. Stir well and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Add tomatoes and saute for another minute

7. Add tamarind paste and a cup of water (or tamarind water). Simmer for a little bit till the vegetables start to cook.

8. Add the sambar masala and mix well. Add more water as required (3 cups or so). Do not make it too watery. Keep it thick. I felt that the Vah chef made it a bit too watery.

9. Simmer for a little while till everything comes together.

10. Add the mashed dal and cook for a few more minutes. You can adjust water again. 

11. Switch off and garnish with some coriander leaves.

Serve with rice and some papads or some dry side dish.


  1. quite a lengthy list, but sure this sambar tasted so delicious n flavorful..i too had tried his recipe with li' alterations...yum with white rice n ghee :)

  2. this is really yummy totally....

  3. Thats quite a lost but definitely worth the effort I guess. Loving it

  4. Very interesting version, looks super thick and comforting.