I-D Sambhar

restaurant style sambhar

I-D sambhar as I call it is sambhar served in restaurants to go ideally with idli, dosai, or vadai. It has a different taste, flavor and color (depending on the amount of chilli powder added to it) as compared with the tradional sambhar that  goes as gravy with rice. Often it is thinner, more vibrant and strong in flavors like cinnamon or fennel. It uses less tamarind and more tomatoes and thus taste also varies. Often we see people helping themselves to cups of sambhar and I guess justified in doing so.

My version of this sambhar is quite enjoyed by G and I guess that certifies this dish 🙂

Preparation 10 minutes

Cooking  20 minutes

Ingredients  (To make 1 liter)

Tamarind     size of a gooseberry

Shallots        1 cup

Drum stick  6 to 9 pieces (2″ long)

Toor dal         ¼ cup (small handful)

Turmeric powder ½ tsp

Salt  1 tsp (heapful)

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Asafotida ¼ tsp

Cinnamon ½”(optional)

Fennel seeds ½ tsp (optional)

Red chilli powder 1 tsp

Cooking oil 1 tbsp

For paste

Roasted gram 1 tbsp

Coconut  grating 1 tbsp

Roasted coriander seeds 1 tbsp

shallots (sauteed) 5 or 6

Tomato  1 big

Curry leaves 3 sprigs


  • Wash the dal and add turmeric powder. Pressure cook the dal in 1/2 cup water
  • Heat oil in a wide pan and temper with mustard seeds. Add shallots and drumstick and saute until aroma starts wafting. Set aside a few shallots to add to masala paste.
  • Add the strained tamarind pulp to the pan and add salt. While the tamarind boils grind the masala ingredients to a fine paste.
  • When the raw smell of tamarind is gone add the mashed dal and masala paste and make up the volume to a liter with water. Switch off the flame as soon as it starts boiling.
  • Heat ½ tsp oil in tadka pan and add the chill powder and asafotida and switch off the flame.  Add to sambhar and mix well
  • If you like cinnamon/fennel  flavor add the spice to the masala while grinding.

Chef’s note: You can add other vegetables of your choice like yellow pumpkin, beans or carrot if you like to add to taste and color.

Cinnamon/fennel flavor gives the sambhar the signature of Karnataka1


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