South Indian style vegan Sambar – Lentil Soup with veggies Recipe

Hi there! 🙂

It’s been a while since i wrote a recipe. Being a south Indian, how can i not write about one of our signature and staple food? If you never knew what sambar is, its nothing but a yellow lentil soup with veggies. But its the healthy, delcious and one of our everyday item. This may look like a difficult recipe, it is actually easy when you have all the ingredients.


Most of the south Indian dishes are paired with sambar. Like idli’s, dosa and rice. They go very well with them and simple to make. Although it is very much unnecessary to put an animal product in there, some of the restaurants/people making at home, tend to add ghee (clarified butter) for smell/taste purpose. Always check if it had been added in.


Split pigeon peas / Toor Dal – 1/2 cup

Tamarind – 20 grams (size of a lime)

Sambar masala – 3 tablespoon (Mixture of spices)

Asafetida – 2 pinch

Salt – desired amount

Vegetable oil – 1 tablespoon

Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon

Urad dal (split and dehusked black gram lentils) – 1 tablespoon (optional / most of the times, available mixed with mustard seeds)

Shallots – 8 to 10 (if you don’t have, use another red onion in this place)

Red onion – 1

Curry leaves

Green chillies – 4

Tomato – 3

Water – 8 cups

Your favorite vegetables / Best options – Drumstick, white radish, carrot, french beans, kohlrabi, Unripe mango, Brinjal (eggplant)



My picture here shows drumstick sambar.

Cooking time: 1 hour

Serves: 4 to 6 people


Chop all the veggies, you could keep the shallots as a whole.

Soak the tamarind in 2 cups warm water (cold water would also do the job, warm is for faster soaking) for 15minutes or more. Once they have become soft crush and squeeze with your hand so all the juices and flavor of tamarind is absorbed into the water.

Cook the lentils with 2 and half cups of water and salt in a pressure (for 3 whistles) or rice cooker and keep them separate. The lentil should be in semi liquid state, just like dal.

Add the shallots, tomato, vegetables, green chilies in a pot with 3-4 cups of water. Let it cook on medium high. Add salt and sambar masala, stir and let the vegetables get half cooked (15mins). Add in the cooked lentils and tamarind water (sieve out the pulp and add only water), let the vegetables cook completely (15 – 20 mins). Once done keep it separate.

Take a wok and heat the vegetable oil. Add the mustard seeds and let them crack/splutter. Once they do add in the asafetida , curry leaves and red onion. Fry it until the onions are crispy brown. After done, take this mixture and add to our sambar. It would make a beautiful sizzle sound. Optionally you could add coriander leaves on top for smell and presentation.

Sambar is ready. Serve hot and enjoy! You could store, refrigerate and use unto 3 days.


The toor dal can be replaced with orange lentil (masoor dal) or petite yellow lentil (mung dal). Each variety of dal gives mildly different taste for the sambar.


You can use combination of the vegetables or just one. Even without any veggie would still work and taste good.

The sambar masala is a mix of roasted spices (Coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, black pepper, fenugreek seeds, turmeric, curry leaf, split black gram, Bengal gram etc. ). They are readily available at any Indian/Asian stores. You could make your own as well.

Hope you try the recipe this weekend!

………………………………………………….Until next time 🙂 Vegandiarist ❤


Categories: FOOD, HOME

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3 replies

  1. Looks very flavourful and delicious 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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