Sambar Kerala Style without Masala Powder

As my husband always complained about using masala’s in my curry,especially sambar ,Well my reasoning was that, its the easiest way to make a complicated dish like sambar and also its so tasty.A sambar without a ready-made masala powder ???  majority of our home makers back in kerala would use  the same , hey and that’s not a bad idea though , i thought i should try to make sambar as he said ,  but then I did quiet a bit of research and ended up in this equally good and healthy sambar , a typical kerala touch with the addition of coconut would give mallu – taste buds a treat for sure.

Recipe is from one of our friend who’s from Kannur  , they say that’s how they make Sambar in their place and no curry powder is used.

main steps 
Dry roast Coconut 1/4 cup when lightly brown add 3-4 shallots + curry leaves

When done after about 5mints in medium heat , add 2 table spoon of coriander powder + 1 and 1/2 table spoon of chili powder + 1/2 tsp each of methi seed (Fenugreek)powder and Asafoetida and switch of the heat , this point its crucial as if over heated the powder would ruin the entire dish.

   Grind the above ingredients to a thick paste and keep aside.
Dilute the Tamarind with a little water and keep aside.
Pressure cook the dal alone until 1 to 2 whistles , add the vegetable’s whatever you have to the dhal again pressure cook it till an other whistle and switch off the heat.
start the tempering with adequate amount of oil , add fenugreek seeds (methi) 1/2tsp + 1 tsp of mustard seeds + 1/2onion + 2 tomatoes + Dry red chili’s + a few curry leaves and cook till the oil separates

Add the cooked vegetables first , then add the diluted tamarind and then the ground coconut paste. and allow to boil once.
Its important to add a little of root vegetables in sambar like potatoes , carrot’s etc which gives the same a little thickness or else it would be more liquid y.I prefer thick sambar 🙂 
This sambar goes well with Kerala rice but you can have it with anything and everything as sambar is one of the star dish of south India. 
Nutrition part 
Sambar has got pulses or legumes(toor dhal) – which provides the protein.
Vegetable’s – which provides the fiber and other vitamins and mineral contents 
You can make it high carb or low carb depending on the amount of root veggie’s you add , for those who are diabetic I would say ,make it with only half of a potato or root vegetable’s or exclude it and you can enjoy sambar guilt free.
So try it once !


For pressure cooking 

Toor dhal : 1/2 cup
Vegatable’s  : 1/4 cup of what ever vegetable’s you have like beans, carrot,potatoes,cucmber,pumpkin etc etc 
For grinding 
Coconut               : 1/4 cup
Shallots                : 3-4 no’s
Curry leaves         : 1/2 string (Since Its costly here ,the more you add i the more tasty it would be )
Coriander powder : 2 Tablespoon 
Red chili Powder  : 1 and 1/2 Tablespoon
Asafoetida            : 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seed powder : 1/2 tsp
 For Tempering 
Oil                       : 2 to 3 tablespoon 
Mustard seeds       : 2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds    :1/2 tsp
Onion                   : 1/2 cut,chopped 
Tomatoes             : 2 big 
More curry leaves 
Tamarind paste   2 spoon or 1 ” ball size tamarind diluted with a little bit of water 
Salt to taste


Pressure cook toor dhal until 2 whistles , add the veggie’s and cook till an other whistle and keep aside.
Dry roast the ingredients (to be ground ) and grind the same  
In a big vessel , add oil and temper the dish with the ingrdients under tempering , add the cooked dhal and veg mix , add the ground coconut paste and the tamarind paste or diluted tamarind and bring to a boil adding one last ingredient – salt – as per taste.
Serve hot with Rice /Idli /Dosa/chapathi what ever combination you like , the cereal combination here with sabar makes it the Best nutritious meal one can ever have as it covers almost all the nutrients needed.
N.B : I am using a pressure cooker here for its the most easiest and time saving way to make so , if you don’t have a pressure cooker , just soak the dhal for 1  or 2 hours and cook till done it may take an hour or so to get a well done dhal for sambar, but make sure the dhal is very well cooked, a bit of patience here is important when you cook without a pressure cooker 🙂 
Cheers , 


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