South Indian Sambar – Vegan

South Indian Sambar – Vegan – This is a recipe for the most yummy soup. It is a hot and spicy lentil soup with mixed vegetables and is a must have accompaniment for recipes like Idli, Dosa, Medu Vada, Steamed Rice etc.

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South Indian Sambar - Vegan

I believe Sambar is made differently between regions but the preparation is the same and it requires cooking lentils and vegetables and adding tamarind, Sambar Powder and a varieties of spices.

A typical south Indian sambar recipe calls for lots of different vegetables like Pumpkin, Cauliflower, Bottle gourd, Drumsticks, French Beans, Carrots, Aubergines, Lady fingers and Sweet potatoes. The choice of vegetables is entirely up to you. Each vegetable lends a different flavor and taste so it really is down to what you like.

My neighbour was telling me that this is an everyday dish that is made in most South Indian homes. It will always be on the table alongside other dishes. Sometimes they make it more then once a day! I think it is perfect to have in this weather. 

The basic steps include:

  1. Make a sambar spice blend. Or buy a ready made blend. I chose the latter.
  2. Cook the toor dal.
  3. Cook spices, tomatoes, and aromatics.
  4. Cook vegetables and add them in. Add the tamarind. 
  5. Add a tadka. 

I was thinking today about what belonging and acceptance looks like. When I was growing up, I had a group of friends who I could be 100% myself with. Around those people I flourished and became a better version of myself. As we got older, we grew apart and I am yet to find a group of people like that where I just feel at home. We have reconnected and see each other now and again but truthfully, I live so far away now and I need a group of buddies where I am. Where I can be me without the fear of ever being rejected. I have loads of friends up north who I can call upon when I’m in town, but in my new home I have literally made 2 friends. i adore them whilst simultaneously missing having a group I can turn to. 

I remember Samantha Maria doing a video about loneliness and finding it difficult to make friends. So much of what she said resonated with me so deeply. In some ways I have held myself back from making friends in my new home town mainly because I was going through a really tough healing journey,  but I have also tried all the mother baby groups etc. and it was EXACTLY as she said it was. ‘I’ve gone to baby classes with my hopes high – where the mums are already divided into friend groups, they glance sideways at you letting half a smile slip, before going back to conversation about sleeping patterns. I’ve gone to fitness classes where I’ve been happy to chat to other women before the class starts but there isn’t really enough time to get to know anyone on any sort of level other than hoping this weeks session won’t be hard and that it’s a bit drizzly outside.’ 

Here’s to finding a girl group soon! I think I’m ready to allow people into my life again and that in itself is the most amazing blessing. Alhamdulillah. 

South Indian Sambar - Vegan

South Indian Sambar - Vegan - This is a recipe for the most yummy soup. It is a hot and spicy lentil soup with mixed vegetable and is a must have accompaniment for recipes like Idli, Dosa, Medu Vada, Steamed Rice etc.

Course Lunch
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4



  • 1 cup Toor Dal


  • 3 Drumsticks (Moringa) Chopped into 2.5 inch sticks
  • 1/2 Bottle Gourd Cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 100 grams Mixed Vegetables


  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 2 Red dry Chillies
  • 10 Curry Leaves
  • 1 pinch Asafoetida (Hing)
  • 1 Medium Onion Diced
  • 2 tbsp Tamarind Pulp
  • 150 grams Chopped Tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp Sambar Powder
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • Salt


  • 2 tsp Ghee or Oil
  • 6 Curry Leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1 pinch Fenugreek seeds
  • 1 large pinch Asafoetida Hing
  • 1 Red chili Broken



  1. Pre soak dal for 2 hours. Wash the toor dal thoroughly. Boil 500ml water in a large pot. Let the dal boil for 30 - 40 minutes and remove the foam from top.

  2. Blend the dal using a hand blender till it is smooth and keep aside.


  1. Combine the drumsticks, bottle gourd and mixed vegetables with 400ml boiling water in a deep pan and cook on high for 4 to 5 minutes or till the vegetables are soft. 


  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds. When they start to splutter, add curry leaves, dry red chilies, asafoetida, and sauté 30 seconds.

  2. Add chopped onion. Sauté until onion are transparent - 5 -6 minutes. Add tamarind pulp and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  3. Add chopped tomatoes. Sauté until tomatoes turn soft. Add Sambar Powder, the cooked Vegetables, cooked Dal, Salt, Chilli powder, Turmeric powder, and 250 ml of water, mix well and bring to boil and allow to cook on a medium flame for 5 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Simmer on low whilst you make the tadka.


  1. Heat a small pan with oil or ghee. Add mustard, cumin and fenugreek. When they begin to sizzle, add curry leaves and the chili. Cook for 1 - 2 minutes on low heat. Pour over the sambar.

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