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Sambar - Lentil & Vegetable Curry

Sambar is a VEGAN south Indian lentil and vegetable curry that is perfectly tangy, nutty and fragrant!
AuthorGeorge Alexander
PREP TIME20 minutes
COOK TIME1 hour 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME1 hour 50 minutes
Servings4 (servings)
CourseMain Course Side Dish
CuisineGluten-Free Healthy Indian Lentils & Legumes Vegan
KeywordSambar Vegan Lentil Curry Vegetable Curry Indian
Calories171 kcal



  • 3/4 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas)
  • 5 cups water


  • 9 shallots (sliced thinly)
  • 1 green chilli (slit lengthways and deseeded)
  • 1 large tomato (diced)
  • 2 medium carrots (diced into 1/2 inch chunks)
  • 10 okra
  • 4 cups water


  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1/4 cup water


  • 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp chana dal (pounded into a powder)
  • 1 tsp urad dal (pounded into a powder)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds (pounded into a powder)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder


  • 2 tsp coconut oil (or vegan butter)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 pinches asafoetida


  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves


  • Mix the tamarind paste with water until it has dissolved. Remove and discard any tamarind seeds from the liquid pulp. Set the tamarind pulp aside.
  • Blend the spice mix for the sambar and set aside.
  • Rinse the dried split pigeon peas several times under cold running water until the water runs clear. To a heavy bottomed pot add the split pigeon peas along with 5 cups of water.
  • Cover with a lid and gently simmer on a medium low flame for 45 - 60 minutes or until the split pigeon peas have completely softened. Add more water if necessary.
  • Using a masher mash the dal until it completely disintegrates and turns into a paste.
  • To the pot add the chopped shallots, green chilli, tomato, carrots and okra and 4 cups of water. Cook the vegetables for 20-25 minutes on a gentle simmer or until they have cooked through.
  • Next add the spice powder mix and tamarind pulp and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Into a heavy bottomed pan heat coconut oil (or vegan butter) over a medium flame. Once the oil has warmed, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds, and within 10 – 30 seconds the seeds should begin to splutter.
  • Next add the curry leaves and sauté for 60 seconds. Remove the pan from the flame and sprinkle in the asafoetida.
  • Pour the tempered ingredients into the curry along with a handful of chopped coriander leaves and stir well.


Calories: 171kcal (9%) Carbohydrates: 16g (5%) Protein: 3g (6%) Fat: 3g (5%) Saturated Fat: 2g (13%) Trans Fat: 1g Sodium: 140mg (6%) Potassium: 483mg (14%) Fiber: 5g (21%) Sugar: 7g (8%) Vitamin A: 13IU Vitamin C: 47mg (57%) Calcium: 5mg (1%) Iron: 12mg (67%)