Varutharacha Sambhar, better known as Kerala style sambhar

An unavoidable part of the Kerala Sadya. 

Step 1:


Dal, ¾ cup
Onion, 1 small, sliced
Tomato, 1 medium, cut into small cubes
Potato, 1, cut into small cubes
Carrot, 1, cut into lil longer cubes
Beans, 5-6, cut into 1” pieces
Vellarikka  or Yellow cucumber ½ of 1, cut into small cubes
Ash gourd, 1 piece, cut into small cubes
Curry leaves, 1 sprig

Cook all the ingredients with a pinch of salt and turmeric in a pressure cooker for about 3-4 whistles.

Step 2:

Tamarind extract, 1tbsp, Diluted in 3 cups of water
Drumstick, 1, cut into 4” pieces
Ladiesfinger, 4-5, cut into 2” pieces
Brinjal, 2, cubed
Sambhar powder, 1 ½ tbsp, I used Eastern Sambhar powder

Cook all the vegetables in the tamarind water, with a little salt, for about 8-10 minutes. Just before removing from heat, add the sambhar powder.

Step 3:

Coconut ½ of ½ grated
Red chillies 6
Garlic 8-10 cloves
Curry leaves 1 sprig
Fenugreek ¼ tsp
Jeera 1tsp
Whole dhaniya or coriander seeds 1 handful
Peppercorns 1tsp

Dry roast all the ingredients till the coconut is golden brown in color. Grind to make a smooth paste.


Step 4:

Asafoetida ½ tsp
Salt, to taste


For garnishing:

Mustard seeds 1tsp
Dry red chillies 3, broken into pieces
Curry leaves 1 sprig
Coconut oil 1tbsp
Coriander leaves, a few stems, chopped

  • Add the ground paste and the dal mix from the cooker to the tamarind mix. Let it boil for 5 minutes. Add asafoetida and more salt if necessary. Remove from heat.
  • In a separate pan, heat the oil for the garnish, add mustard seeds, red chillies and curry leaves. Pour over the sambhar. Add the coriander leaves.
  • Can be served with Idli, Dosa, or Rice.