Jun 13, 2013

Idli Sambar

Idli sambar  is one of the standard recipes in many homes across Southern India and this is a traditional combo in Indian breakfast recipes. Sambar is specifically made for Idli using toor dal, sambar onions (pearl onions) and different spices. 

Whenever I visit my grandparents house, my aunt's used to make idli and sambar for breakfast. This sambar which my grandmother makes is exclusively for idli and even the sambar powder entirely is different. The amalgamation of hing, curry leaves, red chilies and  coriander seeds is so bold that, I can even sense its smell before I even step inside the house. I remembers all our cousins sit in a row with stomach rumbling and screaming for idli :-) Whenever I make this recipe, I feel nostalgic which brings back memories of my childhood.


1 1/2 cup Toor Dal 
10 - 12 Sambar onions (pearl onions)
2 Tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp sambar powder
1/2 tsp Jaggery or sugar
3-4 sprigs of Cilantro, finely chopped
1 samll piece of tamarind
3 tsp Oil

For seasoning
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin  seeds
1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
1 sprig of curry leaves


  • In a pressure cooker, add washed toor dal and 4 cups of water. Cook for 15-20 minutes

  • In a bowl soak tamarind in hot water for 5 minutes and mash it to extract put. Discard skin and excess fiber
  • In a large pot, heat oil, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, hing and curry leaves. When mustard seeds starts to sizzle add onions, fry until it is transparent

  • Now add tomatoes. Saute until it is cooked

  • Add sambar powder, jaggery and tamarind pulp. 

  • Add cooked dal and 1 cup of water. Adjust salt as per taste.  Simmer for 10 minutes

  • Add chopped cilantro 
  • Serve hot with Idli

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