Radish Sambar is an authentic Tamil Nadu special recipe. Some like it spicy,  while others add a touch of jaggery to sweeten it, some avoid adding tomatoes. Sambar  masala generally made using ground coconut and spices(Araichu vitta sambar), freshly ground spices, pre-ground sambar powder. In most South Indian homes sambar is a dish that finds a place on the meal table almost every day.

      To make a Simple single vegetable sambar,Vegetable choices varies from pearl onions, radish, brinjal, flat beans, bhendi, drumstick leaves, drumstick to a whole array vegetables. Each vegetable sambar gives different taste and you have a completely different flavor profile to relish.


Toor dhal- 1 cup
Radish, peeled and chopped as discs- 1, big
Onion, chopped lengthwise -1, big
Garlic- 3 cloves
Tomato, chopped- 2
Tamarind, soaked in water- small gooseberry size
Turmeric powder- ¼ teaspoon
Chilli powder- 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder- 1 ½ teaspoons
Sambar powder- ½ teaspoon (optional, I have not added)
Coriander leaves, chopped- handful

To Temper:
Oil- 3 teaspoons
Mustard seeds- 1 teaspoon
Fenugreek seeds- ½ teaspoon
Jeera/ cumin seeds- ½ teaspoon
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Asafetida- ¼ teaspoon

  • Pressure cook the toor dhal with turmeric powder (on medium flame for 3 whistles). Open the cooker when the steam releases.
  • Soak the tamarind in quarter cup of water.
  • Pour two teaspoons of oil in a pan and add the onion and sauté it till becomes soft. Then add the garlic and cook for a minute. Then add the tomatoes and cook  till it starts to become mushy.
  •  Now add the chopped radish and sauté  for two minutes. Then add a cup of water and salt; close the lid and allow to cook for 5 minutes.
  • When the radish is almost cooked, add the turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder, sambar powder and tamarind extract; allow to boil this mixture till the raw masala smell and the raw smell of tamarind leaves.
  • In a separate pan pour two teaspoons of oil and add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds.
  • When mustard seeds crackles and fenugreek seeds turns slight brown colour add the curry leaves and switch off the gas; add asafetida in that hot oil.
  •  Transfer this tempering into the sambar and allow to boil well once. Check the salt and sprinkle with coriander leaves and switch off the gas.
  • Note: I like the sambar to be thick. You can adjust the water, according to your required consistency. 
  • After adding tamarind water allow to cook the sambar well till the raw taste of tamarind leaves.
  • Do not add tamarind before cooking the vegetable. If you add before the tamarind will not allow your vegetable to cook.
  • Do not over fry the fenugreek seeds (Dark brown), that may turn your sambar bitter.

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