Sambar/Saam-bhur/Sambh-urr/Saa-mb-aar… we are all still talking about the SAME dal-based tangy gravy that compliments everything you call “South Indian dish”. Since I haven’t met an Indian that doesn’t empty a container filled with Sambar, I’m going to confidently assume that this is a fan favorite and not describe this dish any further. But one thing I’ve become aware is that a lot of Indians have tasted not more than 2 varieties of Sambar. The fact is there are over 20 variant recipes of this gravy. YES – those many – so let’s dig in!
This quintessential accompaniment to idli, dosa, vada, and Pongal has essentially been a favorite among South Indians and now that I’m here, I see it’s popular everywhere. Although there exist varied versions of dishes all across, the authentic tinge of the dish remains ubiquitous. It’s known to have taken its birth in the royal kitchen of Thanjavur. But other sources link its origin to Karnataka. Irrespective, we are all familiar with the classic taste of Sambhar and now will expose you to those 20 variations with twists.
If you don’t have Sambar powder at home, don’t run to the store next door. You can make it fresh and store it in a container. Click for the recipe.
This aromatic dish can be prepared in a jiffy and can be served with white rice or Tiffen variations!
PS: I usually prepare Sambhar once to twice a week to go with Idli/Dosa or Steamed Rice. Pairs great with Pongal and Upma too!
2. Ingredient Based Variations
3. Location Based Variations
Varies mainly in cooking style
4. Restaurants’ Secret Recipes
Here are some notes before you jump into preparing Sambar today: