May 15, 2014

Varutharacha Sambar/ Sambar with roasted coconut

                       Sadya without Sambar is unimaginable for a south Indian. It is the Queen of dishes in a vegetarian feast. It is the most popular vegetable curry to go with plain rice. Hence it would be one of the rarest occurrences, if people from a house hold in Kerala didn't know how to make Sambar, at least in the most simplest form. But I must confess here that it was one of the dishes I mastered very late. Infact, only recently.. (Now don't roll your eyes!! ) YES! It's true! My sambar was no where near to the yummy version. So I had felt always uneasy whenever I had to present my sambar in front of others, let alone guests... ;)

                        So I had taken pains to find out a perfect recipe which I could always rely on.. Talking about sambar, there are lot of variations for it... adding coconut,without coconut, using only one vegetable, with lots of different vegetables and so on.. It varies from place to place..  This version of sambar with roasted ground coconut which I am sharing here today involves little bit lengthy process compared to the no coconut version. But it is worth spending a little more time as it has a very vibrant and distinct taste..This version is more popular in Kerala than in other states of south India. I got the recipe from my MIL who makes it quite differently from my mom. It goes well with rice as well as dosa..

Here is the recipe...

Things you need:

To Cook:
Mixed vegetables- 1and 1/2 cup
(Ash gourd,potato, carrot,brinjal, yam, cut into cubes
Drumsticks, cut into 4 inch pieces
Ladies finger, cut into 2 inch pieces)
One medium onion, sliced
Yellow lentil/ toor dal/tuvara parippu- 1/4 cup
One medium tomato, cut into 4
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Asaphoeteda pdr - 1 tsp
Sambar pdr- 2 tbsp
Pulp of tamarind- 1 tbsp

To roast and grind:
Coconut oil - 1 tsp
fresh grated coconut- 3/4 cup
Red chilli pdr - 1 tsp
Coriander pdr - 1 tbsp
Fenugreek seeds- 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves

To temper:
Coconut oil- 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Shallots/kunjulli, sliced- 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Dry red chilli - 2

To garnish:
Chopped coriander leaves/cilantro

  • Cook the lentils in a clay pot or heavy bottomed sauce pan with adequate water,onion and turmeric powder,until well cooked. (You can also pressure cook it.) Add the vegetables except ladies finger and sambar powder,with the spices and tamarind paste adding adequate salt. 
  • Meanwhile heat 1 tsp of coconut oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds. Add grated coconut and roast, stirring continuously until the coconut turns brown and aromatic. Add the spice powders and curry leaves and roast until aroma comes out. Remove from heat and let cool. Grind to a fine paste adding little water.
  • When the vegetables are almost cooked, add the ladies finger and sambar powder and cook for another five minutes. Add the coconut paste to it and bring to boil. Mix well and remove from heat.
  • Heat coconut oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds. Add shallots and fry until slightly brown. Add the red chillies and curry leaves. Pour this over the cooked sambar.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or dosa.


  1. epozhum sambaarundakumbo oru chatti nirachum njan undakkum... and I so faithfully follow the recipe that is on the back of the Eastern masala pack, hehe... never tried varutharacha sambaar... looks absolutely delicious...

  2. One cant resist to this flavourful sambar, looks soo comforting and very delicious.

  3. Nice sambar..we make it in a different way!

  4. Sambharrr!! Al time fav.. Neatly presented



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