Okra and drumsticks sambar

This sambar is made with freshly grounded spices and you can use any vegetables you like. My son likes sambar very much as he eats idli with sambar only. So I make varieties of sambar with different vegetables for him but less spicy. In Chennai, most of the people have breakfast specially idli with sambar or dosa. Especially I like arachu vitta sambar, as it is made with freshly grounded spices. In this sambar I have used full okara not chopped and drumstick pieces and few shallots of course.

Shallots are my favourite and it tastes sweat, when it is cooked. It depends on you how many vegetables you want.

The simple freshly grounded ingredients are coriander seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal, dry red chillies and coconut grated but if you want more special, can add pepper seeds, mustard seeds, khus-khus, curry leaves and sometimes few shallots also. Which gives sambar a different taste? You can serve this sambar more than 5 people and serve it with idlis, dosa or just plain rice.


    Masala paste

  • Coriander seeds – 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Chana dal (Bengal gram) – 1 tbsp or 3 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Dry chillies (long) – 6
  • Methi seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 8 to 10
  • Khas khas (poppy seeds) – 1 tbsp
  • Coconut grated – 1/4 cup
  • For boiling dal

  • Toor dal (red gram dal) – 3/4 cup
  • Water – 3 cups
  • For boiling vegetables

  • Water – 3 cup
  • Tomatoes - 2
  • Drumstick - 1
  • Ladies finger (okra) – 12 to 15
  • Turmeric powder – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Tamarind paste (concentrated) – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Sambar powder – 1 tbsp
  • Jaggery (gud) – 2 tbsp
  • Water (again) – 1 cup
  • Tadka (seasoning)

  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Hing (asafoetida) – 1/2 tsp to 2 pinches
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 15
  • Dry chillies – 3 to 4
  • Shallots – 11 to 15
  • Methi seeds (fenugreek seeds) – 1/4 tsp


    Boiling dal

  • Boil dal in a cooker with water and 1tsp oil and cook it. When it is cooked, let it cool down and then smash it well with a big round spoon, and keep it aside.(do not add salt, while cooking dal).
  • Chop the vegetables according to the size you want and keep it aside.
  • Roasting spices

  • Roast the masala (spices), add coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dry chillies, and other ingredients. At last add khas khas and roast as it splutters when it is roasted. When all the ingredients roasting is done you can smell the heat, aroma and flavour, stir well, after 1min or when it changes colour , remove it and keep it aside, at last add coconut and switch it off. Mix all. Let it roast in a hot tava. When it gets cool, grind all spices, can add water if you want, but I have done it without water and left it little coarse powder. (No need to roast, coconut, it will get roasted in a hot tava).
  • Thadka and cooking vegetables

  • Now add 1tbsp oil in a preheated vessel and add mustard seeds, when it splutters add other ingredients including shallots and stir well till shallots changes its colour to light brown.
  • Now add vegetables like ladies finger first and stir well for 3min, then add drumstick and roast all the vegetables in oil.
  • Now add sambar powder and roast for a min and then add water, turmeric powder, tomatoes and boil by closing the lid.
  • When the vegetables are half cooked add tamarind paste let it boil till its rawness has gone and all vegetables are cooked.
  • When the vegetables and rawness of tamarind has gone can add smashed dal and water again, mix well, add salt also, see that, you do not smash vegetables, let it cook for 5min.
  • When dal and vegetables are mixed properly can add grounded paste or powder, mix well , when the boil comes, let it boil for 5min, then simmer it for 10 to 12min. if it becomes thick can add water again according to your consistency. Nice aroma comes when it blends well.
  • In between mix the sambar, so that it won’t stick to the vessel.
  • OR

  • Boil the vegetables first with other ingredients, then add tamarind paste, mix well, and cook till its rawness goes off.
  • Now add dal and cook for few minutes till it blends well and then add the grounded powder, if it is thick add water as per requirement 1/2cup like that, then let it boil, nice aroma comes when sambar is cooking, as soon as the grounded masala and other ingredients nicely blends. At this stage can add jaggery or can avoid it.
  • After 10 to 15min, do the seasoning (thadka) in a separate pan and add to the sambar and mix well and close the lid. So that aroma is well blended with sambar.
  • The consistency of sambar should not be very thick or thin.
  • Serve it with idli, rice or dosa and drizzle few drops of ghee on top.


  • If you want you can avoid ladies finger, just add drumstick only.
  • Always taste and add salt accordingly.
  • Can use any vegetables as per your taste.
  • If you want to reduce the dry chillies, then reduce as per taste.
  • Stir the sambar in between, so that, it wont stick to the pan.
  • Sometimes I add garlic cloves 2, and ½ onion chopped while boiling dal and smash it well.
  • During seasoning, I sometimes add crushed garlic 3 cloves in the oil and fry it so that more flavour comes.
  • Add tamarind paste (TRS concentrated one)according to your taste, if you are squeezing tamarind and using its water, then add water in the sambar according to the consistency you need.

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