Arachuvitta sambar – Lentil gravy cooked with spices


I always thought that making sambar (lentil gravy) from scratch was the most difficult thing on earth. Well my mom proved me wrong. She taught me how to make this super delicious “Arachuvitta sambar” and I had to share it with all of you. It is really easy and tastes so good.

Ingredients:This serves about 4-5 people


Toor dhal – 1 cup

Tamarind : If you use fresh tamarind soak about 1/4 cup (which is the size of a lemon ball) with salt in 3 cups of warm water. Once tamarind becomes soft, which should take about half hour squeeze it nicely to get the juice, strain all the seeds and fiber and keep the tamarind liquid aside.

Vegetable: You can use vegetables including  okra, potato, brinjal and green peas. But today I used raddish instead of the regular vegetables.

Onion is optional

Onion – 1 cup shallots

Radish – 1 cup (thinly sliced)

Tomato – 1 cup (chop it into large cubes)


Mustard – 1tsp

Green chilli – 2

Fenugreek – 1tsp

Spices to grind:

Coconut – 4 tbsp

Coriander seeds– 2 tbsp

Channa dhal – 1 tbsp

Urad dhal – 1tbsp

Red chilli – 8

Saute all the spices including coconut, coriander seeds, channa dhal, urad dhal and red chilli  in oil and grind it into a smooth paste adding water.

Other items:

Salt to taste

turmeric – a pinch

Curry leaves


Oil – 2 tsp

1. Pressure cook toor dhal along with a pinch of turmeric and keep it aside.

2. In a pot, heat couple of tsps of oil (either sesame/gingely or coconut oil ). Add mustard, fenugreek and green chilli to hot oil and wait till mustard seeds start splattering.

3. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes. Throw in a cup of diced tomato and cook for about 3 minutes. Now its time to add the vegetables. Add a cup of sliced radish and saute until it turns translucent which should take another 4-5 minutes in medium-low flame.

4. Add the tamarind liquid to the vegetables and simmer over medium flame until the vegetables and the onion becomes soft.

5. Now add the spice paste and the cooked dhal. Add some more water (3 cups) and boil it for 10-15 minutes. When the sambar thickens add curry leaves and cilantro. Make sure you stir the sambar often to ensure that the gravy does not stick to the bottom of the pan.


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