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Masoor dal makes a smoother and milder tasting sambar. Vegetables like eggplant, bottle gourd, carrot, potato, chayote etc can be added to the sambar to make it more substantial.


4 serving

Total time

40 minutes


  • ½ cup Masoor dal
  • 1 onion (- medium, thinly sliced)
  • 1 tomato (- medium, chopped)
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric
  • 2 tsps (1.25l) fish stock (Sambar powder (homemade or store bought, I use 777 brand sambar powder))
  • 3 tbsp tamarind (paste)
  • to taste Salt
  • 2 tbsps coriander leaves (- finely chopped)
  • ⅛ tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • 1 tsp Urad dal
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 2 red chili (Dry)
  • ¼ tsp (1.25l) fish stock (Hing (Asafoetida))
  • 6 - 8 Curry leaves


  1. Pressure cook masoor dal (red lentils) until very tender and mushy.
  2. Heat 2tsp oil in a sauce pan, add the tempering ingredients and once the seeds start to splutter, add the onions and saute until lightly browned around the edges.
  3. Next add the tomatoes and cook covered until mushy.
  4. Add tamarind paste, sambar powder and turmeric, cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the cooked dal along with 1-2 cups of water and salt; bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Adjust seasoning.
  6. Serve with rice or idlis or dosas.

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