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Sambhar - South Indian Dhal

A tangy South Indian breakfast dhal.

Serves: 4 - 6 | Suitable for vegetarians

Sambhar - South Indian Dhal


  1. Place the dal, water, turmeric powder and 2 tsp of the oil into a large, heavy pan. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer until the dal is soft and mushy.
  2. Mash with a wooden spoon or a potato masher.
  3. Soak the tamarind in hot water, mix and strain to make tamarind juice.
  4. Add the tamarind juice and salt to taste. If it is too thick add a little warm water to obtain the consistency of pea soup.
  5. Dry roast the coconut, coriander seeds, and 2 of the chillies until the coconut is brown.
  6. Grind in a blender or pestle and mortar.
  7. Add the ground mixture to the dal and mix well.
  8. Heat 2 tbsp oil and, when nearly smoking, add the remaining dried chilli, the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, and curry leaves. Fry until the mustard seeds begin to crackle.
  9. Pour this mixture over the dal and cover immediately to retain the aroma. Serve hot.

You can also add the vegetables of your choice (225g) once you have mashed the dal. Commonly used vegetables in India are marrow, other gourds, peppers, okra and beans.