Carrot Sambar


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
The food is flying out of my kitchen lately, which means I have been able to treat friends and family to some of my dishes. It is also a good idea to cook at home in a sanitary kitchen with fresh ingredients rather than running the perils of eating out or ordering in. Much cheaper too and you can control your own spicing.


One of my latest creations is this warming carrot sambar that also has a cooling effect, if that makes sense. Sambars are popular in South India and most typically served with rice. A wide variety of vegetables can be used, and often toor dal and tamarind is a common addition, along with a delightful array of spices. Usually thick and fiery, sambars are often the first course for a South Indian full course meal. Do consider making your own sambar powder, as this is an essential ingredient and as I have noted before, fresh spice blends made in your own kitchen are far superior to store bought blends, and so easy to make if you have a coffee grinder to whiz it all up.

Carrot Sambhar

1/2 cup of toor dal or lentils, well rinsed
4 cups of water
1 teaspoon of turmeric

2 tablespoons of butter or ghee or oil
2 whole dried chili peppers, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon of asafoetida,
a generous handful of dried curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons of urad dal, well rinsed

1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small tomato, finely chopped
1 cup of carrots, washed and sliced
2 teaspoons of sambar powder
1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste
1/2 cup of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 cup of fresh coriander or parsley, chopped


In a medium - large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the toor dal or lentils along with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Reduce the heat to medium - low and simmer, uncovered, for roughly 30 minutes, or until the dal is creamy. Add more water if necessary. Set aside.

Heat the butter or ghee or oil in a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add the hot peppers, asafoetida, curry leaves, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and urad dal. Stir and fry until the mustard seeds begin to splutter and pop.

Now add the onion and tomatoes and another 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and stir and fry for 5 minutes. Toss in the carrots, sambar powder, tamarind paste, tomato paste and sea salt. Cook, covered, over medium - low heat for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the toor dal, along with the remaining cooking liquid, and 2 cups of water and the parsley or coriander. Add more water as desired.

More sambars you may enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Black-Eyed Pea Sambar
Butternut Squash Sambar


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Audio Accompaniment: Mr. Arvo Part

4 comments:

bellini valli said...

Controlling your own spicing sounds good Lisa. I see that there is asafoetida s well as tamarind paste in this recipe:D

Priya said...

Wat a comforting dish,yumm!

Kitchen Flavours said...

Wow...looks creamy and yum....

Faith @ lovelyascharged said...

This, as well as your butternut squash version, look absolutely to die for!