This Instant Sambar with Vegetables recipe is a quick and easy alternative to traditional sambar. Spice paste with lentils & spices makes the sambar thick, flavorful and taste almost like the original version. Perfect to serve with idli, dosa or even rice.

Instant Sambar with Vegetables for Idli, Dosa [Vegan]



For the Spice Paste:

  • 1 teaspoon Oil
  • 6 Dry Red Chilies
  • 2 Cardamom pods
  • 2 Cloves
  • 2 teaspoons Coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Chana Dal
  • 2 tablespoons Toor dal
  • 1 tablespoon Urad dal
  • 1 teaspoon Rice
  • 1 Small Onion, chopped
  • 2~3 Medium Tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup Fresh Coconut

For the Instant Sambar:

  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Asafoetida/ Hing
  • 2 Green Chilies
  • 6~8 Curry leaves
  • 1 Small Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Small Carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 Small Green Pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp Tamarind paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 2 teaspoon Jaggery
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons Cilantro, finely chopped


For the Spice Paste:

  1. In a saucepan, heat oil and add chilies, cardamom, cloves, coriander & fenugreek seeds, dals and rice. Once the seeds and spices start to toast and get fragrant, add coconut and cook for 1~2 minutes.
  2. Next add onion and tomato. Cook till the tomatoes are turn soft and almost mushy, about 3~4 minutes. Let the mixture cool slightly before grinding into a smooth paste.

For the Sambar:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil, add mustard and cumin seeds and once they start to splutter asafoetida, green chilis and curry leaves.
  2. Next add the onions, carrot and peppers. Cook on medium flame until the veggies are tender, about 8~10 minutes.
  3. Add the spice paste, tamarind paste, salt and 2 cups – bring the sambar to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5~6 minutes.
  4. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with idli/ dosa or rice.


Spice paste can be made up to 2 days ahead of time. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Freeze for up to 1 month. Change up the veggies to anything you have on hand – sweet potato, drumsticks, green beans, potato etc. will work great here.