Sambhar Rice

Sambhar Rice Recipe: A Flavorful South Indian Delight


Sambhar rice, a quintessential South Indian dish, is a delightful blend of aromatic rice and a rich, tangy lentil-based stew. This beloved recipe has found its way into kitchens worldwide, appreciated for its unique combination of flavors and heartwarming comfort. In this article, we will explore the art of preparing Sambhar rice step by step, making sure to capture the essence of this soul-satisfying dish.

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Sambhar Rice

The Origins of Sambhar Rice

Originating from the southern regions of India, Sambhar rice has a history that dates back centuries. It is said to have been introduced by the Marathas in Tamil Nadu and has since evolved into a cherished staple of South Indian cuisine.

Yield: 4

Sambhar Rice Recipe:

Sambhar Rice Recipe

Sambhar rice, often lovingly referred to as "Sambhar Sadam" in South India, is a quintessential dish that captures the essence of this rich and diverse culinary region. This recipe is a harmonious fusion of aromatic rice and a hearty lentil-based stew, known as Sambhar. It's a cherished and soul-satisfying meal that not only tantalizes the taste buds but also warms the heart.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


For Sambhar:

  • Toor dal (pigeon peas)
  • Mixed vegetables (such as carrots, drumsticks, and eggplants)
  • Tamarind pulp
  • Sambhar powder
  • Turmeric powder
  • Asafoetida (hing)
  • Mustard seeds
  • Curry leaves
  • Oil
  • Salt to taste

For Rice:

  • Long-grain rice
  • Water
  • Salt


Cooking the Rice

  1. Wash the rice thoroughly and soak it for 20 minutes.
  2. In a large pot, bring water to a boil, add a pinch of salt, and then add the soaked rice.
  3. Cook the rice until it's soft and each grain is separate. Drain excess water and set the rice aside.

Preparing the Sambhar

  1. Wash the toor dal (pigeon peas) and pressure-cook it with enough water until it's soft and mushy.
  2. In a separate pan, heat oil, add mustard seeds, and let them splutter.
  3. Add asafoetida (hing) and curry leaves for flavor.
  4. Add the mixed vegetables and sauté them for a few minutes.
  5. Now, add tamarind pulp, Sambhar powder, turmeric powder, and salt. Cook until the raw smell disappears.
  6. Mix in the cooked toor dal and let the Sambhar simmer until the vegetables are tender.

Serving the Sambhar Rice

  1. On a serving plate, place a generous portion of cooked rice.
  2. Ladle the hot and flavorful Sambhar over the rice.
  3. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.


  • When preparing the tamarind pulp for your Sambhar, ensure that it's neither too thick nor too watery. Aim for a balanced consistency to achieve the right level of tanginess.
  • Experiment with different brands of Sambhar powder or make your own blend. The quality of Sambhar powder can significantly impact the flavor of your dish, so choose wisely.
  • While traditional Sambhar includes vegetables like drumsticks, carrots, and eggplants, don't hesitate to get creative. You can use a variety of vegetables based on your preferences and what's available in your kitchen.
  • Ensure the toor dal (pigeon peas) is cooked to a soft and mushy texture. Properly cooked dal not only enhances the consistency of the Sambhar but also contributes to its taste.
  • When tempering with mustard seeds and curry leaves, let them splutter and release their flavors before adding other ingredients. This enhances the aroma of your Sambhar.
  • Be cautious with spices like asafoetida (hing) and chili. A little goes a long way, so add them in moderation to avoid overpowering the dish.
  • Fresh coriander leaves make an excellent garnish for your Sambhar rice. They not only add a burst of color but also contribute a refreshing flavor.
  • Pay attention to the consistency of your Sambhar. If it becomes too thick, you can adjust it by adding more water. Conversely, if it's too watery, simmer it a bit longer to thicken.
  • Remember to add salt judiciously. You can always add more if needed, but it's challenging to correct an overly salty Sambhar.
  • Feel free to experiment with Sambhar rice by adding ingredients like coconut milk or jaggery for unique variations. These additions can bring out different flavors in your dish.
  • Sambhar rice is best enjoyed piping hot. Serve it immediately after preparation to savor its full flavor.
  • Sambhar rice pairs wonderfully with crispy papad or a side of coconut chutney. These accompaniments enhance the overall dining experience.
  • Nutrition Information:

    Serving Size:

    around 1 cup) of Sambhar rice:

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 250-300Total Fat: 2-4gCarbohydrates: 50-60gFiber: 5-7gProtein: 8-10g

    Serving Suggestion

    • Serve your Sambhar rice with a side of fresh coconut chutney. The cool and creamy texture of the chutney complements the spicy and tangy flavors of the Sambhar, creating a perfect balance.
    • Crispy papad or papadam is a popular accompaniment for Sambhar rice. Its crunchiness adds a delightful contrast to the soft rice and hearty Sambhar.
    • Prepare a simple vegetable stir-fry as a side dish. Sautéed vegetables seasoned with mustard seeds, curry leaves, and a hint of spices make for a great accompaniment.
    • For a cooling contrast, serve Sambhar rice with cucumber raita. The yogurt-based raita with cucumber and spices helps balance the heat of the Sambhar.
    • Indian pickles, such as mango pickles or lemon pickles, can add a burst of tanginess and spiciness to your Sambhar rice. Just a small portion on the side can be incredibly satisfying.
    • Poriyal is a South Indian stir-fry made with vegetables like beans, carrots, or cabbage, flavored with coconut and spices. It’s a nutritious and flavorful side dish.
    • Pappadavada, also known as vada, is a savory fried snack made from lentils. It’s a delightful accompaniment that adds a crispy and savory element to your meal.
    • Sliced and fried plantains, known as “Vazhakkai,” make for a sweet and savory side dish that complements the Sambhar rice beautifully.
    • Provide lemon wedges alongside your Sambhar rice. Squeezing fresh lemon juice over the dish can enhance its flavors and add a zesty kick.
    • A bowl of plain curd or yogurt can provide a cooling contrast to the spicy Sambhar. It’s a simple yet effective accompaniment.
    • Prepare a fresh herb salad with cilantro, mint, and onion slices. It adds a refreshing and aromatic element to your Sambhar rice.
    • Garnish your recipe with a handful of pomegranate seeds. They not only add a pop of color but also a sweet and juicy contrast to the dish.

    Sambhar Rice


    Q: What is the best type of rice to use for Sambhar rice?

    A: You can use long-grain rice, such as Basmati or Sona Masoori, for the perfect recipe.

    Q: Can I customize the vegetables in Sambhar?

    A: Absolutely! Feel free to use your favorite vegetables or whatever is in season to make Sambhar even more delicious.

    Q: Is Sambhar rice suitable for vegetarians and vegans?

    A: Yes, It is a vegetarian and vegan-friendly dish, as it is made primarily with lentils and vegetables.

    Q: Can I adjust the spiciness of Sambhar according to my preference?

    A: Yes, you can control the spiciness by adjusting the amount of Sambhar powder and red chili.

    Q: Is Sambhar rice a healthy meal choice?

    A: This is packed with essential nutrients, making it a wholesome and nutritious meal option. However, be mindful of the portion size to maintain a balanced diet.


    Sambhar rice, with its vibrant flavors and wholesome ingredients, is not just a meal but a cultural experience. This South Indian delicacy brings warmth and satisfaction to every bite, making it a cherished favorite worldwide.

    Sambhar Rice

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