Mixed Vegetable Lentil Stew (Sambar)

Photo of Mixed Vegetable Lentil Stew (Sambar)

Mixed Vegetable Lentil Stew (Sambar)


Mixed Vegetable Lentil Stew A.K.A. Sambar or “Kolaumbo”, as it is known around my place is a scrumptious lentil based stew full of veggie goodness. Commonly eaten with hot steamed rice or Idlis or Dosas, there are many, many variations of this one recipe made across the southern part of the Indian subcontinent. Here’s my quick recipe ready under 30 minutes, using my trusty pressure cooker to quickly cook the lentils. All kinds of vegetables can be and, are used, from potatoes, radishes, zucchini, carrots, drumsticks to okra and eggplants!

We need,

  • Split Pigeon Peas (Toor Daal) – 1/2 cup soaked for 4 to 6 hours
  • Oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Onion, chopped – 1 medium
  • Tomatoes, chopped – 2 medium
  • Tamarind Paste – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Potatoes, cubed – 2 medium
  • Carrot, chopped – 1/2 cup
  • Cauliflower – 1/2 cup
  • Okra, pan fried – 8 to 10 (optional)

For the spice paste,

  • Fresh or Frozen Coconut, grated – 1 cup
  • Coriander Seeds – 2 teaspoons
  • Red Chilies – 4
  • Cumin Seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Fenugreek Seeds – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Black Mustard Seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Roasted Gram, split – 2  teaspoons
  • Asafoetida Resin, powdered – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Turmeric Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Curry Leaves – 1 sprig
  • Water
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Heat oil in the pressure cooker.
  2. Add the onions, tomatoes and tamarind paste and cook till the raw smell goes off.
  3. Rinse the lentils and add to the cooker with salt.
  4. Stir in the chopped vegetables and cook for 10 minutes on high in the pressure cooker. Keep aside.
  5. In a dry pan roast Coriander seeds, Red Chilies, Cumin seeds, Fenugreek seeds, Roasted Gram, and Asafoetida until golden. Cool and powder in spice/ coffee mill (I used my mortar & pestle).
  6. Mix the spice powder with grated coconut and turmeric powder until a smooth paste forms.
  7. Open the cooker and add on the spice paste. Add the pan fried okra at this stage, if using. Mix well and bring to a boil.

Enjoy the wholesome goodness of lentils and vegetables drizzled with coconut oil on the top, with steamed rice, idli (steamed rice dumplings) or, even plain!

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