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tiffin sambar recipe
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4.41 from 5 votes

Tiffin sambar recipe

Tiffin sambar recipe, learn how to make south Indian style sambar had along idli, dosa and other tiffin items. Prepared with fresh ground sambar masala and toor dal.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4


  • 1/4 cup Toor dal heaped
  • 1 Potato
  • 12 Shallots (small onion)
  • 2 Green chilli
  • 1 Tomato
  • 1 tsp Tamarind - small marble size
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Jaggery powdered
  • 1/8 tsp Asafoetida
  • Curry leaves - Few
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp Coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp Ghee
  • Salt - As needed

To roast

  • 1 tbsp Chana dal heaped
  • 3/4 tbsp Coriander seeds
  • 4 Red chillies
  • 1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/8 tsp Asafoetida

To Temper

  • 3/4 tsp Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves
  • 1 pinch Asafoetida
  • 2 tsp Oil


  • Pressure cook toor dal for 3-4 whistles, with 1 cup water, 2 pinches of turmeric, 2 pinches of asafoetida and few drops of sesame oil.
  • Wash the potato well and cut into 4 and pressure cook it along with the dal. Once done, take out the potato, peel off the skin and break/ cut into bite size pieces.
  • Mash the dal smoothly. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, roast the ingredients under ‘To roast’ table. You can roast everything together. But except jeera/ cumin seeds, which has to be added towards the end when the other ingredients gets the golden colour.
  • Take care not to burn anything. So roast in medium flame with constant roasting. If anything gets burnt, the total dish will not turn out that good as this is the star ingredient!
  • Cool down and powder into a coarse powder. In between powdering, you might need to wipe the sides, lid of the mixer for even powdering. Set aside.
  • In a kadai, heat oil and temper with the items given under ‘To temper table’.
  • Add half of the asafoetida and give a quick stir.
  • Add onions and fry till transparent.Add tomatoes, green chillies and fry for 1 or 2 minutes.
  • Extract tamarind juice from the tamarind(soak in warm water for 10 –20 mins for easy extract).
  • Dilute it and make it 3 cups of it and add start heating in a large bowl.
  • Add the fried onion, tomato to it. Now add few torn curry leaves, coriander leaves, salt, turmeric, rest of the asafoetida and bring to boil.
  • Then add the potatoes.Boil for 2 minutes and add the sambar powder.
  • Add it in a sprinkled way little by little with constant stirring to avoid any lump formation.
  • Let it boil. Then add the mashed dal. If the dal is too tight, add more water to loosen it before adding it to sambar.
  • Now after adding the ground sambar powder and dal, the sambar tends to thicken.
  • So you might be needed to add some 3/4 cup to 1 cup water to bring it to the right consistency.
  • So once it starts boiling, as a final touch add the powdered jaggery and mix well.
  • Top with few more torn coriander leaves or curry leaves and mix in the ghee. Switch off the flame.



  • This sambar should be with less tamarind, unlike our regular sambar.
  • The tomato will give mild tanginess that is not sharp, perfect for the tiffin items.
  • We usually top with sesame oil for extra flavour.
  • You can temper with ghee for more flavourful sambar.
  • Other veggies you can add : Yellow pumpkin, drumstick, carrot, brinjal.
  • Smells great even the next day.
  • I have added asafoetida at various stages, but you can use it only while tempering and adding in the dal.