Varutharacha Sambar ~ Malabar Style Mixed Vegetable Lentil Stew
Recipe type: Curry
Cuisine: Malabar
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
  • ½ cup toor dal (pigeon lentils)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 green chillies, slit
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida (hing)
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 3-4 shallots, chopped
  • ¾ cup coconut
  • 500 gm sambar vegetables (okra, tindora, pumpkin, potato, ladyfinger, drumstick, carrot)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 lime sized tamarind, soaked in 1 cup hot water
  • A pinch asafoetida
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 5-6 dried round red chillies
  1. Combine all ingredients under "for dal" in a pressure cooker and cook for one whistle on meduim flame. Switch off and allow the pressure to go.
  2. In another pan, add the vegetables, onion and tomato with a cup of water and salt and cook on low flame till vegetables are 80% done.
  3. Squeeze out the water off the tamarind and discard the remains. Set aside.
  4. For making the roasted coconut paste, in a frying pan, heat oil. Fry the fenugreek and coriander seeds briefly.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients and fry till the coconut becomes crisp and golden brown.
  6. Allow to cool and then powder it smooth. Add a little water and make it paste like. Set aside.
  7. Once the vegetables are almost done, add in the cooked dal, the ground paste, tamarind water and asafoetida.
  8. Cook on simmer for 10 minutes or till vegetables are completely cooked. Adjust salt and switch off.
  9. For tempering, In a small saucepan, heat oil, splutter the mustard seeds.
  10. Briefly fry the curry leaves and red chillies before adding to the sambar.
  11. Allow it to stay on closed lid for around 10 minutes for flavors to intermingle.
Recipe by The Big Sweet Tooth at