Chef Sivapriya Shares Her Homely Vada Sambar Recipe For Vishu Or Malayali New Year
Image Credit: Chef Sivapriya

The season of festivities is upon us. We finally have the license to indulge and we are in no mood to hold back. Currently we cannot keep calm about all deep-fried, ghee-laden sweets and snacks, we’ll get to indulge in, but that does not mean we won’t return to our comfort food at every occasion we can. There is a reason why dishes like Khichdi or Pongal are counted as festive favourites. It does not take an army to prepare these dishes, and they are a hit all year round, among all age groups. Similarly, for chef Sivapriya, it is a hearty bowl of Vada Sambar that reminds her of her amazing Vishu memories.

In India, there are several regional ‘New Year’ festivals, and most of them happen to coincide with each other in the month of March or April since traditionally, the years were marked on basis of the solar and lunar calendars, eons before the Gregorian calendar came into the play. Vishu is the Malayali New Year which falls on 15th April this year. The festival marks the first day of the Medam month of the solar calendar and is celebrated with much fervour across Kerala, Tulu region of Karnataka and Mahe district of Pondicherry.  

Like all Indian festivals, food forms and essential part of the festivities. Sambar, rice, pachadi, pickles are made in abundance. Chef Sivapriya Balagopal – Head of Spices Innovation, ECPL recalls how a simple bowl of Sambar Vada continues to fill her with glee on this day, till today. Here’s her recipe of Sambar Vada for the auspicious occasion of Vishu  


  • Toor dal -½ cup
  • Vegetables – 200 g
  • Shallots – 1 cup
  • Tomatoes (chopped) – 1 cup
  • Eastern sambar powder – 3 tbsp
  •  Mustard – 1 tsp
  • Tamarind water – 2 tbsp
  • Curry leaves – as required
  • Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
  • Water – as required
  • Salt – to taste


  1. In a pressure cooker, add toor dal, and water. Pressure cook for 2 whistles.
  2.  Add chopped vegetables, sambar powder, salt and cook until tender.
  3.  Add in tomatoes and stir for a while.
  4. Then add tamarind water and bring the sambar to boil.
  5. Meanwhile, in another pan temper mustard seeds, curry leaf and shallots in coconut oil.
  6. Pour the tempering over the sambar and remove it from flame.
  7. In a bowl, soak vada in sambar for 10 minutes, cover with a lid. Sambar vada is ready.