Sambar Sadam: A Special One-Pot Meal For Sadya

Onam is an annual harvest festival celebrated by the Malyalis in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the official festival of the state and brings in joy, enthusiasm and unity despite caste, creed and religion. It is celebrated in the state to mark the homecoming of the Great King Mahabali, and is also said to mark the harvest season. The festival lasts for ten days and is celebrated with great magnificence. As the ritual, Onam means a call to a variety of delicious Malyali cuisines and dishes. One of them is the Sambar Sadam (Sambar Rice) Recipe. This one pot meal holds all the goodness of taste and health. This sambar sadam is usually served along with its accompaniment, ‘curd rice’. This combo is commonly found in Malayali houses and is cherished by them.

Sambar not only has a rich taste but also is great for health. This lentil and vegetables combo recipe is said to be originated in India, but is also cooked and loved by the people of our neighbouring countries Sri Lanka and Myanmar (Burma). Sambar is believed to have its traces from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The story behind the recipe goes as such that Maratha ruler, Shivaji’s son, Sambhaji created the dish when he himself cooked a dal recipe in the absence of his head chef. From there this recipe spread all over the South Indian states including states like Maharashtra and nearby. Sambar along with hot steam rice is a perfect meal combo in the South Indian households and tastes heavenly. 

Here’s the recipe for Sambar Sadam.


For masala paste:

  • 1 tsp oil

  • 1 tbsp chana dal

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds

  • ¼ tsp methi

  • ½ tsp pepper

  • 6 dried red chilli

  • A few curry leaves

  • 2 tbsps coconut (grated)

  • ½ cup water (for grinding)

  • For pressure cooking:

    • 1 cup rice

  • ½ cup toor dal (soaked 20 mins)

  • ¼ tsp turmeric

  • 1 tsp oil

  • 4½ cups water

  • For Sambar Sadam:

    • 2 tbsps oil

  • 1 tbsp ghee

  • 1 tsp mustard

  • 2 dried red chillies

  • A pinch of hing

  • A few curry leaves

  • 6 shallots (halves)

  • 1 potato (chopped)

  • 1 carrot (chopped)

  • 15 piece drumstick

  • 6 beans (chopped)

  • 1 tomato (chopped)

  • ½ tsp turmeric

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 cup tamarind extract

  • Water, as required

  • 2 tbsp coriander (finely chopped)




    For masala paste:

    • In a thick bottomed pan heat 1 tsp oil. 

  • Add 1 tbsp chana dal, 1 tsp coriander seeds, ¼ tsp methi and ½ tsp pepper.

  • Roast until the spices turn aromatic.

  • Now, add 6 dried red chilli and a few curry leaves, and roast until they turn crisp.

  • Turn off the flame and add 2 tbsps coconut. 

  • Roast until the coconut turns aromatic.

  • Cool completely, and transfer to the mixie jar.

  • Add ½ cup water and blend to smooth paste.

  • To cook rice and dal:

    • In a pressure cooker, take 1 cup rice and ½ cup toor dal.

  • Add ¼ tsp turmeric, 1 tsp oil, and 4½ cup water.

  • Cover and pressure cook for 5 whistles.

  • For Sambar Sadam:

    • In a large kadai, heat 2 tbsps oil, 1 tbsp ghee.

  • Splutter 1 tsp mustard, 2 dried red chilli, a pinch of hing, and a few curry leaves.

  • Add 6 shallots and saute for a minute.

  • Also add 1 potato, 1 carrot, 15 piece drumstick, 6 beans, and 1 tomato.

  • Further, add ½ tsp turmeric and 1 tsp salt.

  • Saute for a minute or until the vegetables turn aromatic.

  • Now, add 1½ cup water, cover and boil for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked well.

  • Add 1 cup tamarind extract and boil for 3 minutes or until the raw flavour of tamarind goes away.

  • Add in the prepared masala paste and mix well.

  • Once everything comes to a boil add in cooked rice and dal.

  • Mix well and add water as required adjusting the consistency.

  • Cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until the flavours are absorbed well.

  • Garnish with coriander and enjoy sambar rice or sambar sadam with curd rice and boondi.