Shree Annapoorna Sambar/ Tiffin Sambar

Sambar is a must have accompaniment in South Indian meals. Shree Annapoorna style Sambar is a killer for Breakfast/ Tiffin that you would not want to miss. 

I grew up relishing "Shree Annapoorna" Sambar since childhood. Although their unique taste has changed considerably, I still enjoy their sambar and parotta kurma especially when wrapped in banana leaf for takeout as parcel. My mom is an awesome cook and i'm sure it's the same with you as well; as mom's are always special for everyone, the same applies to mom's dishes as well. My mom is the best when it comes to this Tiffin Sambar and here is the recipe I inherited from her 15 years back and all my friends who got a chance to relish it asked for the secret ingredients.

The key to this sambar is the unique taste with light sweetness jaggery and the sour taste from tamarind. The dark hue is gained by adding tamarind and dry roasting the spices and grated coconut to make the masala until it turns brown. The coarse texture of this freshly ground sambar powder is an important aspect. I do not like vegetables in my tiffin sambar but feel free to you drumsticks, yellow pumpkin or carrots. I sometimes add drumstick powder which my mom sends along with me. It add a unique taste to the already tasty sambar. This delicious quintessential Sambar when prepared in earthen pot is mindblowing and is a great accompaniment for idli vada, dosa and pongal.

For Idli Vada Sambar - 3 in 1 recipe please click here.

Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 69
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4 g5 %
Saturated Fat 1 g3 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0 %
Sodium 298 mg12 %
Potassium 40 mg1 %
Total Carbohydrate 14g5 %
Dietary Fiber 3 g13 %
Sugars 2 g
Protein 3 g6 %
Vitamin A1 %
Vitamin C1 %
Calcium1 %
Iron2 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
Toor dal - 1 cup
Garlic - 3 clove
Castor oil - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/8 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 teaspoons
Mustard seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Urad dal - 1/4 teaspoon
Cumin/ Jeera - 1/4 teaspoon
Ghee - 1 teaspoon (optional)
Asafoetida a dash or 2
Jaggery - 2 tablespoons (Powder) or 1 cube. 
Pearl red onions - 15 nos (peeled)
Tomato - 1 large
Curry leaves - 1 or 2  sprigs for garnish
Coriander leaves - few chopped (optional)

Sambar Powder:
Cumin/ Jeera - 1/4 teaspoon
Fenugreek - 1/4 teaspoon
Coriander or Dhania seeds - 2 tablespoons
Chana Dal -  1 tablespoon
Urad dal - 1/2 tablespoon
Dry red chilly - 5-6 nos
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Tamarind - 1 lime size 
Coconut - 1/2 cup (grated) fresh or unsweetened  desiccated 

1. In a pressure cooker, add the washed Toor Dal, water approximately 3 cups, turmeric powder, garlic and castor oil. Pressure cook for 2 whistles and allow it to release pressure.

2. In a pan dry roast coriander seeds until golden brown, then add cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, channa dal, urad dal, dry red chillies, curry leaves and tamarind. Make sure you do not add water nor oil to roast the ingredients. Keep stirring until it starts to turn brown. 

3. Now add the grated coconut, desiccated quickens the process of coconut turn brown (check the 2nd picture). Once done, allow it to cool.

4. Grind the above roasted ingredients until coarse in the pulse mode if possible. Do not grind to fine powder as texture is important for this sambar. *

5. In an earthen urali like mine or a pan add oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and urad dal to splutter as seasoning for this sambar.

 6. Now add the peeled pearl onions* and saute for 3 mins right before it turns translucent. The required flavor is gained while the onions retain its shape even when pressure cooked.

7. Add chopped tomatoes, salt, curry leaves and saute until tomatoes wild and turn into paste. 

8. Add the sambar powder we just grinded  and also jaggery powder or cube. Saute for few minutes until the raw smell vanishes.

9. Transfer the cooked toor dal to the above and add required water, salt if needed. Bring this to a boil.

10. Now add asafoetida, ghee, few curry leaves and chopped coriander leaves for garnishing. Sambar is ready. 

Notes and Tips:
1. Sambar powder can be saved up to 2 weeks. You may double the quantity and save it for your next sambar making to be quick. 

2. If the pearl onions are big like mine cut it into two. If tiny pearl onions are available, use them as is. The key to easily peel is to cut the heads and tails off and soak them in water for 5-10 mins. You will be able to peel them in no time. Rinse them again and them use it.

3. Adding curry leaves is another ingredient that adds more flavor. Since fresh curry leaves were unavailable at the grocery store, I opted for dried curry leaves, hence added after the coconuts turned brown.


  1. Amudha...absolutely Fantastic. Loved step by step instruction. For a moment I felt like i was inside this and had a bite. The pictures did justice to your posts...Awesome my friend...Enjoy vada and sambar from my end as well....

    1. Thanks a lot Kiru for your kinds words! Much appreciated:)

  2. This ever classic sambar is every loved. I've got a new sambar recipe now. Thank you.

  3. Nava i'm sure you will love this delicious sambar. If you get to try this recipe, would love to hear your feedback. Thanks dear!


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