Vegan Sambhar: South Indian Tamilian Dal with Veggies

Get your spice on with this vegan sambhar: a South Indian Tamilian dal packed with veggies and flavors! Find more Indian recipes in our most recent Culture Tuesday article about Indian cuisine, or check out our whole Indian cuisine section!

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South Indian Tamilian Dal with Veggies (Sambhar)

Vegan Sambhar: South Indian Tamilian Dal with Veggies


  • 1 cup Yellow Split Peas
  • 3.5 cups Water
  • 1 tsp Ground Turmeric
  • ½ tbsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • 79 Dry Red Chillies
  • 2 tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1 cup Grated Coconut
  • 1.5 tbsp Oil
  • 1 Drumstick (also known as Moringa)
  • ½ cup Okra
  • 1 cup Winter Melon/Ash Gourd
  • 1 cup Diced Eggplants (also known as Aubergines)
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Tamarind Paste
  • ½ tsp Black Mustard Seeds
  • ½ tsp Asafoetida
  • 1 Sprig of Curry Leaf
  • Cilantro (to taste)
  • Sesame Oil (to taste)



  1. Wash and soak 1 cup of Yellow split pigeon peas in water for an hour.
  2. Pressure cook the lentil (in an instant pot or traditional pressure cooker) with 2 cups of water and ½ tsp turmeric. Mash the lentil with a spatula or spoon. Set aside.


  1. Roast the following together: ½ tbsp fenugreek seeds, 5-6 dry red chilies, 2tbsp coriander seeds, 1 cup grated coconut in ½ tbsp oil. Roast all ingredients in the exact order for 45 seconds each before adding the next.
  2. Grind all the roasted ingredients into a semi-fine paste by adding little water as needed


  1. Boil the following vegetables in about ½ cup water: 1 drumstick cut to 1.5-inch pieces, ½ cup single-sliced pieces of okra, 1 cup diced Winter melon/Ash Gourd, 1 cup diced small eggplants.
  2. Add ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp turmeric. Cook until the melon and vegetables are 80% done. The key is to add the vegetables in the order of required cooking time (the longest one going first followed by the next)
  3. Add 1tsp tamarind paste (either store-bought paste or if using dry tamarind, extract the paste by soaking them in warm water for 10 mins)
  4. Add the ground coconut paste to the vegetables. Cook for about 5-6 minutes until the raw smell is gone.
  5. Add mashed lentils to the pan, 1 cup of water to dilute the mixture, and cook for 5-7 minutes until it comes it a gentle boil (add more water if needed as the stew has to be semi-thin consistency)


  1. Heat 1tbsp oil in a pan and add ½ tsp black mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add ¼ tsp asafoetida, 1 sprig of curry leaf, 2-3 dry red chilies.
  2. Pour the hot garnish over sambhar + chopped cilantro leaves + drizzle of sesame oil!
  3. Serve hot with rice


Find more of Priya’s recipes on her Youtube channel.


Vegan Sambhar: South Indian Tamilian Dal with Veggies

If you loved this vegan sambhar, you might also like…

Vegan Amti (Maharashtrian Dal)

Vegan Dal Makhani: Northern Indian Punjabi Dal




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