Arachu vitta sambar

Finally, the recipe that everyone loves and Tamilnadu is famous for. Sambar!! Be it idli sambar, dosa sambar, sambar vada or onion sambar and aloo kari, this is a simple recipe that has captured a special place in millions of  tummies. In fact whenever I say I am from Tamilnadu, my buddies quickly evaluate my culinary skills. Within a minute I would have answered a couple of people for the Q” You can make sambar right?” And we would fix a time and date and we’ll all have a yummy slurpy time immersing into the world of sambar.  And later whenever I am introduced to another friend, it goes like “Yaar, She can make samabar”. I guess I’ve made more pals with my sambar than with  the help of facebook or orkut.

The recipe here  is for arachu-vitta sambar, meaning fresh  ground paste is added to the sambar, instead of using sambar powder. Couple of stuff to keep in mind before making this sambar:

– Do not use sambar powder

– Measure the ingredients, all of them should blend well. The sambar should not  be spicy, salty, tangy or lentily (??)- too much dal

-Let the vegetables simmer in tamarind water. Do not rush to finish the sambar.

-Do not add too much fenugreek seeds. That will turn the sambar bitter.

Ingredients : (Serves -2)

Red onion -1/4 cup

Green Pepper(capsicum)- 1

Cooked tuvar dal- 3/4 cup (same measuring cup)

Tamarind- small lime size ball

Curry leaves- few leaves

Asafoetida- 2 pinches

Salt- to taste

Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp

Mustard seeds- 3/4 tsp

Sesame oil/ Light olive oil- 1 tbsp.

To grind:

Chana dal -(Kadalai paruppu)- 2 tbsp

Coriander seeds- 4 tbsp

Fenugreek seeds (methi seeds) – a pinch

Red chilies- 6

Coconut- 5 tbsp


Any type of onion can be used depending on availability, whole red onions can be chopped and used or use pearl onions.

Heat about 2 cups of water in a cup and soak the tamarind in the water for 10 minutes. You can also substitute tamarind paste(1/4 tsp). Extract thick tamarind juice (measuring 2 cups).

Fry the ingredients given under the section to “grind”. Toast coriander seeds, red chilies, chana dal, fenugreek seeds together without adding any oil till they turn golden brown color. Transfer to a blender.

Ingredients- Sambar

Add coconut to the hot pan and quickly stir fry for a minute before it turns brown (Look for a golden color). Transfer to the blender. Adding coconut along with other ingredients will toast the coconut quicker and all other ingredients will be raw. So fry coconut at the last minute.


Let these ingredients cool and grind to a smooth, fine powder in one whole grinding pulse. Do not stop and grind and do not open the lid of the blender as soon as you stop grinding. You’ll be celebrating Holi if you do so :)


This powder can be stored as arachu vitta sambar powder in the fridge for a couple of days. If you add water to this powder and grind it to a paste, then you gotta use the paste the same day. This sambar will be thick as the coconut acts as a thickening agent.

Back to making sambar:

Heat oil in a pot and add asafoetida and mustard seeds.When the seeds splutter, add curry leaves and onions. Stir fry well for 2-3 minutes.  Add chopped green pepper.Add salt and turmeric powder and saute till onions are transparent.

Now pour the tamarind extract into the pot of onions and cover and simmer for atleast 15 minutes. Onions and pepper should be transparent and well cooked.

When the tamarind extract has reduced to atleast 1/2 of its original volume, proceed to adding the dal. Mash the tuvar dal with 1/2 cup of water and add the sambar powder(or paste) to the dal. Add this dal-sambar powder mixture into the pot. Let it simmer for 5-7 minutes or till frothy on top. Switch off.

Enjoy with Idli , Dosa, or Vadais. This was our dinner today. Dosa with sambar!

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4 Comments to “Arachu vitta sambar”

  1. Cham says:

    LoL more pals with sambar! I am not huge fan of sambar, but hubby can live with only sambar in this world! Love this arachai sambar :)
    Btw- I am glad to know u re from my near place! Always visit Chidamb when I come India!

  2. priya says:

    First time here…you have a great blog!…recipes look so yummy. Keep blogging. Do drop by when you get time.
    Keep in touch!

  3. ruchikacook says:

    Well, same story here Cham. N likes sambar and I like rasam :) ..and I end up making sambar..
    I was so glad to know that you are from a place close to cdm..

    Thanks for your comments Priya. I loved your fruit juice combos.

  4. Bragi says:

    hi, good recipe, nicely explained. I tried it now, and came out well… :)

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