Vendaikka (Okra) Sambar ~ Simple Dal Sambar

Sambar is an integral part of South Indian cuisine. What dal fry is to rotis, sambar is to rice. This is the south Indian way of consuming proteins in the form of dal. A south Indian meal is never complete without sambar.

Though, I made it sound like a generic dish so far, every state (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala & Tamil Nadu) has its own version of sambar. Well, there are umpteen variations even within regions and it also varies with each house hold. You can make a simple sambar with a ready made sambar powder or arachuvitta sambar (sambar with fresh ground spices).

Again, what goes into the sambar powder varies with each household; some add pepper, some add spices like cinnamon. The Karnataka sambar has cinnamon in it. (MTR sambar powder) I always go for the 777 Madras sambar powder for the authentic tamil sambar. You can also make it at home. I will post the recipe soon. Dhania seeds, red chillies, turmeric, channa dhall are must-adds for any sambar powder. Further tweaking is done based on personal/regional taste. It is surprising that I have not posted sambar recipe so far. It is so basic for a south Indian that I was never thrilled enough getting down to record the recipe.

We can make sambar with different vegetables and sometimes with a mix of vegetables too. But generally, the amount of veg in a sambar is less and the gravy is more. This time, I made sambar with okra. You can make with carrot, tomato, drumsticks, potato, brinjal, raddish, shallots or even normal onions. Well, the choice is not limited. You can use any vegetable you wish to.


Okra - 8 chopped into 2'' pieces
Toor dhall - 1 cup cooked with twice the amount water, a pinch of turmeric and a tsp of oil (You can cook with more water and save the water for Rasam)
Tamarind - 1 lime size
Sambar powder - 4 tsp (I normally use 777 brand to get the authentic madras sambar. I also have limited stock of homemade powder. So mix both and use)
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Hing - 1 pinch
Curry leaves - a few
Methi seeds - 1 tsp
Mustard - 2 tsp
Oil - 3 tsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Chopped Cilantro to garnish


1) Soak the tamarind in warm water for 10 min and extract the juice.
2) Heat oil in a pan, season with mustard, fenugreek & hing.
3) Add okra and fry. Add the turmeric powder and fry for one more min.
4) Add the tamarind water and cook for 2 min.
5) Add sambar powder, chilli powder and salt. Bring everything to boil.
6) Add mashed dhall and a little water if the sambar is too thick. Boil till frothy.
7) Garnish with curry leaves and coriander leaves.

Serve hot with rice and a south Indian curry or papad or potato wafers.

I made tindora fry to go with this. I made it as a normal fry curry with oil, salt and chilli powder.

here for variations of tindora curry.


Anonymous said...

love okra in any form...okra sambar is really new to me ...i prepare sambar only wth mixed vegetables...tnx dear

lata raja said...

Hey Vidya, I think all of us are thinking vedaikkai today.I just cooked vendaikkai thayir pachchidi. Wanted to post that and the vedaikkai kari for my daughter's sake, as she will soon start cooking in her dorm. Nice sambhar there.

Chitra said...

Sambhar loooks yumm..I make okra sambhar often..:)

Sree vidya said...

Thanx Sangi!
Do try it sometime

Sree vidya said...

Hi Latha,
Yup looks like vendaikka day.
I just love the plain simple vendaikka curry.

Sree vidya said...

Thanx Chitra