|Stew or chowder|
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|Broth, lentils, vegetables|
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Sambar or sambhar or sambaaru (Tamil: சாம்பார்; Malayalam: സാമ്പാര്; Kannada: ಹುಳಿ, ಸಾಂಬಾರು, ಸಾರು; Telugu: సాంబారు) is a vegetable stew or chowder based on a broth made with tamarind popular in South Indian and Sri Lankan Tamil cuisines. A variant of sambar called pappuchaaru (Telugu: పప్పుచారు) is more common in Andhra Pradesh.
Typical ingredients of sambar powder include roasted lentils, coriander seeds, dried whole red chili, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, and coriander and curry leaves. Regional variations may include mustard seeds, cumin, black pepper, white pepper, cinnamon, or other spices.
Whole spices are ground to a rather coarse powder with some salt optionally.
Sambar powder as a ready-made masala is available in a wide variety of brands.
Vegetables, turmeric, salt, asafoetida and sambar powder are boiled together. After the vegetables and tamarind water are slightly cooked, the lentils and ground coconut mixture are added and allowed to cook until the vegetables are done.
Cooked sambar is typically garnished with an oil-fried spice mixture containing items such as mustard seeds, black gram, dried red chillies, curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, and asafoetida. Fresh curry or coriander leaves are an essential element of authentic sambar, providing a distinct and pleasant herbal essence.
Sambar is reflective of a broad and ancient tradition of lentil-based vegetable stews in southern India. Regional adaptations are known in local languages as huli, rasam, charu, parupu, saaru and pappu pulusu.
Many variants of sambar exist depending on the meal of the day, region, and vegetables used.
In regions that grow coconuts, notably some areas of Kerala, coastal Karnataka (Udupi, Mangalore) and Tamil Nadu, sambar is made with a paste of ground coconuts and spices. Grated coconut is roasted with lentils, cumin, few grains of rice, fenugreek, and red chillies. It is then ground into a fine paste, added to the vegetables and tamarind broth, and then cooked. In Kerala this is known as Theeyal.
Other popular varieties include:
- Mysore sambar
- Udupi sambar
- Beetroot sambar
- Irulli (shallot) sambar
- Pavakkai (bitter gourd) sambar
- Mullangi (radish) sambar
- Poondu (garlic) sambar
- Varutharacha sambar
- Moong dal sambar
- Thakkali (tomato) sambar
Sambar without lentils (but with vegetables/fish/dry fish etc.) is called kuzhambu in Tamil Nadu. There are several varieties of kuzhambu (more kuzhambu,(மோர்க் குழம்பு) vatha kozhambu,(வத்த(ல்) குழம்பு) vendhayak kuzhambu, (வெந்தயக் குழம்பு) kadhambak kuzhambu,(கதம்பக் குழம்பு) paththiyak kuzhambu, (பத்தியக் குழம்பு), pachchaippuli (பச்சைப் புளி) rasavangi, (ரசவπங்கி), among others). These varieties are very popular in Tamil homes.
Sambar is usually served with steamed rice as one of the main courses of both formal and everyday south Indian cuisine. In all the South Indian states, vada sambar and idli sambar are popular for breakfast or lunch, and often served as a side dish at dinner. Road side restaurants often offer free refills of sambar with regular purchase of idli and vadas.
A two-course meal of Sambar mixed with rice and eaten with some sort of vegetable side dish followed by yoghurt mixed with rice, is a prime southern Indian staple.
- Maharashtrian cuisine
- Cuisine of Andhra Pradesh
- Cuisine of Tamil Nadu
- Cuisine of Karnataka
- Kerala cuisine
- Udupi cuisine
- South Indian cuisine
- Maratha Empire
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