|Place of origin||India|
|Region or state||South India|
|Type||Stew or chowder|
|Main ingredient(s)||Broth, pigeon peas, lentils, vegetables|
Sambar or sambhar or sambaaru (Malayalam: സാമ്പാര്; Tamil: சாம்பார்; Konkani: सांबारें, रोस; Kannada: ಹುಳಿ, ಸಾಂಬಾರು, ಸಾರು; Telugu: సాంబారు) is a dish in South Indian and Sri Lankan Tamil cuisines, made of pigeon peas. A variant of sambar called pappuchaaru (Telugu: పప్పుచారు) is more common in Andhra Pradesh.
Sambar is a vegetable stew or chowder based on a broth made with tamarind and pigeon peas and is very popular in the cooking of southern regions of India, especially in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Each state in South India prepares it with a typical variation, adapted to its taste and environment.
The origins of this dish are uncertain, although legend has that it originated in the kitchen of Thanjavur Marathas ruler Shahuji during the 18th century from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is believed that Shahji had a liking for a dish called amti which had kokum as one of its main ingredients. In one particular season, the kokum, which was imported from the Maratha homeland, ran out of supply, and someone suggested to him that the locals used tamarind pulp for sourness. Shahji experimented with the pigeon peas, vegetables, spices and the tamarind pulp and served his coterie and his cousin. The court liked the dish and named it sambhar after the guest of the day, Sambhaji, second emperor of the Maratha Empire.
The pigeon peas are cooked until crumbled. Vegetables, turmeric, salt, asafoetida (a pinch) and a mixture of ground spices known as sambar powder (which contains roasted coriander seeds, chillies, lentils, and other spices) are initially 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. A wide variety of vegetables may be added to sambar. Typical vegetables include okra, carrot, radish, pumpkin, daikon, potatoes, tomatoes, brinjal (eggplant) and whole or halved shallots or onions, but many different vegetables may be used with adequate results. Typically sambar may contain one or several seasonal vegetables as the main vegetables in the soup. Andhra pappu chaaru is prepared the other way around, wherein vegetables and tamarind pulp are added to the cooked lentils and then boiled. This slight variation in the method of cooking them brings in the distinction in their texture and flavour.
The cooked sambar is typically tempered with a garnish, an oil-fried spice mixture containing items such as mustard seeds, black gram, dried red chilies, curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, and asafoetida. Fresh curry or coriander leaves may be added at the very end to enhance the flavor. Curry leaves in particular are an essential element of authentic sambar, provideing a distinct and pleasant herbal essence.
Sambar is reflective of a broad and ancient tradition of lentil-based vegetable stews in southern India. Many regions and families of the Indian subcontinent have developed and maintained their own adaptations of this dish, evident in preparations known in local languages as huli,rasam, charu,parupu saaru, and pappu pulusu.
In some areas, people use coconut powder, although the original recipe does not include coconut powder.
The taste of the sambar is derived from the spices added to it.
Sambar powder 
Typical ingredients of the sambar powder include pigeon peas, roasted lentils, coriander seeds, dried whole red chili, fenugreek seeds, coriander leaves and curry leaves. Regional variations may include versions with mustard seeds, cumin, black pepper, white pepper, cinnamon, or other spices.
This powder is prepared by pan roasting the whole spices and grinding them to a rather coarse powder with some salt optionally.
Sambar powder as a ready-made masala is available in a wide variety of brands.
Ground coconut 
In regions that grow coconuts, notably Kerala, coastal Karnataka (Udupi, Mangalore) and Tamil Nadu, sambar is also 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.
Many variants exist depending on the meal of the day, region, and vegetables used. sambar without pigeon peas (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. Minor but subtle differences in preparation and ingredients can vary the appearance and taste of the dish.
Sambar is usually served with steamed rice.This is 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 is often served as a side dish at dinner.
Sambar is also served for lunch and dinner in south India, commonly with idli, vada or dosa, along with two chutneys, a green coconut chutney and a mildly spicy red tomato chutney. Road side restaurants often offer free refills of sambar with regular purchase of idli and vadas.
A two-course meal, the first consisting of sambar mixed with rice and eaten with some sort of vegetable side dish, and the second consisting of yoghurt mixed with rice, is perhaps one of the most common meals eaten in a typical southern Indian home.
See also 
- Maharashtrian cuisine
- Cuisine of Andhra Pradesh
- Cuisine of Tamil Nadu
- Cuisine of Karnataka
- Kerala cuisine
- Udupi cuisine
- South Indian cuisine
- Maratha Empire
External Links 
|Wikibooks Cookbook has a recipe/module on|