Sambar (dish)

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Pumpkin sambar.JPG
TypeHighly Spiced Curry
Place of originIndia
Region or stateSouth India, Sri Lanka
Main ingredientsTamarind broth, lentils, vegetables

Sambar (English: /sʌmbʌʀ/, romanized: Sāmbār) is a lentil-based vegetable stew/porridge/soup, cooked with pigeon pea and tamarind broth. It is popular in South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisines.


According to food historian K. T. Achaya, the earliest extant mention of sambar in literature can be dated to the 17th century.[1]

The word Sambar (Champaar - சாம்பார்) stems from Tamil word Champaaram (சம்பாரம்).

A Tamil inscription of 1530 CE,[2][3] evidences the use of the word champaaram, in the sense of meaning a dish of rice accompanying other rice dishes or spice ingredients with which a dish of vegetable rice is cooked:

“அமுதுபடி கறியமுது பல சம்பாரம் நெய்யமுதுள்ப்பட தளிகை ஒன்றுக்கு பணம் ஒன்றாக”

Amuthupadi ka’riyamuthu pala champaaram neyyamuthu’lppada tha’likai on’rukku pa’nam on’raak.

Meaning: “Cooked rice offerings, including curry rice (pepper rice or vegetable rice), many types of spiced rice (pala champaaram) and ghee rice, at the rate of one pa’nam (a denomination of money) per one portion.”

See also[edit]


  1. ^ G. J. V. Prasad (2017). "Idli, Dosai, Sambar, Coffee: Consuming Tamil Identity". In Shweta Rao Garg; Deepti Gupta (eds.). The English Paradigm in India: Essays in Language, Literature and Culture. Springer Singapore. pp. 98–99. ISBN 978-981-10-5332-0.
  2. ^ South Indian Inscriptions vol.4. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India. 1986.
  3. ^