Sambar (dish)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

TypeSpiced curry stew
Place of originIndia
Region or stateSouth India
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsTamarind broth, lentils, vegetables
Food energy
(per serving)
139 kcal (582 kJ)

Sambar (Tamil: [saːmbaːɾ] i, romanized: Sāmbār) is a lentil-based vegetable stew, cooked with pigeon pea and tamarind broth.[1] It is popular in South Indian, Sri Lankan and Maldivian cuisines. The stew has been adapted into Burmese cuisine as a popular accompaniment to Burmese curries.[2]


According to food historian K. T. Achaya, the earliest extant mention of sambar in literature can be dated to the 17th century in Tamil Nadu.[3]

The word sambar (சாம்பார்) stems from the Tamil word champāram (சம்பாரம்).[4]

A Tamil inscription of 1530 CE,[5][6] shows the use of the word champāram 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

Amutupaṭi kaṟiyamutu pala campāram neyyamutuḷppaṭa taḷikai oṉṟukku paṇam oṉṟāka.

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.

Another story about the origin of sambar states that the recipe for sambar can be traced to Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje Bhonsale who attempted to make dal for himself when his head chef was away. He loved his own concoction which was then referred to as 'Sambar'. [7] [8] [9]

Regional variations[edit]

Sambar is variously called thizone chinyay hin (သီးစုံချဉ်ရည်ဟင်း; lit.'assorted vegetables sour soup'), thizone pe kala hin (သီးစုံပဲကလားဟင်း, lit.'assorted vegetables chickpea soup'), or derivatives like thizone hin or pe kala hin in the Burmese language. The Burmese version incorporates dried salted fish and a variety of vegetables including eggplants, okra, moringa, gourd, green beans, and potatoes in a soup base of pureed chickpeas, which is seasoned with ripe tamarind, curry leaf, pyindawthein leaf, masala, cumin, chilies, onions and garlic.[2][10] In southern states of India namely Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala and Tamilnadu, Sambar is made using different vegetables, fruits along with lentils or coconut. Each region has its own version of making sambar even though same vegetables is used, the condiments and ingredients and the way of making differ regionwise.[11] In Tulu speaking areas of coastal Karnataka coconut is predominantly used to prepare Koddel(Sambar).The grated coconut is ground with spices to form a paste which is added to vegetables boiled.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mathai, Kamini (26 September 2014). "Sambar: the great Tamil dish of Maharashtrians". The Times of India. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  2. ^ a b "သီးစုံပဲကုလားဟင်း၊ ငါးခြောက်မွှကြော် ၊ငရုတ်သီးဆားထောင်း". Mizzima (in Burmese). 3 December 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Velswamy, Jayalekshmy (2 April 2015). 53 Healthy Lunch Box Recipes for Babies,Toddlers and Kids. Bumps n Baby.
  5. ^ South Indian Inscriptions vol.4. New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India. 1986.
  6. ^ "South Indian Inscriptions Vol 04 1923".
  7. ^ "Sambar: the great Tamil dish of Maharashtrians". Times Of India. Times Of India. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  8. ^ "The sambar you eat your idlis with is actually Maharashtrian". Gulf News. Gulf News. Retrieved 14 November 2021.
  9. ^ "This Link Between Sambhar And Thanjavur Marathas Would Take You By Surprise". NDTV Food. NDTV Food.
  10. ^ duwunkyal (30 June 2021). "ပဲကုလား ဟင်းချက်နည်းလေးပါ". Duwunkyal Blog (in Burmese). Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  11. ^ Hebbars kitchen. "Sambar Recipe South Indian Vegetable Sambar in Cooker – 15 Mins". Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  12. ^ DNA,English Daily Newspaper. "The sambar saga: On the provenance and many variations of a south Indian staple". Retrieved 5 August 2023.