Wednesday, November 18, 2009

KADAMBA SAMBAR கடம்பா சாம்பார்


KADAMBA SAMBAR கடம்பா சாம்பார்


have enjoyed sambars all thro' south India. There is such a great variety in taste that I always marvel at different preparations. Coimabatore, salem Madurai, Udipi, Mangalore, Hyderabad, and for that matter every single town or village will have something different in its preparation. This is because you can do anything with ingredients. KADAMBA sambar is one such sambar which has its origins in Thanjavur. As the name suggests, Kadamba means flowers of different colors strung together in a multi color garland, and Kadamba Sambar means it has multi colored vegetables as ingredients. Traditional Kadamba Sambar is supposed to have only certain kinds of veggies. As per tradition these vegetables are called "NATTU KARIGAI" meaning country vegetables. Veggies like Cauliflower, Beans, beatroot etc have no place in preparation of this sambar variety.(However, I use carrots and capsicums of different colors). Generally Coconut is not used , but our grand old cook Smt. Kamalamma an Iyer Lady swore by coconut's presence in all her sambars and curries.




150 gms. Toor dal (split pigeon pea)
3 Spoons Sambar powder (Please refer to my sambar powder recipe)
100 gms. shallots or spring/pearl onions)
1 sprig of curry leaves
2 Green chillies
1.5" pieces of coconut 2 nos
1/2 cup of Cilantro
1/2 tsp ofcompounded Asafoetida(Hing)
1/4 spoon cumin (Jeera) powder freshly made
1 medium sized Tomato diced in 1/2 inch pieces
2 tbsp of peanut Oil for tempering
1/4 spoon of mustard seeds
1/4 spoon of Fenugreek seeds
1/2 spoon of broken coriander seeds
1/4 spoon of Asafoetida for tempering
3 broken dry chillies
one spoon chilli powder
1/2 spoon of Turmeric powder
1 lemon sized ball of Tamarind (add water and extract thick juice)


Baby Onions (shallots) 150 gms.
Drumsticks 1 no cut in 1.5" pieces
Beans 50 gms.
field beans 50 gms.
Radish 1 no cut in rounds (long white/red variety)
Brinjal 1 no. long variety (four nos. if small round)
Carrot..1 No cut in 1.5 " length or rounds
Capsicum (green and Red)...1/2 diced in small pieces
Potato/Sweet potato pieces (optional)


Soak Sambar Masala powder, Jeera powder,Asafoetida ,Turmeric powder& Chilli powder in 30 ml of water for one hour. Make a fine paste of Coconut pieces and green chillies and 1/2 sprig of Curry leaves. Set aside. Make coarse paste of cilantro and set aside. Cut drumsticks, dice tomato, cut beans in 1 ' pieces, and use field beans pods which are tender. Use Brinjals which are not acidic and must be seedless. Cut in 1" pieces and then cut in four.Cut carrot length wise in thin piecesor rounds. Soak in water for some 30 minutes and then cook in a pressure pan after adding a bit of salt and quarter spoon of sugar till ¾ cooked. Set aside. Cook the dal after adding one small spoon of asafoetida (hing) very well. Keep it aside in the cooker for thirty minutes. Now churn the dal till the froth and keep it aside. Take the baby onions/shallots and sauté in oil along with diced Capsicum pieces for about three to four minutes. Take care that you don't over fry the onions and capsicum. Capsicum pieces should not lose the color on sauting. There is another variation of adding the raw baby onions in the Dal and let it get cooked in dal itself. I have found the second variation better for sambar taste. Now add extract of Tamarind to Dal along with salt. Boil the dal till the raw smell of Tamrind goes off. Add 3/4 cooked vegetables now and add required salt. also add semi cooked spring onions/shallots and half sprig of curry leaves. Let it boil for about two to three minutes. Now add the paste of Sambar powder, with all the powders you have kept in sambar. Add freshly made paste of Coconut and Green chillies to it and set it to boil. Let the whole thing simmer for about six minutes. Add diced tomato and freshly made paste of cilantro last. Mix well and let it simmer for three minutes.

Tamper with mustard, chillies, fenugreek(methi) seeds, broken coriander seeds and asafoetida in peanut oil.
Garnish with finely chopped cilantro and set aside.


Sambar must be made at least two hours before you are to serve to self or the guests. The real taste of sambar comes only after two hours of cooking. Reheat the Sambar and serve hot.!!!


  1. Such an appetizing sambhar,sir. true that sambhar has to soak in it's own flavours to be savoured fully!

  2. Lata Madam,

    Just try out this recipe.
    It is mind boggling in taste.