Sambhar-Indian Lentil Curry-Gluten Free

Sambhar is a lentil curry that is often served with Idly. There are many different variations, using different lentils and vegetables. Styles normally differ by what part of the country you live in. This, is the closest recipe I have found, to what I am familiar with. It can be eaten with Idly or with Masala Dosa (Planning on making this soon). For my Indian “junk food night,” I served Idly and Sambar, with Bhel and Pani Puri. Bhel is a mixture of spicy puffed rice and many other different chips (made from chickpeas) and nuts. It is normally mixed with Tamarind-Date Chutney, Coriander Chutney, onions, tomato, parsley and potatoes. Pani Puri, is one of my husband’s favorite treats, is a puri, a small round hollow ball that has been deep-fried, that is filled with potatoes, onions, chickpeas, lentils and tamarind chutney, then dipped in a sauce cause “Pani” or water. This pani is a spicy green sauce that has the consistency of water. If you go to Indian stores, they sell kits with many of these ingredients, already prepared and all you need to do is add water. Hope you enjoy this meal!

Sambhar served with Idly


1/2 a lime sized ball of Tamarind (or 1 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice)

1 cup of toor dal, washed

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon of red pepper powder

1 1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder

1 green chili, cut into thirds

1 medium onion

1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds

1 large tomato, diced

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

vegetables of your choice

(I used zucchini, bell peppers and carrots)

salt to taste



  1. In a separate cooking pot, boil 2 cups of water with toor dal and 1 teaspoon of oil.
  2. As the dal is boiling, skim off any foam and discard (add water if needed)
  3. Cooking until dal is soft and mash
  4. Meanwhile, saute chili, mustard seeds and onions until onions are browned
  5. Add add tomato, vegetables and spices and mix to combine.
  6. Add mixture to dal and add water if needed (mixture must be pourable)
  7. Cook for about 15 minutes and then remove from heat
  8. Garnish with cilantro

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Filed under Curry, Gluten Free/ Gluten Free Suggestion, Sauces and Spices

7 responses to “Sambhar-Indian Lentil Curry-Gluten Free

  1. I love this Tamarind is another hard ingredient to get here… If I need it I go visit my parents and make it to the city… needless to say I’ve only used it a few times. Oh, and our selections of lentils… less than sparse.

    • Yea, that is actually one of the reasons I do not make a lot of Indian foods (sad..I know) Ingredients are hard to find generally. I just came back from a trip to Lancaster, Pa and managed to get a few ingredients that are good for Indian foods but it is annoying when I run out. Plus, my kitchen is small..too small to store many ingredients. What I did like about this recipe, is it required only one lentil. You can use an alternative lentil, if need be. As for Tamarind..I didn’t have any either, so I substituted lemon.

  2. Awesome! Can’t wait to try this sometime soon! 🙂

  3. That looks and sounds delicious. We eat mostly gluten-free at our house and I love Indian dishes.

    • I try to provide many gluten-free recipes. I hope you try this one. It is one of the foods, I had growing up and I have always enjoyed it. My family, is from India 🙂 Thank you for visiting and Happy Cooking!

  4. Indian junk food night sounds awesome (so does this recipe) sign me up!

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