Sambhar is a traditional South Indian savoury lentil soup. This dish is  flavoured with tamarind to give it a uniquely sour  taste.


  • 1 cup red lentils (Biryani dhall/lentils)
  • 1/2 cup split pea lentils
  • 1 cup frozen mix vegetables
  • 1 medium sized onion, grated
  • 1 low acid or jam tomato, grated
  • Salt to taste
  • Water
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind
  • 2 teaspoons mixed coriander and cumin powder
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
  •  1 sprig curry leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon desiccated coconut


  1. In a large pot stir in the red and split pea lentils.
  2. Add enough water to cover the surface of the lentils.
  3. Place the pot onto the stove top on a medium heat setting and bring the lentils to a boil.
  4. When the lentils begin to boil, a foam starts to form.
  5. Rinse the water until it runs clear. Add in more water to cover the lentils.
  6. Return the pot to stove top.
  7. Stir in the grated tomato, onion and mixed vegetables.
  8. Cook until the vegetables and lentils have soften.
  9. In a medium sized bowl, add in the tamarind and 2 1/2 cups of boiling water.
  10. Remove the pulp and seeds if any from the tamarind mixture.
  11. Stir the tamarind mixture into the pot of lentils.
  12. Season with salt, turmeric powder, coriander and mixed cumin powder.
  13. In a sauce pan melt the butter or margarine.
  14. Stir in the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves, chillies and coconut.
  15. Simmer the mixture for 1-2 minutes.
  16. Add the coconut mixture to the lentils and allow to cook for a further 15- 20 minutes. Serve the sambhar hot.