Hotel Sambhar
We all get excited, when we see king-sized paper roast dosas served with  piping hot hotel sambhar and coconut chutney at restaurants. Here is the recipe for that scrumptious restaurant style sambhar.
1 cup Red gram (soak for atleast 1 hour)
10 nos Sambhar onions/shallots (soak in warm water to peel off the skin)
15 nos White pumpkin (1/4 of a whole pumpkin approx)
1 no Onion (finely chopped)
5 nos Ripe tomatoes (crushed or pureed)
1 no Green chilli
3 clove Garlic
3 tsp Tamrind juice (or thick store bought pulp 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp Jaggery (powdered)
2 tsp Dry coconut flakes/ desicated / coparai thengai
3 tsp Red chilli powder
2 tsp Corrainder/dhania powder
¼ tsp Turmeric powder
2 tsp Sambhar powder (store bought gives good color)
2 tsp Salt (or to taste)
1 tsp Ghee
2 tbsp Oil
½ tsp Mustard
½ tsp Cumin seeds
¼ tsp Fenugreek seeds
2 nos Dry red chilli
½ tsp Asafoetida powder
7 nos Curry leaves
1 stks Corrainder leaves


Wash and soak Toor/Red gram dhal (Thuvaram paruppu ) in water for atleast 1 hour.   Then pressure cook it with little salt until you get 3 to 4 whistles from your cooker.  Once done and when the pressure releases, open and mash it immediately with a flat spatula or blend well and keep aside. Pressure cook pumpkins seperately with a dash of turmeric powder , little salt and water (Maximum 2 whistles) and set aside.
Now take a regular deep sauce pan , heat the oil and add mustard, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, dry red chillies, curry leaves and asafetida, let them splutter, then add the chopped onion, sambhar onions, green chilli and garlic and saute them for a while.

When onions turn translucent add crushed tomatoes , tumeric powder, red chilli powder and dhania powder. Saute everything till the tomatoes become tender and juicy.  Now add  2 cups water, salt, tamrind pulp, cooked toor dhal or Thuvaram paruppu, cooked pumpkin pieces, jaggery, dry coconut flakes and sambhar powder. Let this soupy gravy come to a boil, add ghee at this stage, taste for salt and garnish with corriander leaves.

Spinach Kirai

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  • Sumaiya Suhail

    Will it taste good without coconut flakes/desicated..

  • aparna

    Mullai is the 1 cup measurement the US standard measuremnt cup – 240 ml ? (in india 1 cup generally indicates 200 ml) Thankyou !

  • Dhevi

    Hi Mullai,
    First of all “LOVE “your are a great inspiration,I have been visiting your site for the last 2 or 3 yrs i regrets at all..glad that i found you!!!Thk you so much!!…Btw,sambar turned out very well!! ; )

  • Jrindia

    Hello Mullai
    can we use yellow pumpkin instead of white..

  • Shar

    Hi Mullai, Just a couple of more questions…. i live in toronto n couldn’t find sambar onions … can i just use the normal big onions instead?? would it taste good just with big onions n tomatoes?
    Also i couldn’t find pumpkin.. but got long squash instead of pumpkin .. pls lemme know

  • Shar

    Thanks fr quick response mullai.. It’s our anniversary and I am reading your recipe to decide n cook .. Ur site is great

  • Shar

    Also I searched everywhere but not able to get pumpkin… Can I use cayote squash instead? Please lemme know.. Thanks

  • Shar

    Can I add bhendi to this sambar? Will it taste good?

  • sajjamanjula

    please post some conventional oven recipes. we made cake but it is not soft.

  • HappyBunny

    I’ve started to learn cooking indian food thanks to Mullai. NEVER before was I able to cook indian food because I never knew how much salt to add, or other spices that most recipes would list as “as needed”. Thank very much for all your wonderful recipes. Please continue posting recipes with accurate measurements as you always do.

  • Anil0801

    Just too good mullai – thanks so much for posting this recipe. I love ur site..becos u give the perfect measurements (including the salt) of all the ingredients. I made this sambhar today and it was perfect..everyone liked it. Appreciate all the hard work and effort !!! Keep going…

  • swethavelan

    Hi Mullai,
    Tried the sambar.Truly amazing taste.It tasted just like hotel sambar back home.Whenever I had sambar in hotels I”ve wondered what is the secret ingredients which makes it tasty and liked by all.Now I know,THANKS to you.My family loved it.Your recipes make me innovative to try new recipes and since it becomes sucess makes me a confident cook.THANKS.

  • sssuuu

    Mullai : just an urgent queryyy!

    i m making this sambhar now, n i dont hv pumpkins, cn i use potatoes instead??
    thnx 4 ur reply

  • pappoo

    Dear Mullai,

    Perfect ingredients and easily repeatable procedure. Sambar turned out yumm… I am enjoying cooking more than ever, with the help of your site though ;)

  • june2420009

    Is it ok if I use my granma’s sambahr powder?? I use it for making sambhar and as a substitute for chilli powder cuz majority of it is made with dry red chillies.If not please suggest some good brand of sambhar powder.

    And your chicken recepies are a big hit among our friends here.My husband makes it for potluck and we get endless compliments!!!

  • s.joseph

    Mullai can u say 1cup interms of grams. Is it 200gms?

  • suchi37

    Cant wait to try this. Going to skip the garlic due to religious reasons. Thank you for the detailed instructions.

  • GowriPrasanna

    Hi Mullai,

    I tried this recipe yesterday and it came out extremely well…My husband liked it very much…Thanks a lot !

  • Salu

    Hi Mullai,

    Iam a new member and iam trying out your recipes everyweek, I tried your Sambar recipe and it was really excellent.
    Thanks for sharing…
    Keep posting more recipes :)

  • sumakg

    Tried this recipe today and came out hit. Thanks for sharing. Keep up the good work.

  • valli_02

    Hi Mullai

    I tried this sambar today and it was great. My husband loved it very much.

    I’m a regular visitor of your site and have tried many of your recipes, all of them have come out really good. Thx for sharing such wonderful recipes.

    Good luck


  • Ratna A

    Hi Mullai,

    I tried you hotel sambhar recipe yday and it was awesome. Got good comments from my husband and kids. We had the leftover for lunch and it tasted much better. Thanks for the recipe.

  • akiljay

    The recipe is too good..thanks

  • RajiSenthil

    Hello Mullai, tried this sambar and it came out very well. All the compliments to you. Thanks for sharing such great recipes – Raji

  • afreen

    hai mullai,
    thanks for the tasty recepie.
    pls advice what other veg we can use in sambar.

  • Jayanthi Senthil Kumar

    Hi Mullai, i tried this sambaar yesterday, it came out very well as it is in the picture. Very easy and simple way of getting a great dish.

  • abigail

    Can we have this ambhar with rice.Plz help

  • Cappuccino

    Ma’am, white pumpkin means Poosanikai ya ? The veggie which we used to cook during Ammavaasai…

    Have a great day

  • jesse

    Hello mullai mam,
    i made hotel sambar today..came out great. I used radish insted of pumpkin. Thanks a lot for ur recipe. And i also like this website..Am new here..but am going to try out many dishes.

  • shalinivenkatesh

    hi mullai…. i made this sambhar twice and u know wat was the comment tht i got??? sambhar pattayai kallappudu…. thnxxxxxxxxx a ton……

  • freya

    Hi Mullai!
    Thankkkkkkk You so much for the recipe..It was so good

  • pooja

    HI Mullai
    Just relished this sambar with Dosai . It was so YUMMY !!!!!!!!!
    My friends who had come for lunch just loved it and they were asking for the recipe !
    Thanx a lot for posting this


  • abigail

    Hey Mullai
    How does a pumpkin look in the farmer’s market as my family as never done sambhar with pumpkin Plz help.

  • christy1978

    sambar looks mouth watering
    always y try to make sambar somewhat the other won’t turn to be good.
    now i’m going to try your version
    i hope this time i won’t fail.
    can i use sambar vadagam finally ti finish the dish.( made by toor dal, bengal gram dal, black gram dal, asafoetida and sambar onion all together crushed and dried.

    • Mullai

      Christy, use of vadagam will change the taste. Vadagam proportion and measure varies with every family, its ok to add to your regular sambar preparations. But for this recipe, inorder to get the right taste pls avoid vadagam. Thanks.

  • jayamini

    mullai i loved this recipe very much

  • sripriya_d

    I tried this recipe. It turned out very good. Thanks for sharing Mullai!

  • Sivajothi

    As usual Kalakiteenga madam…
    Sooper-ah dinner mudicha kaiyoda, msg panren….

    Keep up the good work Madam :)

  • pann07

    Hi Mullai:

    Recipe looks awesome,Im gonna try it, but i have a doubt, Is the red chilli powder plain chilli powder? and when we add sambhar powder on top of it, willn’t it be too hot?

  • Salai Varumpadham

    Hi Mullai , We tried your sambhar recipe and it tasted wonderful like a Hotel Sambhar . Thanks for the same . Regards , Salai

  • Suganswami

    I’m done with radish Sambar. Came out delicious… Thanks, Mullai.The only left over I prefer the most is sambar…

  • Suganswami

    I’m a sambar lover, Mullai. First time saw this recipe. Waiting to make this….

  • manjupriya

    Hi Mullai, I made this sambar yesterday and my husband loved it. Didn't had pumpkin, so added red radish. It came out really nice. Thankyou. I usually don't cook a lot of varieties, but your recipes (especially the pictures) motivate me to try more varieties. You are an amazing cook!

  • jaan

    hai MULLAI thanx

    i gonna try today new sambhar,coz normally we made it with carrots,drumsticks,eggplants etc.

  • Visitor

    Hi Mullai I have doubts in this sambar
    1. 1 teaspoon jaggery means is it sugar or manda vellam.
    2.If I am using 2 cups of dal do i have to put 6 teaspoons chilli powder and 10 no’s tomato
    3.Can I crush the tomatoes in mixie or shall i cut it.
    4.Can I use shredded coconut instead of dry coconut flakes.
    5.1 onion means is it a big one(bellary)

    I am going to prepare this for a party.Please clear my doubts soon.

    • Mullai

      Hello Madam???

      1. You can use mandai vellam about a grape size.

      2. If your home made chili powder is too spicy, then reduce to 2 tsp for each cup. Since you are adding vellam and lots of tomato pulp, the spice level will be adjusted. Ofcourse everything has to be doubled for 2 cups.

      3. Crushing is mixie works only with blanching, raw crushing with the skin on will taste sour. So better cut or crush with hands. Crushed canned tomatoes will give nice colour and sweetness to your dish. (option)

      4. Dry coconut has got nice nutty flavour, if using fresh grated.. then toast it slighly on a tawa and then add.

      5. Usually when nothing is specified, assume its a medium onion.. any variety is fine.



  • jeyalakshmi

    This came out nicely. Thanks, Mullai.


  • DEEPu

    Hi mullai,

    Today i made this sambar for pongal. It tastes awesome just like saravana bhavan sambar.


  • ashu singh


    pls cud u explain as in the last line of the procedure u mentioned this add we need to add ghee when it comes to boil but wud nt ghee float on the water..

    i am going to try ur receipe now.


    • Mullai

      Hi Ashu Singh, Its added just to give rich taste and aroma to the dish. If you wish you can add while seasoning. This is not a must, but normally any sambar would be served with a dash of ghee, instead its being added at the final stage in this recipe.

  • anup

    I tried this came out very well.we really enjoyed it.
    thanks for sharing a hotel sambhar recipe.

  • sleshar

    Dear Mullai
    please advise whether we can use some other veg like drum sticks or so instead of pumpkins

    • Mullai


      Any squash is Ok, but if you can't find them, then try with small onions. If nothing works, go with drumstick, brinjal, carrot or green bell pepper. All these are added for regular sambar which goes well with rice. As far as I know, most hotel sambar are made with white pumpkins.

    • sleshar

      thanku mullai

      ll try that

      all your recipies are good

  • Visitor

    Mullai: Where can i find pumpkin at this time of the year in the US?

  • kala

    Hi Mullai,
    In the ingredients list you mentioned red gram dhal and in cooking method you have mentioned thoor dhal, which one did you use. Please clarify.

  • ushma

    Really mouth watering sambhar recipe.
    I liked it.

    Thks for sharing.

    Do share such amazing receipes in future toooooooooo.

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