Garden Veggie Sambhar for GBP

september veggies
fresh vegetables from my own plants, hooray!

I am hooked on sambhar — never does a day go by that I don’t crave it.
I took advantage of the long weekend to make several big batches of toor dal in the pressure cooker. I saved them in 1-cup containers in the fridge — not a novel idea I am sure, but I’m happy I finally did it.
Now I can have tasty sambhars in a flash!

Tonight, I made use of that precooked dal and the bounty of fresh veggies from the backyard — deck and garden plot. Imagine how happy I am to be able to say that every veggie in this dish came from my own little plants 🙂

red and yellow tomatoes from the garden
fresh red and yellow tomatoes from the backyard

Because I used so much tomato, I omitted the tamarind. The sambhar was not as rich as a result; rather it had a different, lighter, fresher sort of taste which I really enjoyed.

This recipe is a big thanks to everyone who offered advice and encouragement in my quest for a backyard garden (and Bee, I know you don’t love sambhar, but I thank you all the same! Please note I did not put radishes in 😉 ). It’s also for anyone who thinks, as I did, that they don’t have a “green thumb” — if I could get a few veggies, I am sure anyone can!

This is also my entry to Inji’s Green Blog Project, hosted for this summer by lovely Deepz of Letz Cook.

Garden Veggie Sambhar
This is what I used — you can add any fresh vegetables of your choice.
If you don’t use tomatoes, you’ll want tamarind, of course.

1 c cooked toor dal

1 tsp oil
few methi seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1-2 dried red chiles
6-8 curry leaves

2 c chopped tomatoes (I used a mix of red and yellow)

1/2 tsp cumin pwd
1/4 tsp methi pwd
1 heaping tsp ISG’s special sambhar powder
2-3 c water

salt to taste

1-2 long brinjals (or 6-8 small), cut in medium pieces
1 small yellow summer squash, cut in medium pieces
10-12 green beans, broken in thirds
a few okras (I got two — you can use more!)


This is pretty basic sambhar recipe so I won’t detail the whole thing. I am lazy so usually do the tadka first. When the mustard seeds popped, I added the chopped tomatoes, dry spices and sambhar powder. Let that all cook down a bit then added the cooked toor dal and 2 c water. If your tomatoes are watery, you won’t need more — mine were juicy but not overly watery, so I added the additional cup of water. Add in the fresh vegetables and simmer over med-low heat for about 20 minutes, or until green beans are tender but still crisp. Serve hot with rice, or eat as is for a comforting cool-evening soup.

garden veggie sambhar
garden veggie sambhar with rice, served in a “nappy”
(handled bowl) of elegant glassware from the Depression period —
“Baroque” pattern by Fostoria, circa 1936


  1. bee said

    linda, i would kill for those tender okra, and the greenest beans i have ever seen. heck, your sambar has gotta be superliciously yummy with all those things in there. you have a mega green thumb.

    You’re kind to say, Bee. Happy to see you back around! Okra is a garden challenge for me and one I am anxious to learn more about next year. I did recall your admonition regarding wind and tomaotes — hence I caged them halfway through the season. They have since nearly outgrown the cages, so I owe you a big thanks for that tip! 🙂

  2. Cynthia said

    Hi Linda, like Bee said, you have a really good green thumb. I envy you 😦

    Your sambhar looks so delicious. I myself made a big pressure cooker of dhal just yesterday and have it in containers in my fridge. It’s nice to know that all you have to do is reach in and get some when you want, isn’t it? 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and helping me to discover yours.

    Hi Cynthia, so glad you stopped by here, too — happy you enjoyed the sambhar! 🙂 It’s great to have that dal ready and waiting, for sure. I have lots more exploring to do at your blog, but I am first looking for guava 🙂

  3. Hi,
    Nice sambhar! You are lucky to have space for veg garden! tomatoes are lovely!

    Thank you Latha — you’ll have space too in a container or two as well! My best okra plant was not in the backyard, but in the container 🙂

  4. Suganya said

    Now-a-days people don’t prepare mixed veg sambar. At least i don’t. But each vegetable brings a special flavour to the sambar. Linda, you have inspired me make a mixed veg sambar. But i WANT those tender okra. I am a sucker for okra in any form.

    I’m a sucker for okra too, Suganya! I would gladly send you some if I had more than 2 😉
    I didn’t know mixed veg sambhar was out of the mainstream, but I sure love it anyway 🙂

  5. shyam said

    I usually use a couple of tomatoes in sambar even though I use tamarind as well… and just like you, I do the tadka first 🙂 Lazy people think alike, eh? 😀

    Great minds, Shammi, great minds 😉 I will try tomato *and* tamarind sometime, too 🙂

  6. sia said

    donno if i have green thumb but i am green with envy for sure 😉 what a bounty linda. every time i see ur posts on ur garden produce i just cant stop drooling. rich tomatoey sambar in that gorgeous galss bowl looks absolutely delicious. and i too want that tender okras… beautiful, beautiful post linda 🙂

    *Green* with envy, Supriya? Good one! 😉
    I’m so happy you enjoyed, and thank you! 🙂

  7. indosungod said

    Linda, those gorgeous veggies and you certainly have a green thumb! the veggies love you, Linda love this tamarind less sambhar, it is usually made at my mom’s home for breakfast to go with idlis or dosais. I guess it is good to leave the tamarind out that early in the morning.

    I wish I wasn’t so lazy in the morning, ISG, and would make some idlis or dosas too. The sambhar was different without tamarind for sure! Thanks for all your garden tips, too! 🙂

  8. Asha said

    I love those yellow and red tomatoes,yummy! I am got about 15 Okras,that’s it for this year! Sambhar looks wonderful. I have to make ISG’s powder too!:))
    We pulled all but tomatoes and OKra plants last week.Enjoy Linda.

    ISG’s magic sambhar powder is a winner, thanks Asha! If you got 15, seasoned at gardening, and I got 2 (well ok, maybe 2 more still coming), I consider that a pretty good harvest! 😉 Tomatoes have a long way to go yet. Summer squash is about done though. Stay resting, dear 🙂

  9. Richa said

    that sambar looks so thick n nice 🙂
    lovely harvest, beans look so good.
    this time i cooked mostly from my garden tomatoes, makes me so happy 🙂

    Thanks Richa! I know what you mean — it’s a great feeling to cook with your own fresh veggies! Glad you did, too 🙂

  10. Mishmash! said

    That sambhar looks very authentic, Linda…you have every reason to be proud of yourself for marrying Indian cuisine in such a successful way!!!

    “I am hooked on sambhar — never does a day go by that I don’t crave it.” Oh myyyyyyyy!!! :))))))

    Thank you Shn, I’m smiling bigtime!! 🙂 It’s true though, I do crave it and it’s one of the few things I can cook without a recipe, that’s how often I make sambhar now! 🙂

  11. meeso said

    Great tomatoes! Every year I practice around with a garden, and every year I learn from a few new mistakes…but eventually I think I’ll get it…as it looks like you have! Great recipe too!

    Thanks Meeso! I’m sure you’ll get it — if I could grow something you certainly can! A lot of tips, a little luck and a good drip-hose helped, too 🙂 Will keep watching for your garden come spring!

  12. shankari said

    You never stop amazing me! The sambhar looks great , my eyes were drooling on those tender okra..stuffed okra with those will be so good. When you have some more, try making these..wash and make a small wedge to stuff in the okra.
    Make a mix of salt,chilli powder,garam masala, turmeric, lime juice..this will be like a paste , stuff in the egg plant and saute them or you can even bake it. Goes well with rotis or just plain rice, yogurt and stuffed okra…ok I better stop now..I am salivating

    Hey Shankari, how come I didn’t realise you were back in town! I’m glad you liked the sambhar, and thanks for the stuffed okra recipe. If I could get more than 1 or 2 at a time, I will try that! 🙂

  13. TBC said

    Oh your veggies look simply fab! & your sambar looks gorgeous. You are so lucky to have your own garden.

    Thanks TBC, I keep remembering your cauliflower soup and think I will plant that next spring! Even if you don’t have a yard, try a pot or two on deck or patio — I had lots of luck with those 🙂

  14. bhags said

    the sambhar is mouthwatering….guess i m going make this one as soon as i get a decent enough kitchen to cook

    Thanks Bhags, glad you liked it! 🙂

  15. Latha said

    Look at those resplendant veggies! Love the look of those! And i’m sure u’re sambar must have been delicious with those fresh veggies!

    Thank you Latha dear, it was alot of fun to say the veggies were “just picked”, for sure 🙂

  16. Rajitha said

    again…those tomatoes look so beautiful.. how do you cut them… how!! sambhar looks delicious

    It took a heart of steel, Rajitha, and a sharp knife 😉 Thanks so much 🙂

  17. sandeepa said

    You got a good bounty Linda. My beans were not many and I fried them up with aloo, no pics there. The tomatoes again, you know I got the cherry ones 🙂

    I love that bowl and what is in it too

    Thank you Sandeepa! I was so happy with my little harvest. Got about 15 lbs of tomatoes thus far! Well worth all the work, and already can’t wait for next spring. I’ll do a better job planning next time.
    Glad you got so many cherry tomatoes! My beans were few as well, but a few fresh beans with aloo, fried by you, is a yummy picture in my mind. Have a great weekend 🙂

  18. Menu Today said

    Hi Linda,
    Colourful Sambar looks delicious.
    Gonkura too looks nice. Thanks for sharing.

    Hi MT, thanks for your kind comments 🙂 That chutney of ISG’s with gongura is really spicy-good, hope you try too 🙂

  19. Happy cook said

    I love sambar.
    Give it to me any time just with simple white rice. Delicious.
    And ofcourse with dosa and idlis. yum yum.
    Your dish looks lovely

    Hi Happy Cook, and thanks 🙂 I usually forgo even the rice and eat sambhar alone… I’m so lazy I know 😉 I really need practice with dosas especially!

  20. Vani said

    How nice that you got the veggies right from your backyard! I absolutely LOVE that bowl!
    I use both tomato and tamarind in my version of sambar (called Huli).
    You sure have a green thumb, Linda. I never really ventured into gardening before but maybe I should try some indoor potted veggies first.
    Oh, btw, I do the tadka first too! 🙂

    Hi Vani, so happy to see you around! I would definitely try growing something — if I could do it I am sure you could 🙂 Thanks for your kind words — I will have to try tomato and tamarind together sometime 🙂

  21. neroli said

    Okay, Linda—that sambhar looks great, and now I feel hungry for some…and I’m trying to catch up visiting blogging friends before we go to the ballpark…and somewhere along the way there’s all the domestic stuff that needs to be done…sigh
    always time to cook, yes?
    mopping floors can wait!
    Thanks for helping me get my priorities straight 😉

    Always time to cook, Neroli. Somewhere I have a placard that reads: “If you’re coming to see me (and have lunch) come anytime — if you’re coming to see my house, please make an appointment” 😉

    Hope you had fun at the ballpark 🙂

  22. sharmi said

    now this is why we say “out of the garden”:)) so fresh and yum. organic food. lovely!

    Thanks Sharmi — I’m glad you enjoyed! 🙂

  23. sandeepa said

    Hi Linda
    Just saw your comment.

    You know I am not exactly sure what nullifies the bitterness some get in their mustard paste. It is largely due to the type of the blender. We never had this problem while grinding in India

    Adding salt, green chillies and soaking does help. But with most blenders here, it is not possible to get small quantity of a smooth paste.

    I got a Magic Bullet and that really does a VERY GOOD job, NO bitterness. My Cuisinart Blender though is unable to produce the smooth paste. I have heard the brand Osterizer also works well

    If you are dry grinding as using a coffe grinder I would suggest make the paste (after dry grinding) with a little vinegar, salt and green chillies to compensate the slight bitterness

    Thanks for all the great info, Sandeepa. I use a KitchenAid grinder which is more powerful than a standard coffee grinder, holds little more, and seems to work well for most things. I am sure it’s not the same as purpose-made grinders — I hope to have one of those someday! Meantime I will have to check out the MB. 🙂

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