Sambhar With Nothing In It ~ And Why Not!

For this month’s Jihva, lovely word which I finally learned to pronounce correctly — thank you Indira!

toor dal and sambhar powder
best quality ~ toor dal and sambhar powder

I borrowed an idea from dear Latha’s grandmother.

She made goddu upma ~ “upma with nothing in it”.
It looked so easy and delicious. Why not goddu sambhar!?!

fresh seasonings
freshest seasonings

Wash a little toor dal and cook it up soft. Heat pure ghee and plenty of it.
Do the tadka with lively mustard and subtle cumin seeds, the mellow heat of kashmiri chiles, and the enticing aroma of fresh curry leaves.
Pour on the dal.

Sprinkle the most fragrant sambhar powder.
Maybe even make it fresh ~ just because you’re worth it!

Add pure cold water and a touch of salt… and simmer.

What you get is a nourishing comfort dish full of earthy flavor of toor dal
shining through the spices.

That, to me, is simply sublime.

goddu sambhar
goddu sambhar ~ sambhar with nothing in it!

Thank you ISG, for the fragrance of the sambhar powder that never disappoints, and thank you Latha, and your ammama, for the inspiration to savor beguiling sambhar, just as it is 🙂


  1. bee said

    ok, linda. i’m about to do the unthinkable. this weekend, i’m gonna make indo’s sambar powder because you recommend it so highly.i hate sambar made with sambar powder (only freshly ground masala with coconut is what i make), but this one i’ve gotta try. j will be happy.

    Hooray. You won’t be disappointed, Bee. And J will be ecstatic 🙂

  2. Dhivya said

    Sambar with or without anything in it – is my all time FAV. I luv it; but then I luv it all the more with onions in it with potato curry! YUM

    My all-time fav too, Dhivya! I love it with the baby onions, but was very lazy tonight. I will have to try with potato curry 🙂

  3. sra said

    You didn’t use any tamarind? Think that’s a must for sambar, and still can count for sambar with nothing in it 🙂

    Yes, I know, no tamarind. I’m so lazy! You called me on that first Sra — was wondering who would! Little less than perfect yes, but still absolute heaven 🙂

  4. sra said

    Just splitting hairs, as you can see 😀

    I do that too! Just to reassure myself I went and checked Dakshin cookbook — I’ve got two sambhar recipes in there that don’t call for tamarind. WHEW! 😉

  5. Shella said

    Linda, you are so right……I make sambar with nothing always, coz my hubby doesnt like anything in it, except for maybe potatoes……n I agree with dear Sra, I this tamarind is a must??

    It’s pretty much a traditional ingredient, Shella, yes. I left it out. I was being lazy 🙂 I think the special sambhar powder more than compensates. One could add tamarind of course, and it would be that much better! 🙂

  6. Seema said

    Nice reicpe.. an all time favourite with South Indiands.. Hot hot idlis & sambhar.. Its great!

    Thanks Seema — I was so lazy I didn’t make idlis though. Would like to have those more often! 🙂

  7. Nupur said

    Ahhh….sublime. I treat sambar as a vehicle for consuming copious amounts of vegetables, but this minimalist version looks delightful.

    Oh Nupur, love your eloquence! I usually use up all my veggies in sambhar too — just felt like something ‘instant’ and simple this time 🙂

  8. Aparna said

    Interesting recipe, Linda. Its good to see what one can do with some improvisation. Technically, though, I think to qualify for a sambhar the recipe needs tamarind 🙂
    But then, who says you need to stick to the rules? Many good recipes would cease to exist then 😦
    One suggestion. You could perhaps liquidise a tomato and add it while cooking to provide the tang. I used to do this some time back when I was taking some Ayurvedic medicine which required me to stay off tamarind, among other foods!

    Hi Aparna,

    I’m not much good at sticking to the rules *all* the time 🙂

    I’ve seen sambhar recipes calling for tomato also — I guess I was just too lazy to add much when I made this. It wasn’t as tangy as other versions, but with ISG’s special sambhar powder you really don’t miss that 🙂

  9. indosungod said

    Linda, pure simplicity but bliss is what you have there. I am extra peppy everytime you talk about the sambhar powder and and one of your lovely preparations includes it, yup I do agree it is well worth it 🙂

    Minimalist sambhar tastes great as a side for idli or dosai, my mom makes this version with the addition of tomatoes. Tamarind was not added for the breakfast version of the sambhar and I tend to follow it.

    I remember you saying your mom made this with tomato in place of tamarind, ISG. BTW I’m extra peppy every time I use that sambhar powder! Truly a kitchen staple for me, now 🙂

  10. simpleanddelicious said

    Hi Linda,
    This is first time I visit here. Really appreciate your enthusiasm for trying out various dishes.
    Went through your posts and loved it..!
    For sambar, I love this version, with nothing in it, hate sambar with so many veggies. Adding a tomato or a piece of raw mango , will give it a great taste again, I think so..:)

    I’m so glad you visited, and thanks for your kind comments! I will definitely try that raw mango sometime, too, thank you! 🙂

  11. Asha said

    That’s how millions of Indian families cook everyday Sambhar Linda!:D

    You don’t even have to add Sambhar pd, just cook dal with 2 tomatoes and Tadka, that’s it.Beatiful is ready! That is real Goddu Saaru!:)

    Enjoy. I am busy making Dal dishes for ya, bye for now!:))

    Boy, that really *would* be goddu saaru Asha! 🙂 Can’t wait to see your toor dal goodies — we have to keep you busy busy busy cooking for us, no rest for the weary my dear! 😉

  12. Richa said

    why not, indeed!!!!!
    pure ghee makes everything taste sublime, imo 🙂

    Oh yes, Richa, indeed! Too bad too much pure ghee makes too much Linda 😉

  13. TBC said

    That looks delicious, Linda. I like sambar with or without anything in it. :-)I ‘ve never added cumin seeds for a sambar, though.

    I’m a bit of a cumin fanatic, TBC 🙂 Glad you liked, thanks! 🙂

  14. Manasi said

    This loks so good!! wold love to drkink this like a soup and also with soft idlis!!! YUM!!!

    Hi Manasi, and thank you! That is how I had it — as a soup. If I had some idlis too… mmmMM 🙂

  15. Deepa said

    This is the perfect comfort food at my place …yummy one

    Thank you Deepa — that’s how I thought of it when I made it — comfort food 🙂

  16. Eskay said

    Yum!!! Looks amazing Linda!

    Glad you liked it, Eskay — thanks! 🙂

  17. Mythreyee said

    Oh my God, the way you have presented the recipe is awesome. I shall be trying this recipe tomorrow with new sambar powder as I think I am worth this wonderful dish. thanks for sharing.

    Mythreyee, you are *definitely* worth it! So happy you enjoyed the post — thank you for your kind words 🙂

  18. Menu Today said

    Hi Linda,
    This sambar goes well with any tiffin item. Looking nice.Thanks for sharing.

    Thank you, MT! 🙂

  19. Indira said

    It’s my pleasure to talk with you Linda. 🙂

    It’s great to see you picking up new words. Goddu and mudda are two words that get frequently attached to toor dal preparations in Telugu. Your goddu sambar is just the thing I would like to have on this cold, dreary day.:)

    Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving Day celebrations!

    Thank you Indira 🙂 Hope the dreary days are clearing up for you this weekend! 🙂

  20. VegeYum said

    Oh your photo leaves my mouth watering.

    So glad you enjoyed, Vegeyum 🙂

  21. Lakshmi said

    Hi Linda I tried e-mailing my JFI entry to outofthegarden1911_at_ but the e-mail is not leaving my inbox and says ‘address not recognised. Could you plz advise. Btw that sambhar of yours looks lovely.

    Hi Lakshmi, I’m sorry for the inconvenience — yahoo seems to be bouncing a few folks. I will send you an email and see if you can reply to that 🙂 Look forward to your entry! And glad you like the sambhar 🙂

  22. Archana said

    Yes, why not? I have done it the day i came back from India after a vaccation, and it tasted goood.

    Hi Archana, so nice to see you! If you made this too, I am in very good company! 🙂

  23. Ramki said

    Hi Linda, Am blogging your sambar as a model recipe in the 1001 sambar cookbook at

    /Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    Hi Ramki, that’s a very interesting idea you have going. Thanks for letting me know and I’m glad you liked the goddu sambhar 🙂

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