Bombay Sambar

I thought I would not post a recipe in this blogathon, what-so-ever. Here I am, with a recipe post. This recipe had to be shared, like instantly. I am not sure if you all have heard of Bombay Sambar, but it was a first for me last night. I am not sure why its called Bombay Sambar, but all I know is its tastes awesome. So, what happened is that my parents were with my sister and BIL in BIL’s hometown for Pongal and my sister’s MIL had made this Bombay Sambar one day for breakfast. Ever since, Amma had been talking nonstop about it. Everyday, she would try interesting me in making this but I wouldnt listen to her. Last evening, when I was cribbing to amma that I am bored of usual cooking, she again tried her luck in making me prepare this. A little talk with sister, made me jump into action quickly and make this super duper Bombay Sambar.

Though this is called Sambar, this has no dal. It can be made in less than 20mins and yet tastes nothing less than usual sambar. It goes really well with idli/dosa. I have modified the recipe to suit my taste – I added a cup of vegetables and avoided coconut. I started with just an onion and ended up having half kadai of sambar. Looks like its one of the best dishes to prepare when there are guests at home – with little effort, it gives off more. And here is the recipe with step by step photos –

What I used –Β 

  • Onion, 1 medium sized chopped length wise
  • Mixed Vegetables, 1 cup (I used carrot and capsicum, as I had only these)
  • Oil, 2 tsp + 1 tsp
  • Green Chillies, 2
  • Fried Gram, 2 tbsp
  • Tamarind, a small ball
  • Garlic Pods, 2 (optional)
  • Coconut, 2tbsp (optional – I didnt use any)
  • Idli/Dosa Batter – 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric, 1 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Mustard, 1 tsp
  • Cumin, 1 tsp
  • Hing, 1/2 tsp
  • Curry Leaves, a few
  • Fresh Coriander, to garnish

How I made –Β 

In a kadai, add 2 tsp of oil, fry onions until translucent.

Add the cut vegetables and fry for a couple of minutes. Add enough water, salt and turmeric. Let it boil.


Meanwhile in a mixer – grind fried gram, tamarind, garlic pods and green chillies.

Once the vegetables are cooked, add the ground paste. Let it simmer for about 10mins.

Add the idli/dosa batter and stir it quickly before any lumps are formed. Add more water at this stage, if required.

In another pan, add a tsp of oil and add mustard, cumin and hing. Add curry leaves. Put the tadka over the sambar.Β Garnish with coriander.


Serve hot with hot idlis. Tastes divine! (Especially if the idlis turn out to be velvety soft and even better, if the said idli batter has been generously given in a large dabba by the MIL. Did I tell you I love this lady? Yes I do!!)



22 thoughts on “Bombay Sambar

  1. I too have heard of this sambar for the first time!! And adding dosa batter to it is a great idea!! Would love to try it out!!
    Talk about sharing recipes in the blogathon!! I think I might have shared maximum number of recipes in this month!!

    • You know, this sambar is usually made in Southern towns of Tamil Nadu and yet, its named Bombay Sambar – for reason unknown πŸ™‚

      Yeah, what an innovation isnt it?! I am thankful to Sister’s MIL πŸ˜€

      Oh I loved all those recipes and your whole wheat herb bread is refusing to leave my mind πŸ˜€

  2. haiyayo idly poo madri iruku πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ you are making me to eat my desktop πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ i love this sambar πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • Sure sure πŸ™‚ I would love to hear about it. One suggestion though is, add coconut. I had none yesterday and thus didnt add. Sister tells coconut takes it to another new level πŸ™‚

  3. I have heard about bombay chutney which is based on fried gram.. bombay sambar – hearing for the first time that too using idli batter on side dish cooking – I feel strange.. anyways will try this someday.. thanks for sharing!

  4. Such a different recipe GB πŸ™‚ Adding dosa batter to the Sambar makes the recipe so unique. At which stage are we supposed to use coconut GB, to be ground with the pottukadele and tamarind and green chillies ?

  5. I just wanted to like this post and ended up commenting as the button is disabled πŸ˜‰ Idli looks good but Sambar Im not sure πŸ™‚ I need to give a try which myt take ages πŸ˜‰

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