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Sambar Rice

- Submitted by Dahlia on 28th Oct 2007

(Sambhar Sadam, Kadamba Sadam, Kootanchoru, Mixed Vegetable Lentil Rice)

Sambar Rice

Sambhar Rice is one of the most common and delicious one-pot meal in any south-Indian household. In many parts of south India it is also referred as Kadamba sadam. Kadamba, meaning mixed and sadam meaning rice. Since it is made with rice, lentils, veggies, tamarind and spices, the name Kadamba is conferred. In Tiruneveli, this is popular by the name Kootan Choru. Again the name comes from the fact that the rice, lentils, veggies and spices are all cooked together. Kootan means combining.

Sambhar rice is very easy and quick to prepare and can be comfortably cooked in our busy mornings. I have also shared the Sambhar Sadam from Karnataka, known as Bisi Bele Bath, which is made elaborately with fresh spices that are roasted and ground. This version of sambar sadam, known as Kootan Choru is much simpler to make. The veggies can be chopped the previous evening to save more time.

Sambhar rice is rich in all the essential nutrients and makes it an ideal choice of lunch for school going children and working professionals. Well known nutritionists advice that rice (a medium glycemic index food) when mixed with dal or Sāmbhar lowers down the GI considerably. The tempering with mustard seeds, jeera and fenugreek seeds, in addition to providing the flavor, also contribute in lowering the GI.Hence Sāmbhar rice can be safely eaten and enjoyed by diet watchers and diabetic patients.  We also add our favorite veggies which make our rice look more colorful and nutritive. The spices used bring in a lot of flavor and also aids in easy digestion. An additional spoon of ghee while serving hot increases the taste quotient many fold.

Sambhar rice can be served along with baby potato fry (My favorite…), chips, colocaesia fry, pappads, raita or even mango pickle.

Recipe For Making Sambar Rice

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-4


  • Rice - 1 cup
  • Split red gram (tur)dal - 1/2 cup
  • Mixed Vegetables - 3 cups (Like Brinjals, Potato, Carrot, Drumstick, Tomato, Ivygourd, Drumstick Leaves, Spinach, Pumpkin, Green Beans, Yam, Broad Beans, Raw Mango, Raw Banana, Zucchini, Sweet Potato etc.)
  • Water- 3 cups
  • Tamarind - lemon sized (soaked in water)
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Sambar powder(or red chili powder) - 3 tsp
  • Coriander leaves(Cilantro) - for garnish (finely chopped)
  • Salt - To taste

For Grinding

  • Grated Coconut - 1/4 cup
  • Small Onions - 6-8
  • Garlic - 4-5 cloves
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Green chili - 1

For Tempering

  • Oil - 1 tbsp
  • Ghee - 1 tbsp
  • Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
  • Thalippu Onion Vadam - 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves- 10


  1. Wash the rice and dal. I like to soak these while I am chopping the vegetables.
  2. Chop all the vegetables about the same size. You can use any vegetables or greens that you have on hand.
  3. Soak some tamarind in about 1/4 cup of water. Grind all the ingredients under 'to grind' with another 1/4 cup of water.
  4. Take the rice, lentils and chopped vegetables in a pressure cooker.
  5. Add the ground paste, salt, turmeric powder and sambar powder.
  6. Extract the tamarind juice and add it to this. Also add the water.
  7. Close the cooker and put the whistle on. Cook it for 4 whistles.
  8. Let the pressure go down naturally. 
  9. Once you open the cooker do a taste test and adjust anything if needed. 
  10. Heat oil in a small skillet. Fry the mustard seed, urad dal, thalippu vengaya vadam, asafoetida and curry leaves for half a minute. 
  11. Add this seasoning to the cooked rice. Add 1 tbsp of ghee and mix everything well. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.

Sambar Rice

Detailed Steps to make Sambar Rice

Here the preparation takes some time and the cooking gets over in a jiffy. Take 1 cup of rice, 1/2 cup of toor dal, wash it and soak it while getting the other things done. Soak the tamarind in 1/4 cup of water.

Chop all the vegetables into big chunks all in the same size. Only if they are big, it will not get mashed up while pressure cooking. There is no hard and fast rules about which vegetable to use. I have given some options above but you can use whatever is left over in your refrigerator. Traditionally a combination of vegetables along with some greens are used.

Sambar Rice Preparation Steps

Grind the small onions, garlic, green chili and cumin seeds with 1/4 cup of water and keep it ready. This step can be skipped if you are in a hurry but the masala adds some extra flavor.

Take the rice, lentils and chopped vegetables in a pressure cooker. Some people cook the vegetables separately but I just add it together to make it easier.

Add the ground paste, turmeric powder and sambar powder to this. Instead of sambar powder, just red chili powder can be used. Another option is to grind some red chilies while making the masala.

Sambar Rice Preparation Steps

Extract the tamarind juice and add it to this. Add the tamarind juice according to what is needed. If you add vegetables like raw green mango, tomato etc., you will need only little tamarind. I would suggest you to add little at this point and after pressure cooking you can add more if needed. Also add the exact amount of water.

Sambar Rice Preparation Steps

Close the cooker and put the whistle on. Cook it for 4-5 whistles and switch off.Let the pressure go down naturally.

Sambar Rice Preparation Steps

Once you open the cooker, check if the salt, spiciness and the sourness is well balanced. If needed, you can add anything needed at this stage and heat it up for couple of minutes. Carefully mix everything once. Everything should be cooked very soft, almost mushy.

Sambar Rice Preparation Steps

Now do the tempering. Heat oil in a small skillet or tadka pan.Add mustard seed and urad dal first. Once it pops, add the thalippu vadam. This is readily available in markets these days. If you cannot find it, just substitute with 2-3 small onions and fry until dark brown. Add the asafoetida and curry leaves.

Sambar Rice Preparation Steps

Switch off and add this to the sambar rice. Drizzle 1 tbsp of ghee over the top. Also add finely chopped coriander leaves. Mix once and it is all ready to serve.

Sambar Rice Preparation Steps

Serving Sambar Rice

  • This rice variety is a wholesome meal by itself. It just needs some papad or fried vadams or pickle on the side. Some people also enjoy it with some raita.

Sambar Rice

More Rice Recipes

Tomato Rice Tomato Rice Mango Rice Mango Rice Ellu Sadam Ellu Sadam Coconut Rice Coconut Rice
See more...

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Comments (4)

Person Alicia   (September 17, 2016)
I have been browsing your site and I feel like preparing many of this dishes. I love Indian food, and I want to prepare some recipes for myself (am Mexican). Thank you very much for sharing. By the way, your site is navigation-friendly and well designed. Very beautiful. Congratulations.
Person Dahlia (S.I.R. Author)   (September 19, 2016)
Hi Alicia, Thanks for your compliments about the navigation and design. I am glad it is user friendly. Do try some Indian recipes and give your comments. I love Mexican food and try it once in a while.
Person xxxx   (July 17, 2014)
This site is very useful... I want new more recipe details
Person Dahlia (S.I.R. Author)   (July 18, 2014)
Thanks. Just browse through the site. You will find many interesting recipes...

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