Simple Indian Recipes...
Delicious and healthy dishes that can be made even by first timers.

Sambar Vada

 Published 2016-Sep-06   Updated 2017-Nov-21

- Submitted by Dahlia

(Sambhar Vadai, Restaurant style sambar vada)

Sambhar vada is another appetizing, tasty and mouth watering dish that can even be served as starter for guests. For sambhar vada, we immerse the medu vada or ulundu vada in sambhar with garnishing on top. It is very famous across all restaurants in Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

For making sambar vada, you just need to submerge some crispy medu vadas in hot sambar. Medu vada can be made in the usual way and immersed in regular sambar that you make. You could even take a short cut by using store bought vadas. But if you want to enjoy the tasty hotel style sambar vada, there are few things that you need to keep in mind. When making vadas, no need of adding chopped onions or vegetables. Also, while making sambar, do not add vegetables. A simple sambar made with just shallots (also known as vengaya sambar) gives the best taste. If you want to make it  a complete meal, just add a single vegetable like pumpkin or carrot. This way you can enjoy just plain soaked up vadas while slurping some tasty sambar. I have given the recipe for making the vada and sambar below.

The medhu vada used here is made of urad dal solely, and hence, it is rich in protein. It is low in saturated fat and sugar. Sambhar is also rich in protein. When vada is immersed in sambhar, the dish is protein rich, low in saturated fats and sugar and provides a fulsome meal.

Recipe for Sambar Vada

Preparation time: 1.5 hours
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves: 7


For making Vadas

  • Urad dal - 1 cup
  • Salt - to taste
  • Crushed Black Pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a pinch
  • Curry leaves - few (finely chopped)
  • Oil - for deep frying

For making Shallot Sambar

  • Toor dal - 1/4 cup
  • Sambar onions (Shallots) - 10
  • Garlic-2 pods
  • Tomatoes - 1
  • Sambar Powder - 2 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Tamarind - a small gooseberry size (optional)
  • Oil - 2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds - 1/8 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida - 1/8 tsp
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Dry Red Chili - 2
  • Salt - to taste

For garnishing

  • Onion - 1 or 2 (chopped)
  • Coriander leaves - handful (finely chopped)
  • Ghee - as needed


For making Vada

  1. Wash the urad dal and soak it for at least 45 minutes. When this is soaking, you can make the sambar.
  2. Drain the excess water and grind the urad dal to a thick batter using a mixie or blender. The water soaked up by dal should be sufficient for grinding. If needed just add 1 or 2 tbsp of water and not any more.
  3. Mix in salt, crushed black pepper, chopped curry leaves and asafoetida with the batter.
  4. Heat oil in a kadai for deep frying the vadas.
  5. Take a small portion of the batter, shape it into vadas and drop into hot oil. I have explained in detail in the recipe for medu vada.
  6. Once the vadas are cooked golden brown, remove them on a paper towel. After this it is ready to be dropped in sambar.

    Sambar Vada Preperation Step

For making Shallot Sambar

  1. Wash the toor dal and soak it with some water. In the meantime, chop the shallots, garlic and tomato. Also soak the tamarind in enough water.
  2. Take the soaked toor dal, chopped onion, garlic and tomatoes in a pressure cooker.
  3. Add about 2 cups of water, 1 tsp of salt and turmeric powder. Close the cooker and pressure cook for 4-5 whistles.
  4. Heat oil in a kadai and pop the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. Add dry red chilies, curry leaves and asafoetida.
  5. Next add the sambar powder. Add about 2-3 tbsp of the tamarind juice.
  6. Now add the pressure cooked dal mixture. Add additional 2 cups of water to bring it to the right consistency.
  7. Boil it for about 5 minutes and switch off.

    Sambar Vada Preperation Step

For making Sambar Vada

  1. Take about 1 cup of sambar in a big bowl. Add 1 cup of hot water and a pinch of salt to dilute it. 
  2. Soak all the vadas in this for about 5 minutes. The vadas need to be soaked in hot diluted sambar so that it absorbs the flavors of the sambar.
  3. When you are ready to serve, take couple of vadas carefully into a serving bowl. The vadas would have swelled up, so be careful not to break it.
  4. Pour additional sambar to submerge the vadas fully. 
  5. Add finely chopped onions and coriander leaves on top.
  6.  Add few drops of ghee on top and serve hot.


  • We need to make smaller sized vadas than the usual medhu vadas as dipping in sambar will make it fluffy.
  • For the best taste, hot and freshly made vada can be immersed in little diluted sambar prior. This step can be done the previous day. During serving, the sambar can be heated and more sambar can be added.

More Evening Snacks Recipes

Sambhar Idli Sambhar Idli Dahi Vada Dahi Vada Curd Idli Curd Idli Vazhaipoo Vadai Vazhaipoo Vadai
See more ⟩⟩

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 Published by on and last updated on 2017-11-21.