Sambar (sometimes spelled sambhar) is a popular vegetarian Indian food dish, that is also vegan as well. It’s made with red lentils, mustard seeds, onion, and fiery green chilies.
- 1 cup red lentils
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons cold-pressed canola oil
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 hot green chilies, seeded and minced
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 1/2 teaspoons sambar powder (see note below)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 1 cup cauliflower, chopped
- 1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup eggplant, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Steps to Make It
Gather the ingredients.
Combine the lentils and water in a pot and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer until soft, 30 minutes. Set aside, do not drain.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds.
When they begin to pop, add the onion, garlic, chiles, and ginger and cook until softened – about 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, then add the sambar powder, coriander, cayenne, cumin, and salt.
Add the carrots, cauliflower, green beans, and eggplant. Cover and cook for 5 minutes to soften.
Add the egetable mixture to the reserved lentils, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are soft – about 20 minutes. If the mixture becomes too thick, add more water.
Stir in the lime juice and cilantro and cook 5 minutes longer. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Serve and enjoy!
- If you don’t have a local Indian grocery source for sambar powder, learn how to make your own sambar masala.
Vegetarian red lentil sambar recipe reprinted with permission from “Vegan Fire & Spice: 200 Sultry and Savory Global Recipes” by chef Robin Robertson.