Red Lentil Sambar
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Anshu’s Red Lentil Sambar

Sambar powder is available in Indian markets and online. Serve over freshly cooked basmati rice.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegan
Servings: 6
Author: Susan Voisin


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons cold-pressed canola oil [I used 1/8 tsp.]
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 hot green chiles seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes drained
  • 2 teaspoons sambar powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1 cup green beans cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup diced eggplant
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro


  • 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, 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook 2 minutes. Stir in the sambar powder, coriander, cayenne, cumin, salt, and garam masala. Add the carrots, cauliflower, green beans, and eggplant. Cover and cook for 5 minutes to soften.
  • Add the vegetable mixture to the reserved lentils, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are soft, 20 minutes. Add the lemon juice and cilantro and cook 5 minutes longer.


From Robin Robertson's Vegan Fire and Spice.