Friday, September 25, 2015

Tiffin Sambar | Moong Dal Sambar | Idli Sambar

Tiffin Sambar is also known as Idli Sambar, is a simple and delicious sambar made from lentils and vegetables. It tastes great with  all south indian tiffin/breakfast items like idli, dosa and pongal. Typically, the sambar recipe from south india varies from home to home. There is no hard and fast rule here, you can prepare as you like if you understand the basics. 

Sambar is simply a lentil stew. What lentil is used in the sambar or what  vegetables are added in the sambar or what spices are used in the sambar, based on the answers to the above questions, the sambar has a different name. 

Basically, the tiffin sambar/ idli sambar is a simple version of the meal sambar in South India.  In tiffin sambar / Idli sambar, neither tamarind nor coconut masala is used when it's prepared in households because this sambar is usually served with idli/dosai which is made from the fermented batter. It has mild sourness already, so for the idli sambar, it doesn't need more sourness, so tamarind is usually avoided in tiffin sambar.

Again as I said earlier, it varies from person to person. If you like more sourness in your sambar, go ahead and add tamarind. That's the beauty of home made food, right? We can make as we like.   

Related : How to make Sambar Powder 

Toor dal or Moong dal 

For idli sambar, you can use both toor dal and moong dal or combination of both dal. I prefer to make the tiffin sambar with the combination of both dals for its flavor and consistency. Moong dal for consistency and toor dal for flavor. 

Vegetables in the sambar 

Tiffin sambar can be made with onion and tomatoes also without any other veggies. Typically in our home, we like to add potato, carrot and beans for idli sambar. Brinjal, drumsticks and other indian country vegetables are mostly excluded in the tiffin sambar.

Sambar Powder 

Let's break the common myth here, we South Indians(I'm from South Tamilnadu) don't always use sambar powder in the sambar. Sometimes, we make sambar with plain red chili powder for subtle flavor. But if you're so used to the sambar from Indian restaurants, then without sambar powder, you can recreate that taste in home. In conclusion, adding a bit of sambar powder truly enhances the flavor and taste for sure.

Idli Sambar/Tiffin Sambar

Preparation Time : 10 mins | Cooking Time : 20 minsServes :
Recipe Category: Sambar | Recipe Cuisine: Indian
Tiffin Sambar, Moong dal Sambar,Idli sambar, dosa sambar, easy samba Tiffin Sambar, a simple and delicious sambar made from moong dal. It's ideal side dish for all south indian tiffin items like idli, dosa and pongal.
Moong Dal - 1/4 cup
Toor Dal - 2 tbsp
Vegetables - 1/4 cup (chopped, i used carrot, beans, potato)
Pearl Onion - 5
Tomato - 1 medium size
Green chili -1
Asafoetida powder - 1/4 tsp
Turmeric Powder - a pinch
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Sambar powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Coriander leaves - few
To Temper
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard & urad dal - 1/4 tsp each
Curry leaves - few

In a pressure cooker, add the moong dal, toor dal, vegetables, green chili, onions & tomato along with asafoedita powser & 1 cup of water, cook it for 3 whistle or till it's mushy.Once the pressure released, put the pan again in heat, add the spices(turmeric, red chili powder & sambar powder) & salt.Bring it to boil & keep it in medium flame for 5 mins. Temper the ingredients listed under "To Temper" & add into the sambar along with coriander leaves.Tasty Tiffin  Sambar is ready to serve. Serve it with idli or dosa ! 

Related : How to make Idli / Dosa batter using mixie 

Related : How to make small onion sambar 

  • Adjust the amount of water as per the consistency you want.
  • Don't add more veggies in this sambar, it doesn't taste good
  • I like to use small onions for sambar, but you can use regular onions too.

Related : How to make South Indian Mix Veg Sambar with Coconut



  1. So there is no tamarind in the Sambar? ..interesting, I do combine both the daals at times, but I have never made without a sour agent.

  2. Yes this has always been our Tiffin sambar too..very nicely prepared!

  3. I pretty much make it the same way too..

  4. I made this sambar for the first for this marathon.

  5. Interesting that u have without tamarind... Looks delicious

  6. I had bookmarked this from Usha place. This is what my hubby will love.

  7. I would love to have that breakfast platter with that many accompaniments.

  8. neer mixed daals...looks very authentic tiffin types