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Exploring the 15 Different Types of Sambar from Different Regions of India

Exploring the 15 Different Types of Sambar from Different Regions of India

Posted by Suryamasale on 29th Mar 2024

Sambar is a beloved South Indian culinary delight renowned for its rich and aromatic flavours. Sambar masala makes it a delectable stew. It features a harmonious blend of lentils, vegetables, and fragrant Indian spices into a nutritious stew. This iconic dish is a cornerstone of South Indian cuisine, celebrated for its diverse variations and cultural significance.

With widespread fame, sambar graces tables in South Indian, Sri Lankan, and Maldivian kitchens. Even Burmese cuisine has embraced it, serving this savoury stew as a cherished partner to their flavorful curries. India boasts over 20 unique sambar varieties today. The Maharashtrian version boasts simplicity, while the South Indian adaptations introduce grated coconut and different vegetables. Potatoes, eggplants, and drumsticks find their way into regional renditions, showcasing the diverse creativity that flavours this beloved dish. Sambar masala powder adds magic to homemade sambar giving it a mouth full of flavours.

Who invented the sambar?

According to legends, the origins of sambar can trace back to Sambhaji Bhosale, the second Chhatrapati of the Maratha Empire during 1681-1689, and the son of Maratha ruler Shivaji. When Sambhaji's head cook was absent, he decided to take matters into his own hands. Venturing into the royal kitchen, he assembled ingredients for 'Amti,' a watery and tangy dal. Curiosity led him to replace Moong Dal with Toor Dal and tamarind for 'Kokum,' known for reducing acidity.

This experimental dish served to court attendees garnered immense admiration and was aptly named 'Sambar' in honour of Sambhaji himself. This delightful tale weaves history and flavours, attributing the dish to a royal culinary exploration that has become a cherished South Indian tradition.

How is sambar made?

Sambar, a hearty stew, melds sambar ingredients like lentils with different veggies such as moringa, tomatoes, onions, and more. Tamarind pulp and a medley of spices like coriander, chillies, and cumin infuse it with delightful flavours. This South Indian classic boasts a symphony of taste, elevated by ingredients like curry leaves, fenugreek, and turmeric. Let’s check 15 popular types of sambar cooked in different parts of India.

15 Popular Types of Sambar Cooked in Different Regions of India:

1. Classic Sambar: Classic Sambar, also known as Plain Sambar, maintains its timeless name and taste. You can customise it with your preferred vegetables. Loved for its simple yet delightful flavour, this dish shines with the addition of abundant tamarind paste, creating a delectable balance of sourness and spiciness. Best enjoyed with rice, this Sambar is a harmonious accompaniment that never goes out of style. Sambar masala ingredients make it a more mouth-watering recipe.

2. Brinjal Sambar: Introducing Brinjal to Sambar undoubtedly elevates its flavour. You can have a dual approach: incorporating boiled brinjal or indulging in the richness of deep-fried brinjals. Beyond its taste-enhancing prowess, brinjal also fortifies the dish's nutritional value. This versatile ingredient tantalises the palate but also contributes to the overall healthfulness of Sambar, offering a delightful balance between taste and wellness.

3. Arachu Vitta Sambar: A staple choice, this most common Sambar boasts widespread popularity due to its incredible flavour. In a league, ‘Arachu Vitta Sambar’ holds a special regal status. Its taste is fantastic, setting it apart as a culinary gem. Add sambar powder ingredients making your homemade sambar stew tangy, spicy, and aromatic.

4. Buttermilk Sambar: Renowned in South India, Buttermilk Sambar seamlessly incorporates a North Indian flair with the introduction of buttermilk. This culinary delight beautifully marries South Indian expertise with a North Indian aesthetic. The delectable flavour of Buttermilk Sambar is an absolute treat for the taste buds. The ingenious touch of roasted chana dal tadka further elevates its appeal, creating a medley of flavours that's truly remarkable. This dish stands as a testament to the art of fusion cuisine. It is an example of regional specialities intertwining to create something extraordinary.

5. Hotel-Style Sambar: To craft a hotel-style Sambar, switch out boiled veggies for deep-fried ones. The resulting taste is astonishing. Notably, hotel Sambar boasts a thicker gravy compared to the home-cooked version. Achieve this consistency by introducing coconut milk or blending coconut paste with boiled veggies. This culinary treat is a delicious gravy, synonymous with the delectable Sambar encountered in hotels, offering a mouth-watering twist to your homemade preparation. To get the best taste of a hotel-style sambar, add sambar podi.

6. Brinjal and Lady Finger Sambar: Familiar with the delightful taste of Brinjal Sambar? It's a mouth-watering recipe. If you are yet to indulge, then you must try it. Now, consider the infusion of Ladyfinger into Brinjal Sambar. This addition takes its flavour to new heights. Whether boiled or roasted, ladyfinger amplifies both taste and health benefits. Embark on a culinary adventure, discovering the remarkable synergy of flavours and wellness in this enhanced brinjal Sambar experience.

7. Kerala Ulli Sambar: Celebrated for its delectable flavours, the Kerala Ulli Sambar stands out. This variation boasts a blend of sourness and spiciness for its generous tamarind paste. The aromatic curry leaves bring a unique flavour to this dish with roasted chana dal and mustard seeds. These elements synergise to elevate the taste, creating a truly remarkable culinary experience that captures the essence of Kerala's rich cuisine.

8. Toor Dal Sambar: Toor Dal holds a distinguished place, recognised for its abundant health benefits. A mere cup packs 4 grams of protein, highlighting its nutritional prowess. Now envision the synergy of Toor dal and nutrient-rich vegetables - a harmonious blend brimming with health advantages. Curious about the flavour? Far from dull, it's utterly delectable, especially when crafting a wholesome Sambar. This combination promises both wellness and taste, reinforcing that healthful cooking can be tasty. Embrace this culinary journey and savour the goodness of a dish that marries the goodness of Toor dal and vibrant vegetables in every delightful bite. Don’t forget to buy the best sambar powder online from Surya Masale's official website.

9. Onion Sambar: The culinary world cherishes onions for their transformative touch, rendering many dishes incomplete without them. Onion's addition elevates the flavour of any dish it graces. Onion Sambar exemplifies this enhancement, featuring an abundance of this versatile ingredient. While onions are a Sambhar staple, Onion Sambar spotlights their dominant taste. The varied options are: incorporating boiled onions or enhancing their flavour by shallow frying before adding them to the Sambhar. Both options offer unique flavours showcasing how onions can shape the character of a dish, turning it into a delectable masterpiece.

10. Carrot Sambar: Indulge in the delightful taste of Carrot Sambar, where the gravy takes centre stage with its remarkable richness. What sets Carrot Sambar apart is its gravy, reminiscent of the luxurious consistency found in hotel-style versions. The secret to its thickness depends on mixing carrot paste, lending texture and flavour. If someone has problems with carrot cubes, this preparation of carrot sambar provides all the carrot benefits without the carrot chunks. It makes it an ideal choice for kids who are picky about vegetables, offering a clever way to introduce nutrition without sacrificing taste.

11. Moong Dal Sambar: Like its counterparts, Moong Dal Sambar is tasty and healthy. This sambar preparation has a delectable flavour and delivers various health benefits, creating a harmonious blend of culinary delight and wellness in every bite.

12. Mango Sambar: Mango Sambar is a unique delicacy that harmonises the tanginess of ripe mangoes with the savoury goodness of traditional sambar. This fusion of flavours creates a delightful dish that's both refreshing and satisfying.

13. Tamil Nadu Sambar: Infused with a Tamil twist, Sambar gains delectable richness by adding peanut paste, resulting in an irresistibly delicious flavour. Tamil Nadu Sambar is an iconic South Indian creation celebrated for its rich flavours. It embodies the region's culinary essence and cultural heritage.

14. Tomato Sambar with Coconut: Incorporating coconut into tomato Sambar elevates its flavour profile. By introducing grated coconut or coconut paste, you'll witness a delightful enhancement in the overall taste of this dish.

15. Mix Vegetable Sambar: Crafted with an assortment of vegetables, this presentation of Plain Sambar offers a delightful twist. Combining all the veggies imparts a fantastic, satisfying experience that's sure to please the palate. Mix Vegetable Sambar is a delectable South Indian stew that harmoniously marries an array of vegetables with the rich flavours of sambar. It is a dish that's both comforting and satisfying.

Advise: Experts and chefs always advise storing sambar podi in an airtight container, away from direct sunlight. Store sambar masala at room temperature.


In the tapestry of South-Indian cuisine, sambar masala stands as a vital thread, weaving diverse flavours into a harmonious culinary experience. From classic sambar to innovative mango sambar cooking preparation, paint a vivid picture of India's cultural and regional diversity.

Each type of sambar is infused with unique ingredients and techniques and offers a delightful journey through the nation's rich gastronomic heritage. Sambar has myriad forms which embody the art of fusion cuisine with innovation, delighting taste buds and capturing the essence of India's culinary mosaic.

If you want to purchase premium quality sambar masala online, Surya Masale is your one-stop shop. Our brand ‘Surya’ is known to be one of the leading manufacturers and marketers of superior-quality spice in South India for the past 38 years. Browse our website and buy the best sambar masala at a competitive price today!

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