Tomato Sambar | Amma’s Recipe

Like most of the girls, I dint cook much before my wedding. And after I got married, I had to move to the US with my husband. In order to help the son-in-law, my mom wrote a few ‘must-know’ recipes in a notebook and gave it to me. And one such ‘must-know’ recipes in that recipe book was this Tomato Sambar. This sambar was one of my favorites from my childhood. This goes awesomely well with Idli and Dosa. And the flavor gets enhanced even more with a few drops of ghee. This sambar will be in our menu atleast twice a week, either for idli or dosa.  And whenever I make this sambar, I get to think of those days of my childhood.



Serves : 2
Prep Time : 5 mins
Cooking Time  : 15 mins
  1. Chana dal – 1 tsp
  2. Urad dal – 1 tsp
  3. Coriander seeds – 1 tsp
  4. Red Chillies – 3 nos.
  5. Grated coconut – 2 Tbsp
  6. Roasted gram – 2 Tbsp
  7. Tomato, roughly chopped – 3 nos.
  8. Onion, finely chopped – 1 no.
  9. Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
  10. Green Chillies, split lengthwise – 2 nos.
  11. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  12. Oil – 1 ½ Tbsp
  13. Salt – to taste
  14. Water, as required.
  15. Coriander leaves, to garnish.


  1. Heat a pan and add ½ tbsp of oil and roast chana dal, urad dal, coriander seeds and red chillies for two minutes and transfer to a mixer jar. Add the coconut and roasted gram to this and grind well. Then add the roughly chopped tomatoes to this mixture and grind to a smooth paste. Sprinkle water in between grinding if needed. Set this mixture aside.
  2. Add a tbsp of oil in a heated pan and add ½ tsp of mustard seeds. When they start to splutter, add the green chillies and saute for few seconds.
  3. Add the finely chopped onions and saute, till they are soft and moist.
  4. Now add the tomato/coconut puree, turmeric powder and salt and mix well.
  5. Add the required amount of water to bring it to a sambar consistency (about 1½ cups).
  6. Cook covered on medium heat for about 10 mins or until the raw smell of the tomato/coconut puree is  gone.
  7. Adjust salt or water at this point and boil for 3 more mins.
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot, with idlis or dosas.