Indian sambar - gordon ramsay

Main Dish
4 servings
20 min
45 min
Very Easy


Number of serving: 4

For the Masala :

2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds

1 tablespoon yellow split peas

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

6 curry leaves

4 dried red chillies

For the Sambar:

200 g toor dal or it is also known as tuvar dal

6 curry leaves

100 g tamarind pulp

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

4 dried red chillies

1 medium aubergine, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces

¼ butternut squash, peeled, de seeded and cut into 2cm pieces

3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces

at least a cup of water

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon sea salt - or to taste

50g okra - washed, dried, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces

4 tomatoes - skinned and chopped

1 teaspoon ground coriander

-1 teaspoon red chilli powder fresh coriander - leave only and chopped

1 tablespoon of ghee or melted unsalted butter


  • Place a frying pan over a medium heat and carefully roast all the ingredients for the masala. When the spices begin to smell very fragrant and are nicely roasted, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool completely.
  • Use a spice grinder or pestle and mortar to grind the spices into a powder. Tip into a small bowl and add enough water, about 3-4 tablespoons, to form a thick paste with a slow-dropping consistency and set aside.
  • Put the toor dal and curry leaves into a medium saucepan and cover with 1½ litres of water. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat slightly and leave to simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Drain and set aside.
  • Soak the tamarind in 200ml of very hot water for 20 minutes, break down the block into smaller pieces. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve pushing through as much as possible but discard the husks and seeds - you only want the thickish liquid. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan and add the mustard, fennel and cumin seeds and the dried chillies.
  • Cook for 1 minute or until the spices become very fragrant. Now add the aubergine, butternut squash and carrots, stirring well to coat the vegetables in the spices. After 2-3 minutes add the turmeric, salt and tamarind water to the pan and bring to the boil.
  • Boil for a good while until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. You will need to add water. Add the okra, cooked lentils, ground masala spice, chopped tomatoes, ground coriander and chilli powder to the pan and stir well. Add more water to the pan if necessary.
  • Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 5 minutes or so until the okra is just tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Just before serving, stir through the chopped coriander and ghee or butter. Serve the sambar hot with rice and warm naan bread.


Indian Sambar - Gordon Ramsay, photo 1
Indian Sambar - Gordon Ramsay, photo 2
Indian Sambar - Gordon Ramsay, photo 3


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