Murungakkai Sambar - Tangy Sambar Flavours!

Every household in India is familiar with its variation of the toor dal sambar. The Madras Style Murungakkai Sambar is a popular one. This easy and flavourful dish makes the best choice for a light breakfast or lunch, whether it is a simple sambar for idli or dosa, or a healthy curry filled with veggies for lunch. South Indian meals are incomplete without their sambar.The basic recipe for making this idli sambar in Tamil style remains the same as others. Yet the flavours change based on the ingredients and vegetables used.

Murungakkai Sambar Info:

Prep Time

10 Mins

Cook Time

30 Mins

Total Time

40 Mins


South Indian


Main course

Murungakkai Sambar Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Toor dal/ split-skinned pigeon peas
  • 1.5 cup of water (use as much required)
  • Three vegetable drumsticks
  • 10-15 shallots or one medium-size onion(chopped)
  • One large chopped tomato
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • A small piece of tamarind (soaked in water)
  • One red chilli
  • 6-7 curry leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin or jeera
  • 1/4 teaspoon methi seeds/ fenugreek seeds
  • Two tablespoons of oil
  • Two pinches of asafoetida or hing

Step-by-Step Instructions:

To prepare this idli sambar in Tamil style, start with soaking the toor dal in water for 10 minutes. Simultaneously, soak a small piece of tamarind in water. Add the soaked toor dal into the pressure cooker with a pinch of turmeric powder and a few cloves of garlic. Let it cook for 4-5 whistles.

  • Once the dal is cooked, mash it into a smooth golden paste.
  • On the stove, heat a pan with oil. Once it’s hot enough, add in the methi and onion. Sauté till the onions turn translucent. To this, add the tomatoes and sauté till the tomatoes become soft.
  • Add chilli powder, coriander powder, and turmeric powder (or you can even add sambar powder instead of these) and sauté the whole mixture on a low flame till the powders lose their raw smell and a delicious fragrance of spices fill your kitchen.
  • Add water and give the mixture a nice stir before you add the drumsticks. Add salt as required, and allow the liquid to boil nicely.
  • Once the drumsticks are half-cooked, add in the filtered tamarind water. Let it boil for a minute or two.
  • Then, add the toor-dal paste to the liquid. Based on the liquid consistency you want for the sambar, add in the water.
  • Add in the hing powder/asafoetida, and let the sambar simmer. Allow the drumsticks to cook through on a medium flame for about five minutes.
  • In a small kadhai, heat coconut oil/any cooking oil. To this, add mustard seeds, jeera, curry leaves, and a broken red-chilli. Sauté them till the seeds splutter.
  • Add this to the idli sambar in Tamil style and garnish the curry with the freshly chopped coriander leaves.

Your steaming hot idli sambar in Tamil style is ready for serving. Serve this Murungakkai Sambar with hot idlis, dosas, or with hot rice and cooked spicy potatoes.