Sambar, Rasam and Potato Curry Recipes

Sambar | Rasam | Potato Curry
There are days when I crave some healthful comfort food. And nothing hits the spot like a plate of rice with sizzling sambar, hot rasam and crunchy, stir-fried potatoes.

I wanted to share with you this very simple yet very delicious meal I made tonight. Contrary to what some might think, and as many of my fellow bloggers who cook Tamil food know, a meal like that really doesn’t take more than an hour to whip up, especially if, like me, you take all the help you can get from the microwave and the pressure cooker.

Sambar and rasam are usually always served together in Tamil homes at the same meal. You’d eat the rice with the sambar, then rice with rasam, and some would follow it up with a third course of rice with yogurt.

For the sambar and rasam, you need to cook the base, the lentils or dal, just once. The watery stock that floats on top is used to make the rasam, and the lentils themselves go into the sambar.

As a side dish, I served some potatoes coated in rice flour and sambar powder and then stir-fried in a dab of oil. The mild crunch of the potatoes is wonderful with the sambar and rasam.

So enough with the chatting, and on with the recipes. Enjoy this very simple, very homely meal!


Pumpkin Sambar
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Pumpkin Kuzhambu with Fresh Ground Masala:
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 8
  • ¾ cup tuvar dal. Cook in a pressure cooker or in a microwave with ½ tsp turmeric and enough water so you have at least a cup of stock you can reserve for the rasam, along with a spoonful of the cooked lentils
  • 1 tsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 cups of red pumpkin, peeled and cut in a ½-inch dice. Microwave the pumpkin with ½ cup of water for about 7-8 minutes until tender
  • 1 tsp tamarind extract, or a 1-inch ball of tamarind, soaked in water, then juices extracted by crushing with fingers
  • A pinch of asafetida (hing)
  • 1 tbsp jaggery (an unrefined Indian sugar)
  • For the ground masala:
  • ½ tsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp chana dal or bengal gram dal
  • 1 tsp udad dal or black gram dal
  • 3 dried red chillies
  • ¼ cup grated coconut
  • A generous pinch of asafetida
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
  1. Stir fry the ingredients for the ground masala except the coconut in the oil until they are toasted and lightly golden.
  2. Transfer to a blender. In the same pan, fry the coconut until it just begins to brown.
  3. Add to the blender. Grind the masala with just enough water to make a fairly smooth paste.
  4. For the sambar:
  5. Heat oil in a large saucepan
  6. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and asafetida.
  7. When the seeds sputter, add curry leaves and then tamarind extract plus 1 cup water.
  8. Let the water come to a boil, then add the ground masala.
  9. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
  10. Add the cooked pumpkin pieces and stir in.
  11. Add the cooked tuvar dal and salt to taste. Bring it to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  12. Add jaggery and stir in. If the sambar is too thick, add some water.
  13. Serve hot with rice.



Cumin Pepper Rasam
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Cumin Pepper Rasam with fresh ground masala
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 8
  • 1-2 cups stock from the tuvar dal, plus 1-2 tbsp of the lentils
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • ½ tsp of tamarind extract or a ½-inch ball of tamarind soaked in water and juices extracted
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • A generous pinch of asafetida (hing)
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
  • For the masala:
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp tuvar dal
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • ½ tsp vegetable oil
  1. Stir fry the masala ingredients in the oil until they are light gold and fragrant. Transfer to a blender and grind with just enough water to make a smooth paste.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the remaining oil.
  3. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and when they sputter, add the curry leaves
  4. Add ½ cup of water and tamarind paste.
  5. Bring to a boil, then add tomatoes.
  6. When the tomatoes break down slightly, add the ground masala paste.
  7. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  8. Add the dal and "stock" and salt to taste.
  9. Bring to a rolling boil and let it boil about 5 minutes.
  10. Garnish with coriander and serve hot.


Potato Curry


Potato Curry
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A crispy, delicious South Indian style Potato Curry or Subzi that goes perfectly with rice, sambar and rasam
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 8
  • 5 red potatoes, immersed in water in a microwave-safe bowl and cooked about 7 minutes. This makes them just tender without making them fall apart. Cut the potatoes into a 1-inch dice
  • 1 tsp udad dal
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Mix together in a bowl:
  • 1 tbsp rice flour
  • ½ tbsp sambar powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  1. Toss the potatoes in rice-flour mixure.
  2. Heat the oil in a cast-iron or non-stick skillet.
  3. Add the udad dal and fry until lightly golden.
  4. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are golden brown. Check salt.
  5. Serve hot.

I am going to send on the pumpkin sambar to Madhuram’s AFAM: Pumpkin event, started by Maheshwari, and to Sunshinemom Harini’s Food in Colors: Brown event. Thanks, ladies.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.


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  1. says

    been visiting your blog since a few days.. i love your potato bhaji.. looks crisp and that too with just a tbsp of oil.. will try it next time. i usually roast the potatoes without rubbing with rice flour mixture.. and i am also going to try your golden crisp adais.. they look very tempting. your carrot halwa also looks awesome.. and it’s low fat too.. gr8 job.

  2. says

    just fantastic.. love the recipes, and the pics. Indeed, comfort food is sambar, rasam, and potato bhaji..on a different note, i just made fusilli for my daughter who asked for pasta, and said she wants it with sambar. so I made her fav ‘murukku’ pasta with sambar powder and simple tomatoes and cumin in butter, and she loved it:D

  3. says

    Potato bhaji look so awesome and tempting that i feel like having one hot and spicy…..Love those beautiful pics…….
    Vaishali Have sth for u in my blog….check it out….

  4. says

    You feature such amazing recipes on your blog – I love it!! And thank you again for posting that challah recipe – it helped me bake my first yeast-containing bread! :0)

  5. says

    oh wow. you are going to be my new favorite.

    i’m really excited by your blog and the food within.

    i will let you know when i try one of your recipes cause it’s just a matter of time!

  6. says

    mmm. what a delicious comfort platter Vaishali! Send me those at lunch time and I will finish those with hot steaming rice. Yummy!

  7. says

    Hey I made your potato bhaji today and I am in love with it! I am afraid I will be making it very often. It has come out very crisp.. if I make potato curry, I will be following your method of rubbing in riceflor-sambar powder mixture hereafter.. i will be posting my pic soon..

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