Hotel Sambar for idli dosa Recipe

Hotel Sambar for idli dosa Recipe

15 mins
2-3 people



Let me share with you a delightful culinary adventure that revolves around the iconic Hotel Sambar for Idli Dosa. This cherished recipe holds a special place in my heart as it reminds me of lazy Sunday mornings spent with my family at our favorite South Indian restaurant. The first time I tasted this delectable sambar, I was mesmerized by its rich aroma and complex flavors. It was a revelation – the perfect balance of tangy tamarind, earthy lentils, and aromatic spices. Since then, recreating this authentic Hotel Sambar has become a cherished tradition in my kitchen, bringing the essence of South India to my dining table with every batch.




Hotel Style Sambhar Recipe



  • 1 tbsp Cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • 3 tbsp Coriander (Dhania) Seeds
  • 1 tsp Methi seeds
  • 5-6 Curry leaves
  • 5 gms Cinnamon
  • 1½ tbsp Black pepper
  • 4-5 Byadagi Dried Chillies
  • ½ cup Fresh coconut, grated
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 2 Tomatoes, diced


  • 2 cups Arhar dal, soaked
  • 150 gms Drumsticks, peeled & cut into batons
  • 4-5 Brinjals
  • 200 gms Pumpkin
  • 10 gms Guntur Dried Chillies
  • 5 gms Salt
  • 5 gms Turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 4 tbsp Ghee
  • 50 gms Shallots, peeled
  • 100ml Tamarind pulp
  • 1 tbsp Jaggery
  • 2 tbsp Mustard seeds
  • 1 Green chilli, slit
  • 6-7 Curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp Hing





  1. Take a pressure cooker and add soaked arhar dal, drumsticks, pumpkin, brinjals, slit green chillies, tamarind pulp, salt, turmeric, and water. Cook for 2 whistles.

  2. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds, coriander seeds, methi seeds, cinnamon, curry leaves, byadagi chillies, and black pepper. Roast slightly.

  3. In the same pan, add grated fresh coconut, diced onions, and tomatoes. Cook till pulpy.

  4. Blend the roasted spices, onions, tomatoes, and coconut into a paste.

  5. Heat ghee in a pan, add mustard seeds, curry leaves, hing, and cooked dal. Then add water and 5 tbsp of the ground sambhar masala.

  6. Add shallots and diced tomatoes to the sambhar.

  7. Adjust salt, add jaggery and tamarind pulp. Bring to a boil.

  8. In a tadka pan, heat some ghee, crackle mustard seeds, add sambhar chillies and curry leaves. Pour over the sambhar.

  9. Serve the sambhar with idli, wada, or dosa.


Enjoy the rich flavors of this hotel-style sambhar with your favorite South Indian dishes!




About the Recipe:


Hotel Sambar for Idli Dosa is a quintessential South Indian dish that originated in the bustling kitchens of South Indian hotels and restaurants. It is renowned for its distinctive flavor profile, characterized by the use of freshly ground spices, tangy tamarind, and a unique blend of lentils. Unlike traditional home-style sambar, Hotel Sambar is known for its thinner consistency and bold flavors, making it the perfect accompaniment for fluffy idlis and crispy dosas. This beloved dish is a testament to the rich culinary heritage of South India, where each ingredient is carefully selected and combined to create a symphony of flavors that tantalize the taste buds.



Cooking Tips:


  1. Use freshly ground spices: Toast and grind whole spices such as coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, and black peppercorns to enhance the flavor of the sambar.
  2. Soak the lentils: Soak the toor dal (split pigeon peas) and chana dal (split chickpeas) for at least 30 minutes before cooking to ensure they cook evenly and become tender.
  3. Tempering is key: The tempering of mustard seeds, dried red chilies, curry leaves, and asafoetida in ghee or oil adds a final burst of flavor to the sambar.
  4. Balance the flavors: Adjust the amount of tamarind pulp, jaggery, and salt according to your taste preferences to achieve the perfect balance of tangy, sweet, and savory flavors.
  5. Simmer gently: Allow the sambar to simmer gently after adding the vegetables to ensure they are cooked through and infused with the flavors of the spices and lentils.



Pairing Guide:



Hotel Sambar for Idli Dosa pairs perfectly with:


  • Soft and fluffy idlis
  • Crispy dosas
  • Steamed rice
  • Medu vada (fried lentil fritters)
  • Coconut chutney
  • Tomato chutney




Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hotel Sambar for Idli Dosa:


  1. What is Hotel Sambar? Hotel Sambar is a popular South Indian dish made with lentils, vegetables, tamarind, and a unique blend of spices. It is known for its thin consistency and bold flavors.

  2. What makes Hotel Sambar different from regular sambar? Hotel Sambar is thinner in consistency and has a more pronounced flavor profile compared to traditional home-style sambar. It often includes a wider variety of vegetables and is commonly served in South Indian hotels and restaurants.

  3. Can I customize the vegetables in Hotel Sambar? Yes, you can customize the vegetables according to your preference and seasonal availability. Popular choices include drumsticks, carrots, potatoes, brinjal (eggplant), and shallots.

  4. How do I make Hotel Sambar less spicy? To reduce the spiciness of Hotel Sambar, you can adjust the quantity of dried red chilies and green chilies used in the recipe. Additionally, you can omit or reduce the amount of black pepper and red chili powder.

  5. Is Hotel Sambar vegan? Yes, Hotel Sambar can be made vegan by using oil instead of ghee for tempering and omitting any dairy-based ingredients.

  6. Can I make Hotel Sambar in advance? Yes, Hotel Sambar can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.

  7. What is the best type of lentils to use for Hotel Sambar? Toor dal (split pigeon peas) and chana dal (split chickpeas) are commonly used to make Hotel Sambar due to their creamy texture and ability to thicken the gravy.

  8. Can I skip the tamarind in Hotel Sambar? Tamarind lends a tangy flavor to Hotel Sambar, but if you prefer a milder taste, you can reduce the amount of tamarind or substitute it with lemon juice.

  9. What is the significance of Hotel Sambar in South Indian cuisine? Hotel Sambar is an integral part of South Indian cuisine and is often served as a breakfast or lunch accompaniment with idli, dosa, vada, or rice. It reflects the region's culinary diversity and cultural heritage.

  10. What are some variations of Hotel Sambar? Some popular variations of Hotel Sambar include adding coconut milk for a creamy texture, using sambar powder for convenience, or incorporating unique ingredients like pumpkin or bitter gourd for added flavor.