Learn how to make Idli Sambar by Sagar’s Kitchen, by following the tips provided to enhance the taste by using a variety of vegetables and mastering the tadka. Experience the joy of savoring warm idlis soaked in sambar, leaving you wanting more.

Idli Sambar Recipe

Recipe by Sagar KumarCourse: BreakfastCuisine: South Indian, SriLankan, Maldivian


Prep time (batter fermentation)




Cooking time




Total time





Come on, you and I had to wait a lot for this moment of the idli and sambar recipe, but I am sure that you will not forget it. I am telling the truth; these very soft idli and sambar is also tasty.


  • For Idli:
  • 1 cup of black gram (urad dal)

  • 3 cups of rice

  • 1 tablespoon of fenugreek seeds (methi)

  • Water

  • Salt

  • For Sambar:
  • 200 grams of soaked yellow lentils

  • Water

  • Salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder

  • 2 chopped tomatoes

  • Oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds

  • 1 big-sized chopped onion

  • 1 cup of chopped drumsticks

  • 1 cup of chopped carrots

  • 1 cup of chopped brinjal

  • 1 cup of chopped pumpkin

  • 1 small, chopped onion

  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder

  • 4 to 5 teaspoons of sambar masala

  • 1 cup of finger-sized chopped ladyfinger (okra)

  • 50 grams of jaggery/ 1 tablespoon sugar

  • Soaked tamarind water (small bowl)

  • Fine chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)

  • Tadka (Tempering):
  • Oil

  • 3 to 4 dried red chilies

  • 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds

  • 10 to 12 plucked curry leaves

  • A pinch of asafoetida


  • Making Idli-
  • First, take 1 cup of black gram (urad dal) and 3 cups of rice. You can choose any type of rice, even the affordable one available in the market. The rice suitable for making idli is also available.
  • After washing the black gram (urad dal) once, ensure to wash the rice 3 to 4 times. It’s important not to rinse the urad dal. Feel free to use any method to handle the rice, whether it’s beating it, throwing it from a train, or giving it a gentle shake in a container. The choice is yours!
  • After thoroughly washing the black gram (urad dal) and rice, fill the containers with water and add a spoonful of fenugreek seeds. Oh, trust me, my friend, the idlis will turn out incredibly soft! Soak these two ingredients for 4 to 5 hours. You won’t believe the magic that awaits when you bite into those fluffy idlis! Enjoy the process and let the anticipation build as they soak and prepare themselves to delight your taste buds.
  • understand your enthusiasm and eagerness to prepare idlis. Don’t worry, I’ll guide you through the process step by step. Soak the black gram (urad dal) and rice at 6 PM in the evening, grind them at 10 PM at night, and get ready to make delicious idlis at 7 AM the next morning. Keep moving forward with excitement and let’s see what unfolds!
  • Oh, my friend, you have a point! The water used for soaking the lentils is precious. It shouldn’t be wasted. Here’s what you can do: pour that water into a jar along with the black gram (urad dal) and rice. Let them mingle, dancing together in the mixer. Grind them into a fine paste, but remember, keep it a bit coarse. Allow the batter to have its own texture, like a gentle embrace. Treasure this process, for it holds the secret to the perfect idlis.
  • Mix both the black gram (urad dal) and rice together and add salt as per your preference. Now, the batter might seem a little less voluminous at the moment, but trust me, my friend, it will rise and expand beautifully overnight. You’ll be amazed to see its doubled size the next day. Get ready for a surprise!
  • Keep the batter aside for 7 to 8 hours, like a dreamy night fit for a king. And when you wake up in the morning, go about your usual routine—sweeping, mopping, taking a refreshing bath, brushing your teeth, and preparing yourself for the day.
  • Look, see how this batter has beautifully risen! In Hindi, we call it “khamir” or fermentation. Now, give it a good whisk for about 10 minutes without stopping. This will enhance the consistency of your batter and make it even better.
  • Now, take the idli maker plate and lightly grease it with a little oil. Then, carefully pour a small amount of batter into each cavity, making sure they are evenly filled. I hope you all understand the process well.
  • Now, steam the idlis on high flame for 10 minutes. After that, take a toothpick and insert it into the idlis to check for doneness. If the toothpick comes out clean without any batter sticking to it, then it means the idlis are ready. I may have experience with making idlis, but I understand that you might be new to it, so it’s always good to double-check.
  • Indeed, my dear friend, there’s nothing quite like enjoying steaming hot idlis. It’s a delightful experience! I understand that some street stalls serve idlis cold and only provide hot sambar to accompany them. However, the true joy lies in savoring the idlis when they are warm and fresh.
  • Making Sambar-
  • Now, let’s prepare the sambar. First, take a pressure cooker and add 200 grams of soaked pigeon peas (toor dal) to it. Pour 1 liter of water into the cooker, or adjust the quantity as per your preference. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt , 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder and 2 chopped tomatoes. Now, you can choose to cook the tomatoes in the pressure cooker or in a separate pan. It’s up to your preference. It will take about 3 whistles for the dal to cook. Once the dal is cooked, stir it and check its consistency.
  • Now take some oil in a pan, add half a teaspoon of mustard seeds, and add one large chopped onion. Stir-fry the onions until they are well-cooked.
  • After that, add all the vegetables: 1 cup of chopped drumsticks, 1 cup of chopped carrots, 1 cup of chopped brinjal, and 1 cup of chopped pumpkin. And then, don’t forget to add salt, as it is very important. Cook everything well, covering the pan for 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Once our vegetables are 70 to 80 percent cooked, it’s time to add the pre-prepared dal. Add half the amount of water as the dal and cook everything well. While it’s cooking, chop a small onion and add it to the mixture, which will enhance the flavor.
  • Now, add 1 teaspoon of chili powder and 3 to 4 teaspoons of sambar masala. I could have given you a separate recipe for sambar masala, but I understand that you might get overwhelmed by what to make and what not to make. So, let’s cook everything together and cover it for 10 minutes.
  • Optional in Sambar-
    Now, listen carefully. If you don’t want ladyfinger (okra) in your sambar, you can skip this step. Otherwise, do exactly as I’m doing. Now, take a little oil in a pan and sauté 5 to 6 pieces of ladyfinger (okra) cut into finger-like shapes. This step is important because if you add raw ladyfinger (okra), it releases a sticky sap that can alter the taste of the sambar. So, add the sautéed ladyfinger (okra) to the sambar you’re preparing.
  • Now, let’s add 50 grams of jaggery or 1 teaspoon of sugar. Take a bowl and pour in the soaked tamarind water. Remember, only add the water, not the whole tamarind. This tamarind water is essential as it brings a delightful tanginess to the sambar, enhancing its flavor. That’s why sambar tastes so delicious, my friend.
  • Tadka (Tempering)
    Now, let’s prepare the tadka (tempering). Take a pan and add some oil, along with 3 to 4 dried red chilies, 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (optional), 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds, 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, and 10 to 12 curry leaves. Sprinkle a pinch of asafoetida for that extra flavor. Toss and sizzle them together, creating a delightful aroma. Finally, pour this tadka (tempering) into the dal, giving it a final touch.
  • Finally, throw the chopped dhaniya in it. In English, dhaniya is called cilantro or coriander, but we will still say dhaniya. Look, our sambar is ready now, my friend!
  • Aiyo, you won’t believe how I eat idli. You might or might not like it, I don’t know, but let me tell you. I take a small plate and place an idli on it, then I pour sambar over it. And the way I relish it, it will make your mouth water. You’ll end up licking your fingers, I’m telling you the truth.


  • Use a variety of vegetables as mentioned in the recipe to enhance the flavor. Not only does it add to the taste, but it also benefits your health. I’m telling you the truth.
  • If you follow the instructions for making the tadka exactly as mentioned, your sambar will reach the seventh heaven. You won’t miss out on its exquisite flavor.
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