Few things to keep in mind before starting:

  • Adding coconut milk to your usual sambhar really enhances the flavour and is a must try one.
  • You may even prepare thick coconut milk using the coconut milk powder available in the market and use that in this recipe.
  • Adding homemade Podi masala / Gun powder along with Sambhar Powder to the sambhar makes it more flavourful. In order to reduce the hotness of the authentic gun powder, I prepare it at home by reducing the quantity of red chillies to make it kids friendly.
  • Soak tamarind overnight to prepare tamarind water. In case you are short of time, you may soak tamarind in boiling hot water for 20-30 mins and then prepare tamarind water out of it.
  • You may add veggies of your choice to the sambhar like drumstick, carrots, french beans, bottle gourd, pumpkin, brinjal etc.
  • You may boil the vegetables and arhar dal separately. But to save my time, I usually boil both veggies & arhar dal together in a pressure cooker.
  • You may add tomatoes to the arhar dal along with other veggies to boil in the pressure cooker. But I have found that the sambhar tastes better when the tomatoes are added to the tadka, cooked well and then added to the boiled arhar dal.
  • As a thumb rule to boil arhar dal in pressure cooker, take water 4 times of the quantity of dal taken in pressure cooker along with veggies, turmeric powder and salt. Close the lid and boil on high flame to one whistle, lower down the flame and let it boil for another 5 minutes and then switch off the flame.

Ingredients: (for 3-4 people)

  • Arhar/Toor Dal – 3/4 cup
  • Salt – to taste
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Water – 3 cup for boiling dal + 1/2 cup to adjust final consistency of sambhar + 1/2 cup for preparing coconut milk + 1/2 cup for soaking tamarind
  • Vegetables (Roughly chopped) – 1 cup (French beans, Drumstick, Brinjal, Bottle gourd, Pumpkin, Carrot)
  • Onion – 1 (medium sized, chopped lengthwise)
  • Tomatoes – 3 (medium sized, finely chopped)
  • Tamarind – 2 inch square piece
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Desi ghee – 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Dry red chillies – 2
  • Curry leaves – a few
  • Gun powder – 1 tbsp
  • Sambhar powder – 1 tbsp
  • Coconut milk powder – 2 tbsp


  • Wash and soak arhar dal for half an hour.
  • Soak tamarind in 1/2 cup boiling hot water.
  • Meanwhile roughly chop all the veggies.
Boiled dal
  • Boil soaked dal along with turmeric powder, salt and chopped veggies except onion and tomato in a pressure cooker using 3 cups of water. Let it boil on high flame till one whistle, then put the flame to low and let it boil further for another 5 minutes before switching off the flame. Let pressure subside.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add lengthwise chopped onions. Let the turn light brown, then add finely chopped tomatoes. Let the tomatoes cook till they become soft and mushy and the oil separates out.
  • Meanwhile prepare tamarind water using soaked tamarind. Just mash it with your fingers along with the water used for soaking it and then sieve it to remove seeds and roughage to get tamarind water.
  • Add this tamarind water along with sambhar powder and gun powder to the onion-tomato tadka and cook it for a few minutes. The tadka is ready.
  • Open the pressure cooker after all the pressure subsides. Add the tadka prepared to the boiled dal.
  • Mix coconut milk powder to 1/2 cup of hot water and add this to the dal. Add 1/2 cup of water to adjust the consistency of sambhar. You may even add more water in case you like thin sambhar. Let the dal simmer without lid for another few minutes.
  • Now prepare the tempering.
  • Heat desi ghee in a tadka pan. Add mustard seeds. Let them splutter a bit. Then add dry red chillies and curry leaves. Cook them for few seconds. Switch off the flame and pour this tadka to the dal just before serving it.
  • Enjoy this coconut milk sambhar hot with hot plain rice / idli / dosa / vada or just like that as a hot soup!
Coconut milk Sambhar

‘Cooking for our loved ones with love!’

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