The one where I make a tangy sambar that is yumminess personified

So, the other day, the OH, Amma and I went for an outing in the hip Koramangala. I had a tummyful of lunch at home before we left, because I didn’t want to eat outside (a decision that I later came to regret). The OH and Amma, after some looking around heard their stomachs rumbling in hunger, largely, I suspect, thanks to the delicious smells wafting out from Krishna Kafe, which we were passing by then. Now, we had never heard of Krishna Kafe before or eaten there, and didn’t know what to expect from it. The smells won over Amma and the OH, though, and we entered the rather unassuming-looking building that housed the Kafe.

The place was full to capacity, and everyone seemed to be enjoying the array of curries and rice in different combinations, served by bustling waiters on banana leaves. Everything looked very Tamilian and very delicious, and we decided to try out the fare. Amma and the OH had a wonderful lunch there, complete with avial, brinjal curry, cabbage curry, mango sambar, kara kozhambu, moar kozhambu, papad, rasam, rice, buttermilk, curd and kesari. They licked their fingers in glee while I looked on in awe at the splendid fare, and got a nibble every now and then out of their plates leaves. The food was awesome, and I am definitely going back there to have my share of it – a meal, which is the only thing the place serves.

I found the mango sambar particularly delicious. I wonder how I never heard or tasted this yumminess before. Amma never used to make it back home, nor does my MIL. Gah! My loss! I wanted to try making it at home soon, but the only problem was that the raw mangoes that it requires are not at all in season now. The OH told me we could try finding them in Malleshwaram market, which sells pretty much everything in almost all seasons (Reason #157 to love the man). So, a visit to Malleshwaram market happened over the last weekend, and after walking up and down it, I did find one vendor selling raw mangoes! Loveliness! I bought one (a tad overpriced, I should say) raw mango and returned home with it nestled safely in my bag, among some other fresh veggies.

The internet was looked up for suitable recipes, and I decided upon a mish-mash of what I found on a few blogs (that is what I usually do with unfamiliar recipes). The mango sambar happened today, plus cabbage curry, and turned out beautifully. Tangy, spicy, with just a hint of sweet – just the way I wanted it to be. I loved it, the OH loved it, and Amma loved it, too.

Here is the recipe that I followed.

Ingredients (for 2 people):

1 medium-sized raw mango, cut into large pieces (I used the totapuri variety, and I did not peel it)

1 medium-sized onion (chopped length-wise)

2 medium-sized tomatoes (finely chopped)

Powdered jaggery, to taste

Salt, to taste

2 tablespoons of sambar powder

Red chilli powder, to taste

Turmeric powder, to taste

A few curry leaves

A very small ball of tamarind (just a quarter of the quantity you would normally use for sambar, considering that the raw mango will impart a tanginess to the dish anyways)

A small cup of toor dal (cooked)

2 dry red chillies

1 teaspoon fenugreek (methi) seeds

1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)

2 tablespoons oil

A pinch of asafoetida (hing)


1. Soak the tamarind in warm water for a bit and extract a thick paste out of it. Keep aside.

2. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed vessel and add the mustard seeds. Allow them to splutter.

3. Add the fenugreek and red chillies. Let the fenugreek splutter, too.

4. Put the onions into the vessel and fry till they turn brown in colour.

5. Add the finely chopped tomatoes to the vessel with the salt. Cook till the tomatoes turn a bit mushy – the salt will ensure that this happens fast.

6. Add the tamarind pulp and about a cupful of water. Put the raw mango pieces in. Cover and cook till the mango pieces turn soft, but not too mushy.

7. At this stage, add the cooked toor dal, curry leaves, extra salt (if required), sambar powder, red chilli powder and turmeric powder to taste and the jaggery. Mix well. Let everything cook together for 10 minutes or so, till the raw smell of the sambar powder is gone.

There! Yummy mango sambar is ready to be served with rice!

Have you had mango sambar? How do you make it at home?


26 thoughts on “The one where I make a tangy sambar that is yumminess personified

  1. Oh my god! You have me drooling for this now! Where on earth can I get raw mangoes here! I will just have to bookmark this and wait for raw mangoes to come on the market here πŸ™‚


  2. Mango samber?? Anything with mango is awesome. And now this is something to try, thou I don’t cook, m gonna bug my Amma to try this out. πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for this. πŸ™‚


  3. I have never even heard of mango samber ! Oh my god..I have to have it now
    I am going to give the recipe to mom..because lets face it, I could never make something that looks that delicious πŸ˜›


  4. My mother makes this and I love it with hot rice, topped with home-made ghee πŸ™‚ I don’t quite know the step-wise guide. I will ask her soon though πŸ™‚
    Slurrp! I am so drooling now at the very thought πŸ™‚


    1. @HappyFeet

      I don’t cook SO MUCH. I just insist we eat home-cooked meals every day, different ones at that. So, I end up cooking our every day meals. Plus, I love cooking. Not really a big deal. πŸ™‚

      Reading? I don’t think I do enough of it.


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