If you’re a brinjal lover, you’ve got to try this brinjal sambar recipe!
Here’s what you’ll need:
What is brinjal sambar?
Sambar is a South Indian stew made with lentils and spices. Usually, it is made using tur dal or pigeon pea lentils. This is a staple in many South Indian households and is often served with rice or thosai.
Sambar typically includes some sort of vegetable such as drumsticks and potatoes. Brinjal sambar (or kathirikai sambar as it’s called in Tamil) heroes the humble yet delicious brinjal.
This hearty lentil stew is great for meal prep. I often make a big batch of sambar and freeze it in airtight containers. On lazy days when I don’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking and washing up, it’s so comforting to know that I have this delicious brinjal sambar waiting for me in the freezer!
What lentils to use for brinjal sambar?
Traditionally, tur dal or pigeon pea lentils are used to make sambar. Other dals such as moong dal (yellow lentils) and masoor dal (red lentils) can also be used to make sambar.
Personally, I prefer using masoor dal to make sambar at home. Masoor dal cooks faster than the traditional tur dal, so I can cook it on the stovetop without a pressure cooker.
What brinjals to use for brinjal sambar?
I love using round, purple brinjal to make brinjal sambar, but you can use the long variety here as well. Just chop the brinjal into 3-inch pieces, and cook until tender (can be easily pierced with a fork).
What spices to use for brinjal sambar?
1. Whole spices
Tempering spices is an important step in Indian cooking. This involves heating whole spices in hot oil to bring out the flavor of the spices. In this recipe, I use a combination of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds.
Asafoetida is a spice that is often used in Indian lentil dishes. When I was first learning to make sambar from my mother, I remember asking her, “Ma, why do you add asafoetida to sambar?”
This was her answer – to reduce gas. Yep, folks. Lentils can make us gassy (this is something I learned the hard way), and adding asafoetida helps to tackle this problem.
Store-bought sambar powder usually includes this ingredient, but I add some extra asafoetida just in case!
4. Sambar powder
You can purchase readymade sambar powder at the store, or make your own at home.
I usually go for Baba’s Sambar Mix which contains coriander, chili, cumin, white pepper, and asafoetida, but you can use any sambar powder you can find.
Helpful how-to guides for beginners
How to make brinjal sambar
Here’s a step-by-step guide in how to make this brinjal and potato sambar:
1. Soak the dal.
Soak the masoor dal in water for 30 minutes.
2. Temper whole spices.
Heat ghee in a deep non-stick pot on medium high before adding mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds. Fry until the mustard seeds pop.
3. Add aromatics.
Add the onions, chili and curry leaves. Sauté until onions brown, around 8 to 10 minutes.
Next, add garlic and ginger, and sauté for 2 minutes.
4. Add dal and cook for 20 minutes.
Add the soaked masoor dal (discard soaking water) along with 3 cups of water, turmeric, and asafoetida. On high heat, bring to a boil. Once the water starts boiling, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Add tomatoes and potatoes.
After 20 minutes, mix the masoor dal before adding tomatoes, potatoes, sambar powder, salt, and the remaining water. Bring to a boil before lowering the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes.
6. Add brinjal.
Add the brinjal and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the brinjal is tender and can be easily pierced with a fork.
7. Finally, garnish and serve brinjal sambar.
Finally, taste and add more salt if needed before garnishing with chopped cilantro. Serve hot with rice and your favorite side dishes.
How to serve brinjal sambar
My favorite way of serving brinjal sambar is with fluffy basmati rice, and a side dish or two.
Here are some side dishes that pair well with this purple brinjal sambar:
How to store leftovers
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.
Alternatively, you can store any leftover brinjal sambar in a freezer-safe container and store it in the freezer for 1-2 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does sambar contain brinjal?
Sambar typically includes some type of vegetables. Brinjal sambar is a variant of South Indian sambar made with round, purple brinjal. It may include other vegetables such as potatoes as well.
Is vegetable sambar healthy?
Yes. Vegetable sambar is made with lentils and assorted vegetables, making it a healthy, protein-packed dish. It often includes nutritious vegetables such as brinjal, carrots, beans, and drumsticks that provide various health benefits.
How can I make my sambar taste better?
Adding chili powder, turmeric, asafoetida, and sambar powder enhances the taste of your sambar. Herbs such as curry leaves and cilantro also play an important role in elevating the flavor and aroma of this dish.
Which dal is sambhar made of?
Traditionally, sambar is made with tur dal (pigeon pea lentils). However, it can also be made with moong dal (yellow lentils) or masoor dal (red lentils).
What are present is sambar?
Sambar is made with lentils (pigeon pea lentils, yellow lentils or red lentils), onions, curry leaves, tomatoes, sambar powder, assorted spices, vegetables, and cilantro.
What does sambar powder contain?
Sambar powder is a spice mix that typically contains a blend of ground coriander seeds, chili, turmeric, cumin, pepper, and other spices to give sambar its unique and delicious taste. You can purchase readymade sambar powder at the store, or make your own at home.
How can I avoid gas after eating dal?
Add asafoetida powder to your dal. This is a widely used ingredient in India, especially when cooking with dal. It helps to reduce the gassiness or bloating that you sometimes get after eating lentils.
More vegetarian recipes you can try
Brinjal Sambar Recipe
- 1 1/2 tbsp ghee
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, halved
- 2-inch ginger piece, minced
- 2 red chili, chopped
- 10-15 curry leaves
- 1/4 cup masoor dal (red lentils)
- 4 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida
- 1 potato, peeled and chopped
- 2 tsp sambar powder
- 1 round brinjal, chopped
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- Soak the masoor dal in water for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat ghee in a deep non-stick pot on medium high before adding mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds. Fry until the mustard seeds pop.
- Add the onions, chili and curry leaves. Sauté until onions brown, around 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add garlic and ginger, and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Then, add the soaked masoor dal (discard soaking water) along with 3 cups of water, turmeric, and asafoetida. On high heat, bring to a boil. Once the water starts boiling, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, mix the dal before adding tomatoes, potatoes, sambar powder, salt, and the remaining water. Bring to a boil before lowering the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes.
- Next, add the brinjal and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the brinjal is tender and can be easily pierced with a fork.
- Finally, taste and add more salt if needed before garnishing with chopped cilantro. Serve hot with rice and your favorite side dishes such as chicken 65.
This is a must-try for brinjal lovers!
Brinjal sambar is a dish that puts lentils and brinjals center stage. Lentils are a great source of protein, so they’re perfect for anyone on a plant-based diet looking to boost their protein intake!
The savory and hearty lentils pair perfectly with the tender, velvety brinjal. This stew is great served over a bed of rice along with your favorite side dishes.
My favorite pairing has got to be rice, brinjal sambar, and chicken 65. This is heaven on a plate for me!
Here’s my air fryer chicken 65 recipe if you want to give my favorite pairing a try. Bon Appétit!