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Hotel Tiffin Sambar Recipe (Tiffin Sambar) | Hotel Idli Sambar

Hotel Tiffin Sambar Recipe is a treat to the taste buds & complements many South Indian breakfast/tiffin items like idli, dosa, pongal, vada.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main course/Breakfast side dish
Cuisine: Indian (South Indian)
Keyword: Tiffin sambar, Hotel Sambar, Idli Sambar, Sambar,
Servings: 4
Author: Padma Veeranki


Tiffin Sambar Powder: Grind below ingredients to a fine powder

  • 10 Dry Red Chillies
  • 10 Kashmiri Red Chillies
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Black Peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Fenugreek Seeds

To Pressure Cook:

  • 1/2 Cup Toor Dal
  • 1/2 Cup Moong dal
  • 5 Cups Water
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder divided
  • 1 tsp Oil
  • 1 Drumstick Cut into 2” Pieces
  • 10 Shallots/Small Onions

To Make Sambar:

  • 1 tsp Ghee
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • Few Curry Leaves
  • 1 Large Tomato Roughly Chopped
  • 2 tbsp Thick Tamarind Extract
  • 1 tsp Grated Jaggery
  • 2 to 3 Cups Water As required for desired consistency
  • Handful Fresh Coriander Finely Chopped

To Temper:

  • 2 tbsp Oil or Ghee
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • Few Curry Leaves
  • 1 Large Onion Cubed in quarters
  • 2 tbsp Sambar Powder Prepared Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Asafoetida



  • Grind all the ingredients under the section "Tiffin Sambar Powder" to a fine powder. Store it in an air tight container.

Let's start making Tiffin Sambar:

  • To a pressure cooker add both the dals. Wash well & add 4 to 5 cups water. To this, add drumstick pieces & small onions. Add 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon oil. Cook for 5 whistles or use your usual method to cook the lentils.
  • open the pressure cooker once the pressure subsides. The dal should be well cooked by now. Lightly mash and set aside.
  • Soak about a small lemon size tamarind in hoot water and extract about thick tamarind extract and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a deep pan. Once the oil is hot enough, add in a few curry leaves. Once they splutter, add roughly chopped tomatoes and sauté until the raw smell of tomatoes goes away.
  • Now, add tamarind extract and jaggery. Sauté for a minute and add 1 cup of water. Allow this to boil till the raw smell of tamarind and jaggery disappears. This may take around 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Now, add the cooked dal mixture and mix everything together. cook for about 2 minutes and then add 3 cups of water. Adjust the consistency to suit your requirement. This sambar should be slightly runny as it will thicken once it cools down due to moong dal.
  • Add required salt & turmeric powder. Add 2 slit green chillies, a handful chopped fresh coriander and allow it to boil well (about 10 minutes).
  • Turn off the heat, add finely chopped Coriander and set aside while we prepare the tempering.

For the Tempering:

  • Add 2 tbsp Oil to a pan. To this add 1 tsp mustard seeds & let it splutter. Then add a few curry leaves.
  • Now add in cubed onions & 1/2 tsp salt. Sauté for a minute & add in 2 tbsp of sambar powder & 1/2 tsp asafoetida.
  • Mix well & add 1/4 cup water. Let it cook for a minute. Turn off the heat.

Add Tempering to Sambar & Boil:

  • Transfer the tempering to the sambar & mix well.
  • Now, boil the sambar for about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat once the sambar comes to rolling boil.
  • Add a tsp of ghee (optional) and cover sambar with a lid and give some standing time before serving.

Recipe Video


  • This quantity of sambar powder is sufficient to make sambar 2 to 3 times depending on your spice levels.
  • Use a mix of toor dal & moong dal or add a little masoor dal too! Or just make with toor dal!
  • Skip onion to make no onion, no garlic idli sambar
  • You can also use few pumpkin cubes along with dal to get natural sweetness in sambar. Use any vegetable of your choice but doo not miss shallots!
  • Tamarind is on the lighter side in this sambar.
  • If you would like the veggies to have more bite to it cook it separately and add it to the dal later.
  • But, usually the veggies should be more mushy in this sambar as it should just melt in the mouth and should not take away your attention from the main tiffin item.
  • Adding a little Jaggery / sugar will enhance the taste.
  • The consistency should not be too think or too runny. It has to be such that it should stick & get absorbed to idli/vada.