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Beetroot Sambar | A Tangy Beetroot Lentil Curry


Beetroot Sambar is a very traditional south indian lentil curry made from beetroots cooked in a tangy tamarind base flavored with homemade sambar powder. My mother used to make the beetroot sambar almost every Sunday along with potato roast, and has since been an all time favorite. Now my children love this sambar too and its a weekly special to make this sambar at my home. 

To make this delicious Beetroot Sambar, follow the recipe below;


1 cup beetroot, peeled and cubed

1/2 cup toor dal | tuvar dal | pigeon pea lentils

1 cup of freshly squeezed tamarind extract

1 tablespoon homemade sambar powder 

Ingredients for Seasoning

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

5-6 curry leaves, roughly chopped

1 dry red chilli 

1 teaspoon Sesame Oil 

a small bunch of roughly chopped coriander leaves for garnishing

a pinch of asafoetida

salt to taste


Begin the recipe, by cooking the tuvar dal with 2 cups of water until it becomes very soft. See video recipe of how to cook lentils using pressure cooker.

If you find that the cooked dal is too thick and mushy, add water to it and whisk it till it becomes a thick pouring consistency.

Next, cook the beetroot along with the tamarind water, salt and sambar powder in a pressure cooker, until it becomes soft and tender (about 3 whistles). Turn off the heat after three whistles and allow the pressure to release naturally. 

Add the cooked beetroot curry along with the lentils into a large sauce pan. Place it on medium heat and check the salt and spice levels. Adjust by adding more of the salt or sambar pwoder. Bring the sambar to a boil.

While the sambar is boiling, we will now get the seasoning ready.

Heat oil in a small pan; add in the mustard seeds and the red chillies, stir for a few seconds until the mustard crackles and the red chilli is roasted. Finally add in the curry leaves and asafoetida powder and turn off the heat. 

Pour this seasoning to the simmering beetroot sambar, add in the coriander leaves and stir. Turn off the heat and transfer the beetroot sambar to a serving bowl.

Serve the beetroot sambar along with steamed rice, potato roast and lime pickle for a delicious sunday lunch.