Kerala Cheriya Ulli Sambar Recipe

Divya Shivaraman
Kerala Cheriya Ulli Sambar Recipe
6041 ratings.

Sambar is a stew prepared with lentils that is served in southern part of India with Rice, Idli, Dosa and other recipes. Sambar is prepared with a variety of vegetables and is prepared differently depending on the region. In Kerala, sambar typically contains coconut. Most of the Kerala dishes use shallots or small onions. Red onions were never used in cooking until a decade or two before. In most of the villages small shallots were grown in their garden and used during cooking. Cheriya Ulli or shallots sambar is one such famous dish from kerala. The major difference when compared to other region's sambar is that they use ground coconut, cumin and it's prepared like a thicker stew. 

Serve the Kerala Cheriya Ulli Sambar along with hot steamed rice, topped with ghee and a vegetable like Kerala Vendakkai Thoran.

If you like recipes from the Kerala Cuisine, you might also like - Idichakka Thoran Recipe, Pazhutha Manga Pachadi, Kerala Style Pazham Pori and Kuruku Kaalan Recipe

Cuisine: Karnataka
Course: Lunch
Diet: High Protein Vegetarian
Equipments Used: Hard Anodised Kadai (Wok)
Prep in

10 M

Cooks in

30 M

Total in

40 M


2 Servings


  • 1/2 cup Arhar dal (Split Toor Dal) , soaked for 15 minutes
  • 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric powder (Haldi)
  • 1 cup Tamarind Water
  • 12 Shallots , peeled & quartered
  • 2 Tomatoes , quartered
  • 1 tablespoon Sambar Powder
  • 1/4 cup Fresh coconut
  • 3 Green Chillies
  • Salt , to taste
  • For seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds (Rai/ Kadugu)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh coconut , grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon Asafoetida (hing)
  • 5 Curry leaves
  • 3 Dry Red Chilli
  • 2 tablespoon Coconut Oil

How to make Kerala Cheriya Ulli Sambar Recipe

  1. To start making Kerala Cheriya Ulli Sambar, in a pressure cooker add dal with a cup of water and turmeric powder. Pressure cook the dal for a couple of whistles. After a couple of whistles, turn the heat to low and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes and turn off the heat. Allow the pressure to release naturally. 

  2. Once the pressure is released, open the cooker and mash the dal with a potato masher or whisk the dal to make it lightly smooth. 

  3. Next in a small pan over medium heat, roast the coconut for a few minutes and grind it into a smooth paste. Keep aside.

  4. In a saute pan add a tablespoon of coconut oil and add shallots/small onions with a little salt, curry leaves, green chili and saute until translucent and slightly brown. Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, sambar powder,salt and tamarind water to the onion mixture and bring this sambar mixture to a boil Turn the heat to low and simmer the ulli sambar mixture for about 3 to 4 minutes.

  5. After  few minutes, add the whisked dal and the coconut paste and give it a stir. Bring the mixture to a simmering boil for another 3 to 4 minutes. Check the salt and spice levels and adjust to suit your taste.

  6. Transfer the Ulli Sambar to a serving bowl. The final step is to make the seasoning. In a small tadka pan, heat  a teaspoon of coconut oil. Add the mustard seeds and allow it to crackle. Add the remaining ingredients and roast for about a minute until the aromas come through.

  7. Pour the seasoning to the Ulli Sambar, add the chopped coriander leaves and give the sambar a stir.

  8. Serve the Kerala Cheriya Ulli Sambar along with hot steamed rice, topped with ghee and a vegetable like Kerala Vendakkai Thoran.

Published in Sambar Recipes