Cabbage Sambar

Sambar is lentil based stew made either with one or in combination with two or more vegetables. It is an indispensable dish in a South Indian meal. Variety of Sambar with different veggies is prepared in South Indian households on a daily basis. Today’s recipe is Cabbage Sambar.

Cabbage Sambar

At my mom’s place, Cabbage was always made either as a Kootu or a Poriyal or a Varuval along with potatoes. Cabbage Sambar was not that frequently made; however, whenever Cabbage Sambar would find its place in our lunch, we used to relish it. With Cabbage being the favorite veggie of my husband, I started making Cabbage Sambar frequently at home. This is a very easy to make Sambar. One of the effortless ways to include cabbage in the diet of those hating this vegetable, Cabbage haters would hardly be able to guess the addition of Cabbage in this recipe.


Tur dal (Thuvaram paruppu) – 100 gms
Cabbage – 1 cup tightly packed or ½ of a small cabbage
Onion – 1 small sized
Tomato – 1 small sized
Sambar powder – 1 ½ tsps heaped
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish
Water as needed
 To temper
Oil – 2 tsps
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Hing or asafoetida – 2-3 big pinches


Prep time – 10 mins
Cook time – 15 mins
Total time – 30 mins
Serves 4

  1. Wash tur dal, add 1 ½ cups of water, a pinch of hing, turmeric powder and pressure cook until mushy. Once done, mash it and dilute with 1-1 ½ cups of water and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, shred the cabbage into thin strips. Chop the onion and tomato. Soak tamarind in ¼ cup of water and extract juice. Set aside everything.
  3. Heat oil in a pan; add mustard, methi seeds and the remaining hing. Let the mustard seeds splutter. Reduce the flame to medium.
  4. Add chopped onions and saute well till onions turn translucent. Add tomato and cook until the tomatoes turn mushy.
  5. Add the shredded cabbage and sauté well until it reduces in volume slightly. Add sambar powder and salt and sauté for another 2-3 mins.
  6. Add the sautéed vegetables to the dal and cook until the cabbage is soft. Add more water to get the desired consistency.
  7. Add tamarind extract and let it boil until the raw smell of tamarind vanishes and the sambar comes to a rolling boil.
  8. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.

Serve this delicious Cabbage Sambar with rice and any vegetable of your choice.

Cabbage Sambar


  1. You can use shallots instead of regular onions. You can use around 15 shallots for the above measurements.
  2. Sambar powder I used is mildly spiced. Adjust the quantity of Sambar Powder used depending on your family’s taste preference.
  3. If Sambar powder is not available, you can use chilli and coriander powders mixed in equal quantity.
  4. This Cabbage Sambar tends to thicken as it cools. Accordingly adjust the quantity of water added for the right consistency. Also, you can reheat the Cabbage Sambar before serving