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UPAHARA DARSHINI SAMBAR RECIPE FOR IDLI: super delicious side dish for idli.

Idli is kind of bland breakfast, you have to have a good side dish to go with it. In restaurants hot idlis are are served with chutney and Sambar along with Vade ! It is always something about this Upahara Dashini/Restaurant sambar for Idlis. Each Darshini has their unique recipe for the sambar for Idli. This sambar recipe is from one the Dashinis from Bangalore. This sambar is served with dose/dosa also.


  • 1/4 cup toor dal arhar dal/pigeon pea lentils
  • 1 small onion or
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 big tomato
  • 3 cup water
  • 2 TBSP Jaggery
  • little tamarind soaked in water
  • 1 tsp salt or salt to taste

For Masala:

  • 1/4 tsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds/menthya
  • 1.5 TBSP coriander seeds/dania
  • 1/2 TBSP urad dal (split black lentils)
  • 3 to 4 red chillies
  • 1/2 TBSP channa dal
  • 1/4 cup coconut

For seasoning:

  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • pinch asafoetida/hing
  • chopped cilantro /coriander leaves


  1. Wash and pressure cook the toor dal along 1 cup of water, little oil and turmeric powder on medium heat with 2 whistles and keep it ready.
  2. Wash and chop the onion and tomato, keep it separately.
  3. Heat 1/4 tsp oil in a pan on medium heat. Add mustard seeds, jeera, menthya/fenugreek seeds,chanadal and urad dal. Fry it until the dal turns golden brown. Then add red chillies and coriander seeds.Fry it for few seconds, finally add coconut mix it and turn off the heat.
  4. Once the above mix is cooled completely, grind it to a fine paste . You can add water while grinding.
  5. Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot enough, add hing and mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds pops, add the chopped onion. Sprinkle little salt and fry it until the onion becomes translucent.
  6. Transfer the cooked dal to a medium size pan, add water and allow it to boil. Then add the chopped tomato.
  7. After 2 to 3 minutes add the masala, salt, tamarind juice and jaggery. Let it cook for 5 to 6 minutes on medium low flame. Add the fried onion. Add water to get the desired sambar consistency.
  8. Finally turn of the heat and garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander leaves.
  9. Enjoy this restaurant style sambar with hot idli.