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Beetroot Sambar !

Updated: Feb 20, 2021

"The redness of the beet, the tanginess of the tamarind and the sweetness of the jaggery" this healthy sambar receipe is bound to add that extra flavour and punch to your south indian meal.

My family's love for southindian food made me explore the possibilities of different versions of sambar and this beetroot sambar is my family's "all time favourite". We lived in Bangalore for over 15 years and both my girls (Jiya & Antara) were born their too. My younger daugher Antara, one of her comfort food is beetroot sambar and idli which she can gobble any time and nothing can be more satisfying than watching your family relish the meal you prepared.

I learnt how to make southindian food from my very dear friend Sheila. She was an excellent cook herself and a complete foody. I loved gorging on to her egg dosa which was so addictive that i used to lose count, her sambar and filter coffee. And yes not to miss the 'kesar bhaat' which during my pregnancy i used to crave for. Sadly she is not with us anymore and i deeply miss her but the memories of the food, recipes and the good times we shared always makes me smile. My journey of exploration in food started back then and as my girls grew older, the joy of cooking for them and my family grew even bigger.

So now without wasting any more time let me jump straight to the recipe but before that few important points which i thought i should mention before we start and i hope it helps ---

1) Please ensure the beetroot is fresh and juicy. I have had instances where the beet looks fine from outside but it is dry when you cut and that does'nt impart the required flavour or color.

2) I love Khijur gur and i'm blessed to be residing in a place where this is available easily specially in winters and when i do get the stock i preserve it in fridge. I use it extensively in 'Khijur gur Kheer' too, 'yum yum'.... healthy and tasty! but you can use whatever local jaggery is available, if not then sugar works well too it's just to impart the sweetness to the sambar. But i strongly suggest "jaggery"!!!

3) I have been using 'Shakti sambar powder' but you can use whichever brand is easily or locally available. If you have homemade sambar powder then even better:)

4) I never chop my coriander with a knife while garnishing the curries specially rasam and sambar. My maid once told me this trick long back and i'v got hooked on to it since then as it imparts a more robust flavourfull aroma to the curry.


(serves : 6), cooking time: 15 mins, cuisine: Southindian, Vegetarian, Course: Breakfast, Main



* Beetroot - 1medium size

* Garlic - 3/4 pcs

* Tomatoes- 2 medium size chopped

* Onions - 2 medioum size (chopped)

* Coriander - for garnish

other ingredients -

* Refined oil - 3 tablespoon (for cooking)

* Chana daal - 1 table spoon

* Mustard seeds/ Rai - 1 tablespoon

* Dry red chilli - 2/3 pcs

* Curry leaves/Kadipatta - 1 tablespoon

* Sambar powder (readymade or home made) - 2 tablespoon

* Urad/Toor daal - 1 cup

* Salt - as per your taste

* Hing (Asafoetida) - 1 pinch (optional)

Most important ingredients -

* Grated jaggery - 2 tablespoon

* Tamarind paste - 2 tablespoon


* Wash the urad daal, add about 4 cups of water, add the garlic pods to it, salt to taste and let it boil in the pressure cooker for 3-4 wistles or till daal is completely cooked.

* Once it is done you can mix it well if you like the daal to be completely dissolved in the water along with the garlic.

* Cut the beet into thin slices , and let it boil in water for about 5-8 mins (or till it gets soft). Beet should be completely emmersed in water so appx 1.5 cups of water. Pan shud be covered while boiling and do not over cook the beet.

* Heat some cooking oil and add mustard seeds, when you hear them crackle, lower the flame and add the chana daal, red chilli and hing (optional).

* Add the chopped onions to it and fry it till it sweats (should not get brown).

* Add the kadipatta at this stage.

* Add the sambar powder, mix it well.

* Add chopped tomatoes and a pich of salt so that it soften up.Let it cook for 2-3 mins.

* Add the cooked daal to it and the 2 most important ingredients - ' jaggery and tamarind'

* Add the beet pieces along with the beetroot water, you can see the ombre died color (red merging in with the yellow color of the daal) . I love mixing it:)

* Check the taste (imp) and adjust the salt or sweetness acording to your taste/pallete.

* Let it cook on slow flame for about 3-4 mins and keep mixing it so it all combines well.

* Last not the least break the dhaniya in pieces with your hand , give it a boil and 'Voila' your beetroot sambar is ready to be savoured:)

Serving suggestions:

* Serve it hot with idli,green coconut chutney and tomatoe garlic red chuney, dosa or just plain rice!


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