Instant Tiffin Sambar recipe | Easy Hotel style Tiffin Sambar without Dal

Instant Tiffin Sambar recipe – replicate the scrumptious hotel sambar at home. Breakfast items served at a hotel, restaurant, or buffet in star hotels are incomplete without sambar.

Being a South Indian, my world of breakfast revolves around idli, dosa, umpa, uttapam, etc. At home, mom makes sambar as a side dish for rice, and it tastes good with breakfast items too. Before I started my cooking journey, I thought there was only one sambar (made with dal) that was made at home.

Having spent 10 years in Hyderabad, I have tasted sambar served in Udipi and Darshini hotels. This one tastes far better than the sambar made at home. It has a unique flavor profile – slightly tangy, sweet, and spicy (not from red chili powder but from black pepper).

I’m a diehard fan of hotel sambar. Whenever I visit an Udipi hotel, my choice is idli sambar or vada sambar from their entire menu. I love to dunk them in a bowl full of sambar and start to enjoy each bite.

Having food at a hotel or ordering is not feasible every day. So, I wanted to make it at home. I tried a few times and there was something missing. After a few trials and errors and fine-tuning my recipe, I was able to make Sambar which tasted quite similar to Udipi/Darshini hotel.

Today I’m sharing how to make an easy Udipi/Udupi hotel-style sambar at home without dal. If you are a hotel Sambar fan, this is a must-try recipe.

I have already shared a Sambar recipe that pairs the best with rice. Homemade sambar is different compared to tiffin sambar.

tiffin sambar recipe

What is Tiffin Sambar?

Tiffin Sambar is a variation of the traditional South Indian Sambar where instead of adding cooked dal, a special masala paste is added which gives a distinct color, taste, and flavor.

Hotel Sambar is also known as tiffin sambar as it is often served with tiffin varieties like idli, dosa, uttapam, medu vada, upma, etc.

In the Southern part of India, we have a unique name for breakfast called Tiffins. Moreover, people in the South also have breakfast items for dinner as well.

The breakfast items from South India are loved all over the world. They are accompanied by one or more chutneys and sambhar.

In South India, each state Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil- Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana has its own variants of sambar. In all South Indian homes, sambar is the staple in the main course along with steamed rice.

This version of sambar does not go well with rice.

Difference between Tiffin Sambar and Traditional Sambar?

While both are from the world of sambars, they are different in taste, flavor, color, and texture.

Tiffin sambar has a thinner consistency compared to the traditional sambar.

Traditional sambar uses dal (tur dal/arhar dal or pigeon pea lentils). Whereas, tiffin sambar uses a freshly ground masala paste.

The color of traditional sambar is orange and tiffin sambar is red in color.

Tiffin sambar is sweeter in taste compared to traditional sambar.

Traditional sambar is smooth in texture and tiffin sambar is slightly grainy in texture.

About Tiffin Sambar Recipe

This tiffin sambar recipe starts by preparing a special masala paste that imparts a unique flavor. You have to patiently roast a long list of spices on low flame. The masala paste is the secret to Hotel-style Sambar. The paste adds volume to the sambar.

The vegetables I use in tiffin sambar are onion, tomatoes, pumpkin, and bottle gourd. I avoid other vegetables as they lend a different flavor that does not go well with any breakfast items. This sambar can be made even without vegetables.

As we have to make a masala paste, the ingredients may look daunting. But, trust me this sambar needs less work. For this sambar, you need red, juicy, ripened country tomatoes. In fact, the sourer the better.

Udipi sambar has a mild sweetness from the jaggery and fresh coconut, some sourness from the tamarind and tomato, and little spiciness from the chilies and black pepper. I absolutely relish this particular flavor profile only in tiffin sambar.

Reasons to make

Easy to make.

Loaded with amazing flavors.

Delicious and comforting.

Instant sambar, no pre-cooking of dal.

Can be made within 30 minutes.

Treat yourself and your family members on special days or weekends.

Freshly ground paste is nothing less than magic.

Pro Tips

Roast the ingredients on low flame.

Grind the roasted spices to a smooth paste.

Finely chop the veggies.

Keep the consistency thin.

You can make this tiffin sambar the previous night and refrigerate it. It saves some time in the morning and the sambar tastes better too.

Ingredients

The ingredients are easily available in the Indian kitchen.

For Masala paste: oil, fenugreek seeds (methi seeds), split bengal gram (chana dal), split/whole black gram (urad dal), coriander seeds, garlic cloves, curry leaves, kashmiri or byadgi dry red chilies, and coconut.

Hotel Sambar’s color depends heavily on the dry red chilies. I have used Kashmiri red chilies. You can use byadgi red chilies or add kashmiri red chili powder.

Vegetables: I have used onion, tomatoes, pumpkin, and bottle gourd. You can use veggies of your choice to increase the nutritional value. But, I find adding more veggies change the taste of tiffin sambar.

I used normal onion. You can use shallots, pearl, or sambar onions.

For tempering: mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and curry leaves.

Spice powders: turmeric powder, red chili powder, and sambar powder.

Tamarind: This is one of the most ingredients in any version of Sambar that adds a perfect amount of tanginess.

Jaggery: It is a very integral ingredient in this tiffin sambar recipe. The main uniqueness of Udipi Tiffin Sambar is the sweetness that comes from jaggery. It also has health benefits. Jaggery replenishes iron in our body.

Seasoning & herbs: Salt and coriander leaves.

How to make Hotel style Tiffin Sambar

Make the Masala Paste

Heat oil in a pan on low flame. Add chana dal, urad dal, methi seeds, coriander seeds, black pepper, dry red chilies, garlic cloves, and curry leaves. Roast on low flame until the lentil’s color changes to golden.

tiffin sambar recipe step 1

Add fresh coconut and asafoetida. Saute for 10 seconds.

Transfer the roasted ingredients into a blender jar. Let it cool.

Add tamarind and grind to a smooth paste by adding little water at a time.

tiffin sambar recipe step 2

Make the Tiffin Sambar

Heat oil in a pan over medium flame. When hot, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Let them crackle.

Add curry leaves and saute until they turn crisp.

Next, add sliced onions and tomatoes. Saute until tomatoes are soft and mushy.

tiffin sambar step 3

Turn the flame to low and add turmeric powder and red chili powder. Give a good mix.

Add the chopped veggies and mix well.

Add the masala paste and water. Give a good mix.

tiffin sambar step 4

Add sambar masala and jaggery. Mix well.

Cover the pan and simmer on low flame for 15-20 minutes.

Lastly, add coriander leaves and mix.

Tiffin Sambar is ready. Serve hot with your favorite breakfast item.

tiffin sambar step 5

Serving Suggestions

Serve tiffin sambar with any breakfast item. I like to have it with idli or vada which is the best combination. Personally, I generously pour sambar over the soft idlis or vadas. They soak up all the flavors from sambar and taste better.

hotel style idli sambar

Storage Suggestions

Tiffin Sambar will last for 2-3 days in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Before serving, reheat in a pan on the stovetop or in a microwave until nice and warm.

Variations

Can add ginger (1 inch) while roasting the ingredients for masala paste.

Can add a few tablespoons of cooked dal (lentils).

Can cook dal along with pumpkin and mash to a smooth paste. This is a trick followed by a few hotels and restaurants to increase the quantity of sambar.

If you’ve tried this Instant Tiffin Sambar recipe, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Feedback and suggestions are highly appreciated. Also, please share the recipes with your friends and family members.

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Recipe Card

udupi sambar recipe

Instant Tiffin Sambar recipe | Hotel style Tiffin Sambar without Dal

Author: Santosh Allada
Tiffin sambar is a delicious stew made with freshly ground masala paste, selected veggies, spices, and herbs. Serve this hotel-style sambar with breakfast items for a hearty, comforting, and healthy meal.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine South Indian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

For Masala Paste

  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 2 tsp Split Bengal gram (chana dal)
  • 2 tsp Split Black gram (urad dal)
  • 1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
  • 1 tbsp Coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp Black pepper
  • 4 numbers Dry Red chilies (kashmiri or byadgi)
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 5-6 numbers Curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp Fresh coconut
  • 1/2 tsp Asafoetida (hing)
  • lemon size Tamarind (adjust to your taste)
  • Water as needed (to grind)

For the Tiffin Sambar

  • 2-3 tbsp Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 4-6 numbers Curry leaves
  • 1 small Onion (sliced or roughly chopped)
  • 2 medium Tomato (sliced or roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Red chili powder
  • 1/4 cup Pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup Bottle gourd
  • 2-3 tbsp Jaggery
  • 1 tsp Sambar powder (homemade or store-bought)
  • 3 cups Water (or as needed)
  • Coriander leaves
  • Salt to taste

Instructions
 

To make Masala Paste

  • Heat oil in a pan on low flame. Add chana dal, urad dal, methi seeds, coriander seeds, black pepper, dry red chilies, garlic cloves, and curry leaves. Roast on low flame until the lentil’s color changes to golden.
  • Add fresh coconut and asafoetida. Saute for 10 seconds.
  • Transfer the roasted ingredients into a blender jar. Let it cool.
  • Add tamarind and grind to a smooth paste by adding little water at a time.

To make the Tiffin Sambar

  • Heat oil in a pan over medium flame. When hot, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Let them crackle.
  • Add curry leaves and saute until they turn crisp.
  • Next, add sliced onions and tomatoes. Saute until tomatoes are soft and mushy.
  • Turn the flame to low and add turmeric powder and red chili powder. Give a good mix.
  • Add the chopped veggies and mix well.
  • Add the masala paste and water. Give a good mix.
  • Add sambar masala and jaggery. Mix well.
  • Cover the pan and simmer on low flame for 15-20 minutes.
  • Lastly, add coriander leaves and mix.
  • Tiffin Sambar is ready. Serve hot with your favorite breakfast item.

Notes

Add clarified butter/ghee to enhance the aroma of sambar.
If there is leftover, refrigerate in an air-tight container. Before serving, reheat the sambar. Reheating activates the flavors.


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