Araichivitta Capsicum Sambar (Green bell pepper-lentil stew with ground spices)

Sambar to a South Indian is like dal to a North Indian. It is a ubiquitous yet unique dish in the south Indian cuisine. This was one of the first recipes which my mother-in-law taught me when I was newly married. It is a very simple recipe and needs about 20 minutes heating time to sort of concentrate the stew.Though she was from the old school where ppl learnt from experience rather than from word,she was still able to traslate everything to the tspoon measure terminology I was comfortable with. I used to be very stressed about the measure and also very conscious about every step in the cooking it lest I spoil it!! However,nowadays I can make good sambhar in a jiffy!. It has a permanent place in our meals especially during weekend lunch. So without much ado below is my MIL’s Sambar recipe.

serves: four adults

cooking time: 40 minutes

to Pressure cook

1 cup of tuvar dal (red gram dal)

a pinch of turmeric

a drop of peanut oil

To fry and grind

1 tspoon dhania (coriander seeds)

1 tspoon bengal gram dal

1 red chilli pinched

some roughly cut curry leaves

1 tblspoon grated coconut (turn off the heat after you add this)

To boil

1 tspoon tamarind paste

1tsp sambhar powder (I use my mom’s but you could make it yourself or get some from any Indian store)

1 tsp salt

1/2 a big green bell pepper cut into small square bite size pieces

To season

One tspoon sunflower oil

one tspoon black mustard seeds

1/4 tspoon methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)

To garnish

roughly chopped cilanthro

Capsicum sambar garnished with Cilanthro

First Pressure cook the tuvar dal with a pinch of turmeric and a drop of oil.

boil the tamarind-spice mixture in about one and a half cup of water till you get a concentrated solution and the bell peppers are cooked(the volume should be 1/2 the original amount). This would take about 20-25 minutes

In the meantime fry and grind the dhania-Bengal gramdal-red chilli-coconut spice mixture with a little water in a blender. I do it in a Philips mixie from India but you could also use a blender which preferably has a smaller jar.

combine the wet ground mixture to the cooked dal and add this to the concentrated tamarind-spice solution. Turn down the heat and mix the stew thoroughly.Season the mustard and fenugreek seeds in 1 tsp oil in another wok/kadai and add to the sambhar. Garnish with cilanthro before serving.


1. fry the dhania-gram dal-coconut mixture in a low flame and keep an eye on it as the dhania chars very fast!!!

2. For a quick one pot sambar the seasoning can be done in the beginning before boiling the tamarind-spice mixture.



  1. Mythili said


    Welcome to FBW (Food blogging world). Good recipes there and keep ’em coming.


  2. Nalini said

    Hi Mythili,

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: