The Savoury Sojourn Of Sambar

Sambar Podi

A delicious stew made with lentils, regional vegetables, and heaps of aromatics – Sambar has stolen the hearts of many with its hearty and homely flavours.

Did you know that this dish has an interesting story behind it? A lot of us think that the Sambar has its origins in the South of India where it’s judiciously prepared in a lot of households in the region. Be it an auspicious occasion, festival or just as an everyday meal, the Sambar is renowned for its simplicity of preparation.  But, is it really a South Indian classic, or does the recipe draw inspiration from some other region in our country?

In this blog, we will unfold the real story about Sambar and how it has gone to become an everyday staple in the kitchens of South India.

From the Kitchens of the Maratha Rulers

For centuries, Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu had been the epicentre of royalty. It was ruled by the Chola Dynasty, underwent a power struggle by many kingdoms, and was later seized by Chattrapathi Shivaji’s half-brother. The origins of Sambar can be traced to the courts of Shahuji, Maratha ruler and the son of Shivaji. The story goes that he wanted to make amti, a typical Maharashtrian dal recipe made with moong dal, spices and kokum, a special ingredient that lends a sweet and sour flavour. Since the head of his royal kitchen was away and due to a shortage of moong and kokum, he used toor dal and tamarind along with the spices to create his culinary twist of the original dish.

There is another story that also suggests that the dish was named after the Sambhaji, the second Emperor of the Maratha empire who was the royal visitor of the day. The recipe went on to become further refined with different ingredients and cooking techniques not just in Tamil Nadu but across Southern India.

It’s All in the Blend

Having delved into the rich history of this culinary classic, every household has its own secret recipe for making sambar. Some like it runny, while others like it thick. Some like the chunkiness of vegetables while others like it to be smooth. Some like it tart while some like it a tad bit sweet.

Whatever way you like preparing your Sambar, you will enjoy the authenticity of the dish only when you use the right blend of spices. A lot of people hold strong beliefs about achieving the right balance of flavours only with homemade Sambar powder. While that may hold true, Annapoorna has pioneered the concept of preparing premade Sambar powder and other regional blends that have been crafted with the right mix of aromatics and spices to bring you the traditional taste of home right to your plate.

Try out our range of signature spice blends that are steeped in the history and heritage of our land. Cook and share the joy of eating together!