Arachuvitta Sambar

Arachuvitta Samabar

It was a winter morning in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. We were newlyweds. He called me from work asking if it was okay to bring a friend home for lunch. I had never cooked an Indian meal before but said “Sure!” Quickly I ran to my suitcase and pulled out my special red recipe book, tied with a nice burlap bow. A book I had put together with all the cool South Indian recipes my mom made. A “Sail through your Marriage” collection.
So, arachu vitta sambar is what came to my mind. It is full of lentils, proteins to fill the stomach with.
Look, I made arachu vitta sambar from scratch!
And of course, I had an amazing lunch with my guests!


  • 2 Cup Pigeon Pea Lentils
  • 1 Tsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 2 Dried Red Chilis
  • 1 Pinch Coconut

The Vegetables

  • 3/4 Cup Okra Cut into 1/2 inch divisions
  • 1/2 Onion Sliced lengthwise

The Mixture

  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Branch Curry Leaves
  • 2 Tsp Split Chick Peas
  • 1 Pinch Asafoetida
  • 1/2 Tsp Tamarind Paste
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Tsp Sambar Powder


The Spice

  • Dry roast the coriander, cumin, chilis, and coconut
  • Blend without water and set aside

The Mixture

  • Start by boiling 2 small cups of split pigeon peas lentils and set aside
  • Heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a pan. Into the hot oil, add mustard seeds, let them sputter and then add one branch of curry leaves and 2 teaspoons of split chickpeas.
  • Once the chickpeas are brown add a few shakes of asafoetida and then add the cut onion, once the onion caramelizes, add the okra, sautéing it into the oil mixture.

Prep The Tamarind Concentrate Paste

  • Take half a teaspoon of this paste and dilute it in 1 cup water making a cup of tamarind solution. Warm it up for a minute in the microwave and pour it into the frying okra.
  • This is what adds tanginess to the sambar. Then add one teaspoon of Sambar Powder…it is a quintessential ingredient for south Indian preparations and available in any Indian grocery store. In fact, all the ingredients I’ve used in this recipe so far can be shopped for at an Indian store.
  • When the tamarind water and okra ensemble start to boil and the raw smell of the sambar powder starts to diminish, you can now add the cooked pigeon pea lentils and give a good whisk so that everything blends well. Also stirring in the blended mixture of spices adding enough water, to give the sambar a chunky yet watery consistency.
  • Make sure to add salt to the sambar. When the whole thing comes to a good boil, turn off the stove and put a lid on the container.


You can serve it with rice, and you could make my favorite roasted potato vegetable and dream of the greener pastures of Tanjore district in Tamil Nadu, India where this delicacy was born. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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