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Blogging Marathon# 53: Week 4/ Day 2
Theme: Bookmarked Recipes — Veena’s Veg Nation
Dish: Saravana Bhavan Sambar

For the 2nd day of cooking from Veena’s space, I made this perfect Saravana Bhavan sambar. Saravana bhavan is a popular restaurant in Chennai and this sambar replicates the one served there.

Restaurant style Sambar

I’ve never been to this restaurant in India, but heard a lot about it. So we went to their Edison location in NJ, but lets just say the experience is nothing to talk about. The food was ‘meh’ and the service was ‘blah’ 🙂 But I want to visit the restaurant in Chennai some time. Hopefully that day will come sooner than later.

Restaurant style Sambar

Coming to today’s sambar, I made it on a weekend when my sister and her family were visiting us. I served it with rice and it was liked by both adults and kids. I loved the addition of ground masala with coriander and fenugreek seeds — it adds a lot of flavor along with the sambar powder. Also the addition of fried gram dal or putnalu makes the sambar so creamy and delicious.

Recipe from Veena’s recipe:

Print Recipe
Saravana Bhavan Sambar Yum
Saravana Bhavan sambar -- copy cat recipe of the popular South Indian restaurant sambar. The addition of ground masala with coriander and fenugreek seeds -- it adds a lot of flavor along with the sambar powder. Also the addition of fried gram dal or putnalu makes the sambar so creamy and delicious.
Saravana Bhavan Sambar
Course side dish
Cuisine tamil
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
serving
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup Toor dal
  • 1 tbsp Moong dal
  • 1 1 cups Onion shallots Medium - medium, cut into chunks or use
  • 1 Tomato Large , chopped
  • 2 ~ 3 tbsp Tamarind pulp
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Sambar powder (I use MTR sambar powder)
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • 2 red chili Dry
  • a pinch Asafoetida
  • 8 ~ 10 Curry leaves
  • to taste Salt
  • 2 tbsps Cilantro , finely chopped
For the Masala Paste:
  • 1 tbsp Coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • 2 chilies Dry red
  • 2 tsps dal Fried grams / Putnalu
  • 1 Tomato Medium , chopped
Course side dish
Cuisine tamil
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
serving
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup Toor dal
  • 1 tbsp Moong dal
  • 1 1 cups Onion shallots Medium - medium, cut into chunks or use
  • 1 Tomato Large , chopped
  • 2 ~ 3 tbsp Tamarind pulp
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Sambar powder (I use MTR sambar powder)
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • 2 red chili Dry
  • a pinch Asafoetida
  • 8 ~ 10 Curry leaves
  • to taste Salt
  • 2 tbsps Cilantro , finely chopped
For the Masala Paste:
  • 1 tbsp Coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • 2 chilies Dry red
  • 2 tsps dal Fried grams / Putnalu
  • 1 Tomato Medium , chopped
Saravana Bhavan Sambar
Instructions
Make the Masala Paste:
  1. Heat 1tsp oil in a pan, add coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, dry red chilies and putnalu; fry till fragrant, about 3~5 minutes. Let the mixture cool, then grind to a paste along with tomato. Keep aside.
Make Sambar:
  1. Cook toor dal and moong dal until soft and mudhy.
  2. Heat 1tbsp oil in a sauce pan, add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, dry red chilies and curry leaves. Once the seeds start to splutter, add the onions (or shallots) and cook till turn translucent, about 3~4 minutes.
  3. Add chopped tomato and cook till it gets mushy.
  4. Next add tamarind pulp and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Add turmeric, sambar powder, salt and bring the mixture to a boil again.
  6. Now add the cooked dals and the ground masala paste, add water to get to desired consistency. Simmer for 4~5 minutes on low flame. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with idli or dosa or even rice.
Recipe Notes

Restaurant style Sambar

Lets check out what my fellow marathoners have cooked today for BM# 53.

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18 thoughts on “Saravana Bhavan Sambar”

  1. Hi Pavani. I have been to Sarvana Bhavan in Delhi and then here in the UK. The Delhi was good but not the best I had had. Of course restaurants in South do a much better job becase of the fresh and local produce and experienced chefs. I wish they had a set of rules like McD’s to be followed around the world. I never knew we can make Sambhar this way as well. roasting dal first and all, sounds really interesting. Pinned for my use dear 🙂

  2. Yea even though I have eaten many times in their chain of restaurants, I haven’t particularly found their sambar to be that good..however many love it..so maybe..:)..still some of their dishes are quite good..However your sambar bowl has me drooling ok..very nicely presented!

  3. Pavani during our BM meet we went to Sarvana Bhavan and I didnt find anything extraordinary. Infact on our trip to Pondi we enjoyed better S Indian food . This sambar looks very interesting and yummy , good one.

  4. I don’t remember the taste of this sambhar at saravana bhavan as its been years since I ate there .. Bookmarking to try out …

  5. I have never been a Saravana bhavan fan, even in Chennai. But it just took me two months away from India and I literally pushed my husband to take me there. In Edison, I found that the food is inconsistent, sometimes good and sometimes-like you said- ‘meh’. I guess the good days outnumber the bad days, else it would have been out of business long back!

  6. This brings back soooo many memories of chennai and saravana bhavan. I must have eaten in almost all their outlets there and still visit it every time I go to chennai. Will try this right away!

  7. I love to go to the Saravana Bhavan in Chennai for its atmosphere and not so much for food. When they opened the one in Edison, it was quite good and over a period of time, the quality just went downhill. It is really bad now and highly recommend people to stay away from it. This sambhar is just so delicious and I can have a couple more dosai or idli just because of this.

  8. I have not been to the branch they have here but your version looks thick and creamy, just the way I like it.

  9. Interesting version of sambar. I have heard various comments about Saravana Bhavan. Ate a few times in Salem and loved the food there.

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