Origin of Sambhar

Based on the comment here, which set me think how the famous South Indian recipe: Sambhar,the side dish along with Idli, Vada or Rice, was made at the first attempt.

I found this article by Dr Padmini Natarajan. Read her article to learn more.

“South Indian food, people and culture are inexorably linked to a ubiquitous dish as in idli and sambhar, sambhar and rice and so on. Each state in the South prepares it with a typical variation, adapted to its taste and environment.

The genesis of this dish has an interesting tale linked to it. The Marathas were ruling Tanjore. King Sambhaji was a great cook (the male clan members to note) and very fond of his amti with a handful of the tart kokum thrown in. In a particular season the kokum that was imported from the Maratha homeland did not reach the bare larder of the king's kitchen. Sambhaji was cooking and the minions were shivering in their dhothis to tell him that his favourite dish could not be made that day. A smart Vidushak, who had been elected sous chef for the day, decided to solve the problem. He whispered in the king's ears that the locals used very little tamarind pulp to gain a better sourness to the curry and that Sambhaji should experiment with this variation. Voila, the dish with the tuvar dal, vegetables, spices and the tamarind pulp was cooked and served by the king to his coterie. The court declared the dish an outstanding preparation (they had no choice with the king as Chef) and thus was born Sambhaji's amti that in time became sambhar.”

Thus, the Sambhar we relish in our day-to-day life, was named after a King Sambhaji, the son of Maratha Ruler Shivaji.


  1. Interesting... Never knew about that...

    And BTW I love to eat Vada with Sambar... :D

  2. Never really thought abt it, even while devouring it endlessly. geat story!

    I thought this was one of those great dishes tht was actually a mistake :)

  3. @ Joel, Me too. Love Idli and Vada with Sambhar and chutney!

    @ Maverick, Yup, you were right :)

  4. Love Sambhar but i had no idea why it'so called :)

  5. Thanks for enlightening. I love sambhar but now on, would enjoy it with royal relish.

  6. @ Indian Home Maker & Mampi, I love Sambhar too :)


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