Sambar (Kolmbo)

Sambar (Kolmbo)

Sambar is a toor dal based spicy gravy with different veggies in it. Sambar is usually served with rice, idlis and dosas. I personally also love sambars with homemade, plain rice noodles.

Sambar can be made with or without using coconut. Here's a very easy sambar recipe, perfect for beginners and bachelors. A simple sambar recipe which uses sambar powder and minimal ingredients. This recipe was given to my hubby by my MIL when he first had to cook for himself. This is the simplest and easiest sambar you can prepare in very little time, using any good sambar powder you have.

You can use any veggies of your choice to prepare this sambar. Veggies like beans, potatoes, ivy gourd, drumsticks, brinjals, beetroot etc can be used. I keep it simple most of the time and use just potatoes and onions in it.

Kolmbo in Konkani means sambar. I hated sambars with rice until my hubby prepared this for me one day after we got married. I love this sambar ever since. :-) It tastes just yum with a ghee seasoning.


For seasoning:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 2 leaflets of curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of ghee

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
Preparation Method:

1. Transfer toor dal into a pressure cooker and give it a nice wash. 

2. Add in cubed potatoes, cubed onions, tamarind and 1 cup of water. If you're using any other veggies, then chop them and add more water accordingly.

3. Pressure cook them for about 2-3 whistles, so that toor dal cooks well and gets soft and mushy.

4. Transfer all the cooked contents into a cooking vessel, once the pressure of the cooker is released.

5. Add about 1/2 to 1 cup of water to the cooking vessel and mix well. Add water according to the consistency of sambar you desire. Sambar is usually between medium thick to thick.

6. Add salt, sambar powder, turmeric powder and bring it to boil. Add in red chilli powder if required, that is, if your sambar powder isn't spicy enough.

7. Once sambar comes to a boil, simmer the sambar for 3-4 minutes until rawness of the sambar powder goes off and until all the contents blend in together. 

8. Remove it off heat, add in freshly chopped coriander leaves for added taste and mix well.


9. For seasoning, heat ghee in a tempering pan and add in mustard seeds. When mustard starts popping, add in curry leaves and one red chilli cut into small pieces(optional for extra spice) and let them sizzle for few seconds. Add in asafoetida powder to the seasoning and remove it off heat. While the asafoetida powder sizzles in the seasoning, add the seasoning to sambar and mix well.

Asafoetida is added to balance the acidity effects of toor dal and potatoes on your body and also for added taste. :)

Serving suggestions:

Serve this sambar/kolmbo hot with a bowl of steaming hot rice and with some rice fryums/crispies/frittes (called as odi/vodi in Konkani) and with some papads on the side.

Or serve sambar/kolmbo with a vegatable stir fry (upakari in Konkani) on the side. 

Comfort food for most South Indians!!

Side Note:

If you're using veggies like beans, ivy gourd, drumsticks, brinjals, beetroot, chop them into bite sized pieces. 

If you're using dry mango powder/amchoor powder (for ease) instead of tamarind for tanginess, add it in the end to the sambar, once you put off the flame. 

Find more easy, quick, bachelor recipes here.

Find more Konkani cuisine curry recipes here

Tags: Sambar, easy cooking, vegetarian, spicy, lunch, dinner, kolmbo, gravy, curry, dal, simple, easy-to-do, quick recipe, kolombo, Konkani recipe, Konkani dish, Konkani cuisine, Udupi cuisine, Mangalore food, Konkani food, bachelor recipe