Spinach sambar recipe also known as palak sambar recipe in India is a very delicious, healthy & easy South Indian style sambar made of fresh spinach and tomatoes along with the main ingredient toor dal (yellow pigeon peas) and spices (you can also make this just using sambar powder instead of a variety of spices).
This spinach sambar goes great with rice and it can also be used as a great side dish for breakfast dishes like dosa & idli.
In fact there are different varieties of sambar which can be used as side dish for dosa, idli or rice.
The word ‘palak’ can be translated as spinach and in South India this spinach or palak is also known by the names keerai or cheera. So this sambar can also be called as keerai samabr or cheera sambar.
A variety of leaves can be used to make sambar and here in this post we are using palak leaves or spinach leaves to make the sambar.
Below you can see an image of spinach sambar served with brown rice.
I usually use fresh tomatoes along with fresh spinach to prepare the sambar which is delicious, so I really do not use tamarind in this sambar recipe.
But if you are reducing the number of tomatoes, you may also use filtered tamarind extract to add sourness to the dish.
I have a few sambar recipes without tamarind like this easy tomato sambar recipe and this moong dal sambar recipe (yellow mung beans sambar recipe) where also I used fresh tomatoes for sourness.
I do not chop the spinach leaves and just wash the spinach leaves and add them as whole, but if your family prefers chopped leaves, you can also chop the spinach leaves before adding to the sambar.
So here is the detailed recipe for smabar made using spinach leaves or palak leaves.
Spinach Sambar Recipe (Palak Sambar)
- 3 cups Fresh spinach leaves (or a little more if you like)
- 1.5 cups toor dal (yellow pigeon peas)
- 4 fresh tomatoes
- 1 medium sized onion
- 1/4 teaspoon salt adjust as required
- 4 cups Water
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 2 tablespoons coriander powder
- 2 teaspoons sambar powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds powder
- asafoetida a pinch
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 4 dry red chilies
- Wash the spinach leaves and drain the water, keep aside.
- Peel and chop the onion, keep it separate from the spinach.
- Chop the tomatoes too in medium sized pieces and you can keep this aside with the spinach leaves.
- Heat oil in the pressure cooker and add the mustard seeds to make the seasoning.
- When the mustard seeds splutter, add the red chilies and fry for a few seconds.
- Add the chopped onion and saute for about 2 minutes.
- Add the salt, spinach leaves and chopped tomatoes and mix well and saute for another 1 minute.
- Wash the yellow pigeon peas (toor dal) in water 2 to 3 times and add to the cooker and mix well.
- Add the water and spice, mix everything well and close the pressure cooker with the lid (and safety valve).
- Cook in medium heat for about 10 to 12 minutes or for 4 whistles.
- After 10 to 12 minutes of cooking, switch off the stove and wait for the pressure cooker to cool down.
- Once the cooker is cooled enough, open the cooker and see if the dal (pigeon peas) and vegetables are cooked enough as needed. In case you think the gravy is less, you may add a little more water and heat for another 1 minute.
- Mix the contents very well and the spinach sambar is ready to serve!