Go Back
beetroot sambar

Beetroot Sambar - South Indian Beetroot and Lentils

Recipe for beetroot sambar - a South Indian curry with yellow lentils and beets, best served with plain steamed rice and a dollop of ghee.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine south indian
Servings 4 helping


  • 3/4 cup toor dal (yellow lentils)
  • 2 beetroots medium sized
  • 2 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 1 pinch asafoetida
  • tamarind lemon sized ball soaked in water & pulp extracted
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp sambar powder readymade masala


  • To prepare beetroot sambar, we need to first cook the beets and lentils. Pressure cook the dal with a pinch of turmeric. If you don't have a pressure cooker, then soak dal for 30 minutes and boil with 3 cups of water for 30-40 minutes until mushy.
  • Pressure cook the beetroot. If you are using a pressure cooker, use the separators and cook dal in one compartment and beets in the other to save time. Cooking time is similar for both tur dal and beetroot.
  • Tug off the skins from the cooked beetroot and cut into thick slices and dice.
  • Heat the oil in a pot. Add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds pop, add a pinch of asafoetida and give it a quick stir.
  • Add the cooked chopped beets, stir for around for 2 minutes. Add the tamarind extract to this and bring to a simmer.
  • Slake the sambar powder in 1/4 cup water and add it to the pot. Bring to a simmer.
  • Put the cooked dal, salt and boil for 2 minutes.
  • Serve with steamed rice and ghee.


The same sambar recipe can be prepared using radish, carrot, turnip or sweet potato. In case of carrot or sweet potato, the vegetable can be sliced and added raw, allowing it to cook by simmering in tamarind water. Beetroot takes a long time to cook, hence better to use pre-cooked beets.
Check this recipe for a delicious Beetroot Halwa that is my aunt's specialty!
How To Make Beetroot Halwa || Saffron Trail Kitchen
And these healthy beetroot chips made in the airfryer
airfyer beetroot chips
How to make Beetroot Chips in airfryer