Sandya’s Recipes

When I brought up the idea of sharing recipes, my nieces jumped to the idea. Sandya has been sending me recipes faster than I can type it. So here are the first few recipes. Sandhya is an ayurvedic doctor, and lives in Chennai with her husband and two young children. These recipes are from what she has cooked at home. Other than cooking for her family she paints when she has the free time. She has learnt to cook from her mother, mother-in-law and google, of course.

Sandya’s Tamil Nadu Sambar

Sambar is a south indian lentil soup which is spicy and tangy. An assortment of vegetables are added, depending on what is available at home. This sambar is the Tamil Nadu sambar. Different regions make different types of sambar. In Karnataka it is slightly sweeter as jaggery (brown sugar) is added and in Kerala it is creamier as coconut is added to it.

Adapted from  Hebbar’s Kitchen


Tur dal 2 cups

Pumpkin 1 cup diced

¼ tsp turmeric powder

lime sized tamarind soaked in ½ cup warm water and extract the juice or use 1 tsp tamarind concentrate

1 tsp gingelly oil and 1 tsp ghee (or 2 tsp vegetable oil)

1 tsp mustard

2 red chillies

¼ tsp methi seeds (vendhyam)

¼ tsp turmeric powder

¼ tsp coriander seeds (optional)

¼ tsp asafoetida

1 cup shallots (sambar onions)- whole or halved

1 tomato chopped

2 cups vegetables of your choice or a mix ( radish, capsicum/ green peppers, okra, potatoes, carrots, beans)

2 tsp sambar powder (any brand- found in Indian stores)

Salt to taste

A pinch of jaggery/brown sugar

Special Sambar Powder: 1 tbsp channa dal

3 tbsp coriander powder

3 dried red chillies


* Special Sambar Powder – Dry roast and powder  1 tbsp channa dhal+ 3tbsp dhaniya + red chillies

* Making sambar this way helps get the consistency right.  Without this the does not have the right consistency

  1. Wash tur dal. Add pumpkin, turmeric and pressure cook for 4 whistles or in an instant pot for 4  minutes
  2. Heat gingelly oil (1tsp)+ ghee(1tsp) in a kadai/ wok/ saucepan.
  3. Add mustard, red chillies, methi seeds and  coriander seeds.  Let the mustard splutter.  Add a pinch of turmeric and asafoetida.
  4. Add shallots and fry. Add the tomato. Now add any vegetables of your choice  and saute.
  5. Add 2 tsp sambar powder + 2 tsp spl sambar powder and saute in the oil. Add salt and a pinch of jaggery
  6. Add the dal-pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  7.  Add the tamarind juice. Let it simmer and boil well
  8. Sambar is tangy and spicy. It goes well with steamed rice, idli (steamed rice cakes) or dosa (rice crepes)
Sandya’s Sambar

Arisi Parupu Sadam ( Coimbatore Special)

Adapted from Madras Samayal

Parappu sadam or dal rice is a dish which every child loves as a kid. Usually there is always cooked rice and cooked dal made every day in a south Indian home. Mixing rice, dal with some salt and ghee and it is almost a complete meal (carbohydrates and protein). Almost like a peanut butter sandwich! Even today, if I cook rice and dal, before I use the dal for a recipe, I keep some aside and mix it with some rice, salt and sometimes ghee and eat it.

Here is a recipe where it is cooked together, like a khichdi. Parappu Sadam transliterates to Dal rice. Here is a recipe of a millet khichdi I had posted earlier:


Wash and soak 1 cup rice and 1 cup tur dal

Add  1tsp gingelly oil + 1tsp ghee to a pressure cooker or instant pot. You can replace with vegetable oil too.

Add 1 tsp mustard seeds + 2 red chillies

Add 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, ¼ tsp  hing and a tbsp curry leaves

Add 1 chopped onion, 4 cloves  chopped garlic and one chopped (small) tomato and sauté

Add 3 cups water and salt to taste

 Cook for 3 to 4 whistles or for 5 minutes in the instant pot (pressure cook mode)

Serve hot with a dollop of ghee


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