Coseppi Kitchen

Inclusive Vegetarian Cooking by Taylor Cook & James Seppi

Vegetable Sambar

Vegetable Sambar

Vegetable Sambar

This version of a typical South Asian soup is a tasty and nutritious use for late summer vegetables.


  • 1/2 cup dried red lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3-4 dried hot red chili peppers
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium potato, cubed
  • 1/2 pound eggplant, cubed
  • 1/2 pound okra, sliced
  • salt to taste


  1. In a large soup pot, bring lentils and broth to a boil and simmer, covered, until soft, about 30 minutes.
  2. While the lentils are cooking prepare vegetables and spices. In a mortar and pestle (or a spice mill) combine coriander, peppercorns, mustard seeds, fenugreek, and cumin. Grind spices until they are a coarse powder.
  3. Heat vegetable oil in a large wok. Over medium heat fry the ground spices until fragrant, about one minute.
  4. Add asafoetida, turmeric powder, whole red chilies, and onion. Continue frying until the onion is translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in tamarind paste and add the remaining vegetables. Lower heat and cook until potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove cooked vegetables from heat. Add the vegetables to the lentils and broth, and when they have finished cooking season with salt to taste.

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