Prep: 10 mins Cook: 30 mins


Serves 4
A spiced lentil side dish from Kerala in South India with tamarind, asafoetida, fenugreek and mustard seeds

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal272
  • fat7g
  • saturates1g
  • carbs37g
  • sugars5g
  • fibre4g
  • protein16g
  • salt0.1g
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  • 250g red or yellow lentil



    The lentil plant (Lens Culinaris) originates from Asia and North Africa and is one of our oldest…

  • ½ tsp turmeric



    Turmeric is a fragrant, bright golden-yellow root that is most commonly seen and used dried and…

  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste



    A seed pod from the tamarind tree that is used extensively in South-East Asian and Indian…

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 small shallot, finely chopped



    Related to the onion (as opposed to being a younger version of it), shallots grow in clusters at…

  • ½ tsp ground asafoetida



    This is a gum from a variety of giant fennel, which naturally has a horrid and offensive smell,…

  • ½ tsp ground fenugreek
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 10 curry leaf
  • 7 small dried red chilli
  • 140g green bean, trimmed and cut in half


  1. Place the lentils in a large pan with 400ml water. Add turmeric and tamarind and boil for 25-30 mins until very soft.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the shallots for 8-10 mins. When softened, add the spices, curry leaves, chillies and a good pinch of salt. Cook for another 2 mins, until fragrant.

  3. Boil another pan of salted water and cook the beans for 4 mins until tender, then drain well.

  4. Once the lentils are cooked, add the shallot spice mix and the beans, stir well and add more seasoning if necessary.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (2)

Ewa123's picture

Made this as an accompaniment to a dosa. Was very very disappointed. More like a dal than a sambar. Needed to change the recipe substantially to get it to work. Tasted ok in the end after the additions but not one I'd use again and certainly wouldn't recommend it even if you aren't looking for an authentic sambar.

stonefruit's picture

A very interesting taste.

Questions (0)

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Tips (1)

stonefruit's picture

Mix the tamarind paste well. It tends to stay in pieces which are quite disgusting to chew.