Ven Pongal Sambar

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Last Updated on December 14, 2020 by Chef Mireille

Ven Pongal Sambar is a South Indian breakfast of a savory rice porridge and a tangy soup. Healthy and delicious way to start the day!


Ven Pongal Sambar

Here in America, our savory breakfasts are mostly egg based. This is not true for India. Since much of the population does not consume eggs due to their pure Vegetarian status, their savory breakfasts often includes rice and other things that Western people would probably consider more apt for lunch or dinner. This is one of those meals. This is a very typical South Indian breakfast combination, but whether you have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, this tart and tangy soup will definitely satisfy your appetite.

Although sambar made for breakfast is usually very simple with just tomato and onion, I prefer this more hearty version to fuel up for the day!

Want to see how I enjoyed breakfast when I visited India? Check out my post here!

You can make the sambar the night before. Trust me, it tastes even better on Day 2 after all the tastes have had time to develop. Then putting together the Ven Pongal the next day is done in a jiffy. You can just put it on the stove. Go take a shower and by the time you are dressed, your pongal will be ready. Heat up your sambar and enjoy this healthy and filling Ven Pongal Sambar breakfast before you head out the door to work.


stew -edit

A great soup, even on its own. Indian comfort food.


Serve with Ven Pongal. See here for recipe.

Sambar LR 4

Now isn’t this healthy bowl a better way to start the day than some of the sweet breakfasts popular in the US like pancakes and muffins?

Sambar LR 5

Ven Pongal Sambar
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Ven Pongal Sambar

Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time1 hour 25 minutes
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Indian
Calories: 109.33kcal


  • 3/4 cup toor dal split pigeon peas
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 6 oz. chopped okra
  • 8 oz. chopped cauliflower
  • 2 teaspoons sambar powder
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • a pinch of aseofetida
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seed
  • 2 dried red chiles
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • a handful of coarsely chopped cilantro leaves


  • Bring toor dal and 3 cups of water with turmeric to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes - 1 hour, until tender. Using an immersion blender, puree.
  • Dissolve tamarind paste in 1 1/2 cups boiling water and leave for 15 minutes. Drain tamarind extracting all the liquid.
  • Heat oil in a pot. Add onion and saute until softened.
  • Add tomato, okra and cauliflower with 2 cups water and sambar powder. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add tamarind and pureed dal. Cook for 10 minutes.
  • In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of ghee. Add asoefetida and mustard seed. Once they stop popping, add cumin seed, fenugreek, chiles and curry leaves. Fry for 1 minute.
  • Add to sambar and cook for 1 more minute. Add cilantro and salt to taste. Stir to combine.


Calories: 109.33kcal | Carbohydrates: 13.7g | Protein: 3.5g | Fat: 5.37g | Saturated Fat: 1.67g | Sodium: 18.7mg | Fiber: 3.68g | Sugar: 4.25g
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  1. Yummy sambar! Sambar is rarity in my house but I do make pappu charu, which is a cousin of sambar. I love the vegetables in it. I never used cauliflower before in sambar or pappu charu. Will try it next time.

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