How long does sambar last in the fridge?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long does sambar last in the fridge?”, and how to make sambar?

How long does sambar last in the fridge?

Sambar stays good in the fridge for 2-4 days if kept at a constant temperature of 4 degrees or below. To make the sambar last longer, make sure you store it within 2 hours of cooking and let it come to room temperature before you pack it away (1).

Sambar, also called saaru, is a vegetable stew based on a broth made with tamarind paste and toovar dal (lentil broth) and also contains herbs and/or spices, turmeric and/or tomato (2,3).

Indian spices that go into the making of this powder are coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, turmeric rhizomes, black pepper, curry leaves, cumin seeds, and asafoetida. Spices are generally considered to be safe by the USFDA in the proportions used in food. In Asia, the intake of turmeric, a component of curry powder, has been reported to lower the incidence of colon cancer. There are scientific reports stating the beneficial effects of Indian spices and condiments in cancer prevention. Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the US, whereas in India the incidence is the lowest. Almost 70% of the incidence of colon cancer is linked to diet. (4).

Only about 7% of the total spices produced in India are exported to 130 countries around the world, with the remainder consumed in the domestic market. The Indian exporting spices are cloves (40%), cumin (10%), turmeric (10%), coriander (9.5%), pepper (4%) fenugreek (4.2%). The Spice Board of India was created for the purpose of assisting in the development and worldwide promotion of Indian spices (5).

How to make sambar?


For tamarind pulp 

1 tablespoon tamarind

⅓ cup hot water

For Cooking Dal

  • ½ cup tur dal or Arhar dal (pigeon pea lentils) – 100 grams
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
  • 1.5 to 1.75 cups water or add as required

For Cooking Vegetables

  • 1 to 1.5 cups chopped vegetables like okra, french beans, potatoes, small round brinjals, pumpkin
  • 1 to 2 drumsticks – scraped and chopped in 3 to 4 inches sticks.
  • 6 to 7 pearl onions (sambar onions) or 1 small to medium onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 tomato – small to medium, quartered or diced
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
  • ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder – optional
  • Salt as required
  • 1.5 to 2 cups water or add as required

Important Ingredient

  • 1 to 1.5 tablespoons Sambar Powder

For Tempering

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (gingelly oil), can also use coconut oil or sunflower oil, or ghee
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 to 2 dry red chilies – halved and seeds removed
  • 10 to 12 curry leaves
  • 2 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • 5 to 6 fenugreek seeds (methi seeds) – optional
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) – optional


Making tamarind pulp 

  1. Dump the tamarind in hot water. Let it soak for about 20-30 minutes.
  2. When the tamarind has softened, squeeze it to loosen the pulp. Strain the pulp and set it aside.

Cooking lentils 

  1. Rinse the tuvar dal under cold running water.
  2. Add the dal and ¼ tsp turmeric in a 2-liter pressure cooker.
  3. Then stir in 1.5 to 1.75 cups of water. Cover and pressure cook dal for 7 to 8 whistles or 9 to 10 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Allow the pressure to release naturally. Then remove the lid to check the doneness of the dal. It should be soft and mushy.
  5. Use a spoon or wired whisk to mash the softened daal. Set it aside.

Cooking vegetables 

  1. Rinse, peel and chop the veggies while the dal is pressure cooking.
  2. Add the chopped veggies such as 6 to 7 pearl onions or 1 small to medium onion (thickly sliced) and 1 small to medium tomato (quartered) to a pot or a pan.
  3. Stir in 1.5-2 cups of water.
  4. Place the pan on the stovetop and heat the veggies on a medium flame.
  5. Cook until the veggies are soft and tender.

Making sambar 

  1. Add the tamarind pulp and 1 to 1.5 tablespoons sambar powder to the veggie mixture. Make sure the veggies are cooked at this point.
  2. Then stir in the mashed dal.
  3. Bring this mixture to a boil.
  4. When the surface of the sambar gets covered with a thick foamy layer, turn off the heat.


  1. Add  2 tablespoons of gingelly oil to a tadka pan and crackle ½ tsp mustard seeds in it.
  2. Then stir in 1 to 2 dry red chilies (halved and seeds removed). Immediately after the addition of red chilies, stir in 10 to 12 curry leaves, 5 to 6 methi seeds, and 2 pinches of asafoetida (hing).
  3. Cook until the chilies change color and curry leaves become crispy.
  4. Pour the chile mixture into the hot sambar and immediately cover the pot to allow the flavors of the tempering mixture to infuse with the sambar. This will take about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Serve hot sambar with a few coriander leaves or steamed rice, idli, dosa, medu vada, or uttapam. 

Storage and leftovers 

Refrigeration thickens the sambar. To adjust the consistency, add a splash of water to the sambar before reheating.

Recipe notes 

  1. Sambar powder point plays a huge role in determining the taste of your sambar. So, get the best-tasting sambar powder for this recipe.
  2. Use a variety of veggies to experiment with the flavor and texture of sambar. Try different veggie combinations to see what turns out best.
  3. Ideally, you should use fresh and preferably unpolished tuvar dal for this recipe. Fresh dal has a better taste and a short cooking time. Soak the lentils in water for 30-60 minutes to reduce the cooking time.


In this article, we answered the question “How long does sambar last in the fridge?”, and how to make sambar?

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Leftovers and Food Safety. US Department of Agriculture. 2020.


Sarkar, Preetam, et al. Traditional and ayurvedic foods of Indian origin. J Ethnic Foods, 2015, 2, 97-109.


SELVAMANI, Mr K. Role of Indian Cuisine in International Cullinary. INT J INN RES EXPL, 2018, 3.


Gopi, S., J. Praveen Paul, and R. Gopi. The dynamics of spice powder market: A COVID-19 perspective. perspective, 2022, 6.S1, 11188-11196.