Lentil & Beans Soup w/ healthy vegetables and an assortment of spices (AKA Sambar)


It’s called “Sambar” in the region of the world where it originates from (South East Asia), and is a staple there differing only in the choice of vegetables each time, giving it a nice variation in taste!

Here is an interesting fact about this recipe:

The ingredients in it nourish almost all the body systems!

For Example: The lentils used are called Toor dal or split pigeon peas, they contain 32 grams of proteins per cup of lentils. The beans — used are called Black Chickpeas or (Kala Chana in the vernacular), and contain 10.7g of proteins. Onions are great for the augmentative system. Tomatoes the cardio-vascular system. Cauliflower — the brain or the nervous system, Potatoes — Fat free, zero cholesterol, have complex and simple carbs — great source of energy for the body! Carrots — immune system and eyesight.

The beneficial medicinal Spices & Herbs: Coriander powder & Mustard seeds: digestive system, small green chilies: reproductive system, Garlic: the lymphatic system, Cumin seeds: digestive system.


  • Beans & Lentils: 1 Cup split pigeon peas, 1/2 cup black chickpeas (you can substitute with regular chickpeas),
  • Vegetables: 1 cup potatoes chopped to bite size, 1 to 1.5 cups cauliflower, 1 cup carrots, 1 medium sized onion sliced, 1-2 tomatoes sliced. 2-3 small green chilies, slit in the middle.
  • Medicinal spices and herbs: 1/2 tsp of turmeric, 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds, 1 tsp of mustard seeds, 2 tsp coriander seeds crushed, 4-5 cloves of garlic peeled, no need to crush. 1/2 tsp dried red chili powder (please adjust amount according to your the level of “heat” you enjoy). Chopped coriander leaves.
  • Salt to taste, sesame seed oil – 1-2 tsp, to roast the digestive spices.

Cooking Process:

  1. Add washed lentils and beans to the pot, add 3-4 cups of water, cover and let it cook on low heat for 5 minutes, then increase heat to low-medium.
  2. After 10 minutes, add the garlic pods, the turmeric powder, the onions, tomatoes and the green chilies. Cover and cook for another 20 minutes, till lentils are of a smash-able consistence.
  3. Then add the vegetables: carrots, potatoes, stir and after 5 minutes add the cauliflower. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Then add the coriander powder and red chili powder, stir in thoroughly. Add more water if needed (this depends on how thick or thin you want the soup to be. Cover and let the spices cook to flavor the soup — for 5-7 mins. At this point, you can taste the soup to see how savory it is. If it tastes savory that means the flavors are well incorporated and its almost done.
  5. Reduce the heat to low, add oil, cover and let the oil heat up for 2 minutes, then add the digestive spices: cumin & mustard. You can also add 1/2 tsp of “hing” or asafetida (the spice Carmelo mentioned — has great digestive properties). Lightly “touch” the spices down so it can get coated with the oil. Cover and let it cook for 2-3 mins.
  6. Turn stove off, stir the pot to incorporate the spices into the soup and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves!

Serve with rice, unleavened bread, couscous etc., or by itself as soup.

Important notes on the recipe:

The amount of additional water you add depends on how you want to serve it: if serving with an accompaniment, you want it to be on the thicker side or, if by itself, then thinner. Also keep in mind the soup thickens as it cools down; the consistency is not going be the way it looks when cooking, so add water accordingly. Now, we’re taking about 1-2 cups of variance in water, any more than that will dilute the taste.

This soup can be a great staple in your kitchen too… adding different vegetables makes it taste different each time. Say, you want to strengthen your nervous system, I suggest adding Okra with Eggplant and Potatoes. Kale, Cauliflower and Radish to strengthen the thyroid, etc. Search up vegetables that aid a certain system in the body and choose 3 veggies that you like from the list!


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