Mangai Sambar: A Lentil Dish with Raw Mangoes

Mangai Sambar

Raw mangoes can indeed add that magic tangy touch to a sambar, I so totally agree. Here in this recipe we do not use tamarind, which is generally added in a sambar, as the tangy flavour is derived from the raw mango itself. Now why small onions? You have to use them to get to know them better. They contribute a silent flavour to the sambar, which is discovered only when slurping up the dish with hot steaming rice, and some ghee (melted) dribbled over the rice. Then for that final touch, comes in grated coconut, giving it a typical South-Indian character.

Mangai Sambar is made with toor/tuvar dal (split pigeon peas or lentils). Soak the lentils for atleast 25 min before cooking. The raw mango should have a sour/tangy taste: only then the sambar will taste good. If the tangy flavour is less in your sambar, then add a little tamarind water as per taste.


Mangai Sambar

Time taken: 30 min

Taste-o-meter: Sour-n-spicy



  • Split pigeon lentils (tuvar dal): 1 cup
  • Small raw mango (mangai): 1/2
  • Sambar powder: 2 tsp
  • Freshly ground coriander powder (dry roasted coriander seeds ground to a fine powder): 2 tsp
  • Chilli powder: 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Tomatoes (sliced): 2
  • Small onions (whole): 10-12
  • Garlic pods: 2
  • Finely chopped coriander leaves for garnish(optional)

Ingredients for seasoning:

  • Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Red chillies (whole): 2-3
  • Asafoetida (hing) powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Coconut (grated): 1/2 cup
  • Ghee: 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves: few
  • Salt to taste


  • In a pressure cooker cook dal/lentil with turmeric powder, chilli powder, tomato, raw mango, garlic pods, small onions and 1 tsp sambar powder.
  • Heat ghee in a thick bottom pan add mustard seeds, red chillies, asafoetida, curry leaves, 1 tsp sambar powder and fenugreek seeds. Fry well.
  • Add the boiled dal and simmer.
  • Once this is done, add the grated coconut, freshly ground coriander powder and fresh coriander leaves. Put off the flame after 2 minutes.
  • Serve hot with rice, idlis, dosa …


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