Hotel Saravana Bhavan is heaven for South Indian foodies. Be it their idlis, sambar, sambar sadam, or any other dish from the South Indian cuisine, this food joint knows how to nail it. Sambar is one of the best sellers; it looks like any regular sambar, but the balance of flavors and spices is mind-blowing. It is a combination of seasonal vegetables in a hearty lentil gravy that is both filling and delicious. They usually serve it with soft and fluffy idlis, perfect to soak up the flavorful sambar. We have recreated the Saravana Bhavan idli sambar recipe for you, so you can have a taste of this heavenly meal whenever and wherever you want.
Sambar is one of the popular South Indian breakfast recipes, and each house has its own version of delicious sambar. While there are many sambar recipes to choose from, the Saravana Bhavan sambar recipe is a sure hit. Saravana Bhavan is a South Indian restaurant that started in Tamil Nadu but it quickly spread all over India and globally. Their idli sambar meal is one of their most popular menu items. Like every great sambar, the secret to the Saravana Bhavan hotel sambar recipe is their signature sambar masala, which we have already decoded with our sambar powder recipe. So, let’s make this amazing Saravana Bhavan Idli Sambar and see what the hype is all about.
Ingredients For Saravana Bhavan Idli Sambar Recipe
Ingredients for idli
Whole or split urad dal is an essential ingredient for making idlis. It contributes to the creamy texture and slightly nutty flavor of the idli batter. You also need idli rice, a special variety of rice, specifically for making idlis. It provides the idlis with a soft and fluffy texture. Season it with salt according to taste. You’ll also require softened butter to grease the idli molds and prevent sticking.
Ingredients for sambar
Toor dal or pigeon pea lentils form the base of the sambar. It adds a creamy texture and a slightly sweet flavor to the dish. Water helps cook the lentils and vegetables and adjusts the consistency of the sambar. You also need veggies, such as carrots, eggplants, and tomatoes, which provide sweetness, texture, and flavor to the sambar. Tamarind gives the sambar tanginess and depth of flavor, while salt and turmeric are the common seasoning ingredients. You also need some high quality oil or ghee to sauté the vegetables and make the masala paste. Top everything off with some fresh coriander leaves as a garnish to add freshness and color to the dish.
Masala paste ingredients
For masala paste, you need coconut, tomatoes, sambar powder, and chana dal. Coconut provides a creamy texture and a slightly sweet flavor. Tomatoes add acidity and sweetness to the masala paste, and chana dal, a roasted lentil, provides a nutty flavor to the paste. Sambar powder, which is a blend of various spices, is added to the masala paste to provide a complex flavor. This is the secret to a good sambar. You have to nail the sambar powder and perfectly balance it.
Tarka or thalipu is the tempering that you pour on boiling sambar. It uses ghee as a base, which adds richness and depth of flavor to the tarka. Other ingredients include mustard seeds, urad dal, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, green chilies, shallots, and asafoetida. Mustard seeds add a nutty flavor and popping texture to the tarka, while fenugreek seeds add a slightly bitter and nutty flavor to it. Udad dal provides a nutty flavor and crunchy texture, and asafoetida (hing) adds a subtle and pungent flavor to this Saravana Bhavan Idli Sambar.
Like every South Indian tempering, this one is incomplete without curry leaves. They give the tempering its classic South Indian aroma. Green chilies provide a spicy and fresh flavor to the tempering, and shallots add a sweet and onion-like flavor to the sambar.
Step By Step Instructions For Saravana Bhavan Idli Sambar Recipe
First, wash one cup of urad dal and soak it for 4 hours.
Next, wash 3 cups of idli rice four times, soak them for 4 hours, and then set them aside.
After 4 hours, do not throw the dal water away, as it will help in fermentation. Preserve the water and set it aside for later use. Then, grind the udad dal into a fine paste and add dal water as required.
Afterward, throw out the rice water and grind the rice with dal water into a paste.
Next, transfer the dal and rice mixture to a large pot, add 1 tbsp of salt or to taste, and then mix for a few minutes with your hands.
Mixing with hands helps in the fermentation process, so make sure to not skip this step.
Mix until well combined. The batter should be slightly runny, not thick. Then cover the mixture and set it aside for 8 to 10 hours or overnight.
The next morning, the dal and rice mixture should have fermented well and thickened.
Grease the idli mold with softened butter, which will help the idli come off smoothly.
Arrange the idli mold in the steamer and then steam for about 5 to 8 minutes at high heat.
After 8 minutes, remove the idlis from the mold and cover them with a kitchen towel, and set aside.
For making sambar, soak some tamarind in warm water for 15 minutes, and set aside.
Next, you’ll need to take the sambar masala ingredients coconut, tomato, chana dal (roasted), and sambar powder and grind it to paste. You’ll need to add some water to get a nice smooth consistency. Set it aside once it is done.
In a large pot or pan, fry veggies in 1.5 tbsp of oil for a minute, then add the cooked dal and 1 cup water, cover, and cook for 5 minutes or until the veggies are soft but not mushy.
After 5 minutes, add the masala paste and bring the mixture to a boil. Then, add tamarind water, mix well, and let them boil for a few seconds.
Next, for Tarka, heat the Tarka ingredients in a pan and pour them over the sambar.
Then sprinkle 2 tbsp of fresh coriander leaves and cook for a few seconds.
Finally, The Savarna Bhavan idli sambar is ready to be served. Enjoy!
To serve the Savarna Bhavan idli sambar, you have several options. Firstly, you can enjoy it as a breakfast dish or as a snack. Once you have steamed the idlis and cooked the sambar, arrange the idlis in a plate or a bowl. Then, pour the hot sambar over them, ensuring that each idli is generously coated in the flavorful and aromatic sauce. For added flavor and texture, you can garnish with some fresh coriander leaves, which will also add a pop of color to the dish. To complete the meal, serve the idli sambar with some coconut chutney or tomato chutney on the side. If you like some spice, feel free to add a dash of red chili powder on top of the sambar. Finally, enjoy the soft and fluffy idlis along with the delicious sambar with a hot cup of tea or coffee to complement the flavors.
To store the Savarna Bhavan idli sambar, you need to let it cool down to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. This will prevent any moisture from accumulating and keep the sambar fresh for longer. Make sure the container is clean and dry before adding the sambar. Label the container with the date and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
When you want to reheat the sambar, transfer it to a saucepan or a microwave-safe bowl, and heat it on low heat until it is warmed through. Do not overheat the sambar, as it may change the texture and flavor. If you have any leftover idlis, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. To reheat the idlis, steam them again in a steamer or a microwave for a few minutes until they are hot and soft. By following these storage tips, you can enjoy the Savarna Bhavan idli sambar even after a few days of making it.
Idli sambar is made of steamed rice and lentil cakes (idlis) served with a lentil-based vegetable stew called sambar. The sambar is made with toor dal, tamarind, vegetables like carrots, eggplants, and tomatoes, and a blend of spices.
If sambar is too watery, you can thicken it by simmering it for a longer time until the excess liquid evaporates. Alternatively, you can add a small amount of rice flour or cornstarch mixed with water to the sambar and cook for a few minutes until the sambar thickens.
Sambar recipes vary from household to household and village to village. Many restaurants and households use shallots and garlic, but some do not. You should experiment and see which version you like best.
Saravana Bhavan is a popular South Indian vegetarian restaurant chain that has branches all over the world, including in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Middle East, and Asia.
The tagline of Saravana Bhavan is “Vegetarian’s Delight”
Saravana Bhavan is a South Indian vegetarian restaurant chain that serves a variety of dishes from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala.
Tamil Nadu is known for its rich and flavorful cuisine, and some of the best dinner dishes include biryani, sambar rice, rasam rice, idli, dosa, vada, pongal, and parotta.
Idli is a steamed rice and lentil cake, while sambar idli is a variation of idli that is served with sambar. In sambar idli, the idlis are cut into small pieces or left whole and soaked in the sambar, which makes them soft and flavorful.
Tiffin sambar is a slightly thinner version of sambar that is often served with breakfast dishes like idli, dosa, and vada. It is made with fewer vegetables and spices than regular sambar, and has a slightly different flavor profile.
To enhance the taste of sambar, you can add a pinch of asafoetida (hing) to the tempering (tadka), which adds a distinct flavor to the dish. You can also roast the spices before adding them to the sambar, which releases their essential oils and enhances their flavor. Additionally, adding a small amount of jaggery (gur) or sugar can balance the sourness of tamarind and add a mild sweetness to the dish.
Hi! I’m Ravi Kumar.
I am a husband, father of 4, board certified neurosurgeon, and a lover of South Indian Food!
I created PaattisKitchen.com to memorialize the most delicious foods on earth. South Indian food is easy to make and hard to mess up. So pull up your sleeves, and come with me as we explore the vibrant spices, colors, aromas, and flavors of South Indian culinary tradition.