• Mohan Dewan


*We do not claim any copyright in the above image. The same has been reproduced for academic and representational purposes only”.

Sambhar, the quintessential South Indian dish, is a staple in many households throughout India and beyond. It is a flavorful and nutritious stew made with lentils, vegetables, and a blend of spices and is generally consumed with idli or dosas. But have you ever wondered where this delicious dish originated? 

The origins of Sambhar can be traced back to the 17th century in the Court of King Shahuji Bhonsle in Thanjavur.  His father Vyankojirajah Bhonsle was the founder of Maratha rule of Thanjavur and a brother of Chhatrapati Shivaji' Maharaj.

Legend has it that Sambhar was created by the King's head chef, who was looking for a way to make a nutritious and filling meal “amti” for the king and his guests, using local ingredients. Amti is a tangy Maharastrian dish prepared with moong daal (Lentils, yellow petite) and kokum (wild mangosteen). However since they were in Thanjavur, the chef replaced moong daal with arhar daal (Pigeon Peas, split) and kokum with tamarind.

The dish was an instant hit with the King and his guests of the day including Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, the eldest son of Chhatrapati Shivaji' Maharaj. The King was so pleased with the dish that he decided to honour the guest by naming the dish after him and hence the name Sambhar.

Over time, Sambhar became a popular dish in the Maratha kingdom and spread to other parts of South India. It was adapted to suit local tastes and ingredients, and today there are around 50 variations of the dish prepared in India.


Keep yourself acquainted with the latest in IP news. Subscribe to our free newsletter to get regular updates.

Copyright © 2022 R. K. Dewan & Co.