Lunch Main Dishes Vegetarian

Best Madras Samayal Recipes 2023

What is Madras Samayal Cooking all about?

Madras Samayal refers to the cuisine of the city of Madras (now known as Chennai) in Tamil Nadu, South India. It is characterized by a rich variety of flavors, spices, and ingredients that are unique to the region. Madras Samayal recipes typically feature a combination of rice, lentils, vegetables, and spices, resulting in aromatic and flavorful dishes.

One popular Madras Samayal recipe is “Sambar,” a lentil-based vegetable stew cooked with tamarind, spices, and a special blend called Sambar powder. Another well-known dish is “Rasam,” a tangy and spicy soup made with tamarind juice, tomatoes, and a blend of spices. Pongal” is a savory dish made with rice, lentils, and ghee, often flavored with cumin, black pepper, and cashews.

Other notable Madras Samayal recipes include “Idli,” soft and fluffy steamed rice cakes served with coconut chutney and sambar, and “Dosa,” a thin and crispy fermented crepe usually accompanied by a variety of chutneys and sambar. Biryani” is another popular dish in the region, made with fragrant basmati rice, meat (such as chicken or mutton), and a blend of aromatic spices.

Sambar Recipe (Vegetarian)

Sambar Recipe


Sambar is a popular vegetarian recipe in Madras Samayal cuisine. It is a lentil-based vegetable stew that is known for its tangy and spicy flavors. Here is a simple recipe for Sambar:


  • 1 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas)
  • Assorted vegetables (such as drumstick, eggplant, carrot, beans, okra), chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sambar powder
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • A few curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Water


  1. Pressure cook the toor dal with 2 cups of water until soft and mushy. Set aside.
  2. In a large pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add cumin seeds, asafoetida, and curry leaves.
  3. Add chopped onions and sauté until they turn translucent.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft.
  5. Add the assorted vegetables and sauté for a few minutes.
  6. Add sambar powder and mix well. Cook for a minute to allow the flavors to meld.
  7. Add the cooked toor dal and mix everything together.
  8. Add tamarind pulp, salt, and water to achieve the desired consistency.
  9. Bring the sambar to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
  10. Serve hot with steamed rice or idli.

Rasam Recipe

Rasam Recipe



Rasam is a tangy and spicy soup that is a popular part of Madras Samayal cuisine. It is known for its comforting flavors and is often served with rice or enjoyed as a soup on its own. Here is a simple recipe for Rasam:


  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small lemon-sized tamarind ball or 2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • A few curry leaves
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 2 green chilies, slit
  • 2 teaspoons rasam powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 cups water
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing


    1. Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of warm water for about 10 minutes. Squeeze out the pulp and discard the solids.
    2. In a pan, heat ghee or oil. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Then add cumin seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, dried red chilies, and slit green chilies. Sauté for a few seconds.
    3. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft and mushy.
    4. Add tamarind pulp, rasam powder, turmeric powder, black pepper powder, and salt. Mix well.
    5. Add 2 cups of water and bring the rasam to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
    6. Adjust the consistency by adding more water if needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
    7. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
    8. Serve hot rasam with rice or enjoy it as a soup.

Buy Rasam Powder on Amazon

Mutton Biriyani Recipe

Madras Samayal Biriyani Recipe



Mutton Biryani is a flavorful and aromatic rice dish that is popular in Madras Samayal cuisine. Here is a simple recipe for Mutton Biryani:


  • 500 grams mutton, cut into pieces
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons Biryani masala powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • A few strands of saffron soaked in milk
  • A handful of mint leaves
  • A handful of coriander leaves
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Water


  1. Rinse the basmati rice thoroughly and soak it in water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large pan, heat ghee or oil and sauté the thinly sliced onions until golden brown. Remove half of the fried onions and set aside for garnishing.
  3. Add ginger-garlic paste to the remaining onions in the pan and sauté for a minute until fragrant.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft and mushy.
  5. Add the mutton pieces and cook until they are browned on all sides.
  6. Add Biryani masala powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt. Mix well to coat the mutton evenly with the spices.
  7. Add plain yogurt, mint leaves, and coriander leaves. Mix everything together.
  8. Add water and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer until the mutton is cooked and tender.
  9. Meanwhile, in a separate large pot, bring water to a boil. Add salt and the soaked basmati rice. Cook until the rice is 70-80% cooked. Drain the rice.
  10. Layer the partially cooked rice over the cooked mutton in the pan. Drizzle saffron milk over the rice.
  11. Cover the pan tightly with a lid and cook on low heat for about 20-25 minutes until the rice is fully cooked and flavors are well infused.
  12. Remove from heat and let it rest for a few minutes. Fluff the rice gently with a fork.
  13. Garnish with the reserved fried onions. Serve hot with raita or salan.


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