Saambaar[ Sambar ] is the most popular Tamizh Brahmin curry that has spread into the whole of India and even the whole world to a great extent. Generally, Sambar in Vegetarian Tamil Nadu Hotels of different levels, are reasonably well made. But If you want to taste real good Sambar, you must go to a traditional Iyer/ Iyengar House It is a subtle curry that can be ruined by careless mixing and handling. Majority of so called Sambar made by majority of non brahamin non-vegetarian(s)[ with due apologies] are a sure disaster. The general Sambar In Bombay Udupi Hotel(s) is a crude version. Karnataka too the Sambar is rarely well made in most hotels. But I have tasted Good Sambar in places as diverse as Ashoka hotel in New Delhi and Woodlands in Newyork ! But well the Sambar made in our house is a class in itself. My mother and sisters have spoilt us by the perfect Sambar. If some day the sambar is not up to the mark i am sure to tell them !!
When I was a child I had many experiences when the non-brahamins would call the brahamin boys, including me "Pattare Sambaaru kudiya" [ pattar( brahamin ) who drinks sambar ] !! ~ I don't know how this title was given to the brahamins. Altough Tamizh Brahamins enjoyed Sambar they never used to drink it unlike many north indians who drink dal!!
We will deal with Sambar in different sections. Variations have grown and subtle tastes too. If you want the quick method using Sambar powder please check the first entry