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I will summarize this long review first, and then go into details. Make the vadas,but use a different sambhar recipe.
I was really not sure what rating to give this recipe. Partially because there are two items to cook in this recipe and one of them was tasty, the other really dull. Partially because there were errors in measurement on both recipes.
First the measurements. I think that the quantity of toor dal should have been 20 grams, not 200. The result was more like dal than sambhar. Also 200 grams of dal cooked with 1 cup of water would not result at all in soup. I ended up using about 12 cups of water. Then, because the amount of toor dal was too high, I had to adjust all the other spices and ingredients. Even so the sambhar was pretty boring. I guess I like more vegetables in my sambhar. Actually I have never had sambhar with so few vegetables in it. Plus it took over 2 hours to cook, not 30 minutes. If I had just used the small bit of toor dal and lots of water, it would have been done sooner, but still not in 1/2 hour. In sambhar the dal should be very soft.
The vadas turned out much better. The flavor was good and the texture too. Again I had to use way more water than called for or it would not have been a dough at all, just crumbles. I ended up adding a tiny bit too much water, partially so the food processor I used wouldn't die, and couldnt' make the doughnut shapes called for. So instead I made more like hush puppies. Taste was authentic though and they came out nice and light.

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alvinakatz August 21, 2012
Sambhar Vada (Yellow Lentil Soup With Spiced Doughnuts)