Sambar is a vegetarian curry-like sauce which forms an essential part of many of Tamilnadu meals. Not only it is eaten along with breakfast items like idli, dosa and upma, it also forms the main sauce to accompany the rice during lunch and dinner. Sambar is usually prepared using dried red gram (pigeon pea) dhal, a protein rich legume. With the right mix of spices, it has a strong and appetizing aroma.
This recipe is in two parts, the first to make the sambar powder from basic ingredients and the next recipe is to make the sambar.
Dry red chilli: 50 grams
Coriander seeds: 35 grams
Bengal gram dhal: 1 teaspoon
Red gram dhal (also known as pigeon pea or tur dhal): 1 teaspoon
Fenugreek: 1 teaspoon
Cumin: 1 teaspoon
Asafetida: one small piece
Method: Fry each of the above items separately (without oil) with care and put them altogether in a blender to make a powder. Keep in airtight containers and this powder can be used whenever you make sambar.
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Red gram dhal (tur dhal): 100 grams
Small onions (shallots) : 50 grams
Green chilli Pepper: 1
Curry and Coriander leaves: a few sprigs
Turmeric powder: ½ teaspoon
Sambar powder: 1 ½ teaspoon
Tamarind pulp: 3 tablespoon
Mustard seeds: ½ teaspoon
Oil: 2 tablespoon
Salt: 1 teaspoon
Asafetida: a small pinch
Vegetable: You can use any two vegetable of your choice, diced.
Drumstick (murungai), Brinjal(egg plant), pumpkin, radish and okra are all commonly used for sambar.
Method: Chop onions and tomatoes and dice the vegetables. Cook the dhal well in a pressure cooker with turmeric powder, adding an adequate quantity of water. Heat a pan and add mustard seeds and asafetida. When they start to splutter, add the cut onions and green chili and sauté for a couple of minutes. Then add the curry leaves, tomatoes and vegetables. Leave on medium heat and add the sambar powder, salt and enough water. Cook for ten minutes keeping the pan covered. Finally add the mashed dhal along with tamarind pulp and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with rice.