This is a classic dish in any South Indian household. But, I have always felt that the way each one makes this simple yet divine dish is so different!!!!!!
And so the taste also differs!!
Whenever I discuss about making sambar with my friends or family, I am simply amazed at the various recipes for this dish. I keep experimenting with sambar and rasam as it is an integral part of our everyday food.
With different inputs from friends and family, I have tweaked the recipe. Since I make sambar atleast four times a week, can say that I have mastered this one over the years.
With a food critic husband, it can only get better!!! Tastes divine with steaming hot rice and ghee! You can eat endless dosas and idlis with such an accompaniment!
Vegetables for the sambar
Large onions -2 ( slice thinly in elongated way)
Sambar onions/Shallots- 10 no.s
Garlic- 2 to 3
Fresh coriander leaves- for garnish.
Coriander seeds- 1 tsp
Sesame seeds-1/4 tsp
Bengal Gram dal( channa dal)-1 to 2 tsp( adjust according to the quantity you are making)
Urad dal(husked black gram)1 tsp
Tuvar dal( pigeon peas)- 1/2 cup( to be boiled seperately with a tsp of fenugreek seeds))
Red chillies-6 to 8 ( adjust according to your spice requirements)
Black pepper pods- 6 to 7
Flax seeds-1/4 tsp( optional)
Tamarind- 2 1/2 tsp of thick pulp. ( or a big lemon size tamarind to be ground along with the masala paste)
I have skipped coconut as my family does not like it too much. If you want you can add a tsp or two of the same while grinding.
Mustard seeds - for tempering
Do not get overwhelmed by the amount of ingredients. It is quite simple to make.
1. In a pressure pan, cook the pigeon peas with a tsp of fenugreek seeds .Do add 1/4 tsp of turmeric. Before you close the pan lid. Cook upto 3 to 4 whistles and switch off. I use a 3.5 litre prestige pressure cooker for this.
2. While the dal is cooking, let us dry roast the ingredients for the masala.toast everything except the shallots and garlic.
3. Grind them to a fine paste in a mixer . Add shallots and garlic ,grind. Add water ( you can soak the
tamarind in 2 tbsp of hot water and add it along with the masala,in case you are not using the pulp)and grind to a smooth paste.I also added the curry leaves while grinding.
4. Take a large wok and add 2 tbsp of sesame oil. When it is hot, add mustard seeds. When they crack, add the onions and tomatoes and saute' them till the onions are transparent and the tomatoes,mushy. Add a pinch of turmeric and add salt so that the onions do not dry up. This is an important step that will give the onions the crunch in the sambar. Do saute' atleast for 7 minutes.
5. Now add the whisked pigeon peas( tuvar dal). Then add the tamarind pulp in case you haven't added in the masala and give it a good stir.
6. If your dal is too thick you can add a cup of water. You can adjust water depending upon the thickness of sambar you need. If you are making it for rice, then thicker sambar will taste yummier. In case you are cooking for Idli/ dosa then you can add more water. Now add the masala paste . Let it si mer for 10 minutes in low flame. You can close the lid with a ladle in the wok. Garnish with coriander leaves and switch off.
My yummy sambar is ready to be served with steaming hot rice and ghee. I served it with Appalam( potato chips is equally good!!!!)
This sambar stays good even for 2 days as it did not have any coconut. It was so delicious that I wanted to share the recipe with you all.
I am sure you might be having your own yummy way of making the sambar. Would love to hear from you!!!!