Friday, April 27, 2007

Sambar with a Twist ;)

Sambar is a dish common, made of Lentils, in southern India and Sri Lanka. Apart from high level of proteins, lentils also contain dietary fiber, vitamin B1, and minerals.

Do you know that Lentils are relatively tolerant to drought and are grown throughout the world. Canada is the largest export producer of lentils in the world. And about half of the worldwide production of lentils is from India, most of which is consumed in the domestic market - it has to be, we have so many good recipes to eat lentils!!

Anyway, here is my version of Andhra Sambar.

Toor dal - 1/4 cup
Bottle gourd - 1/2 (medium sized)
Beans - 4 (Chikkudu kayalu)
Tomatoes - 1 (remove the seeds and slice into wedges)
Carrot - 1/4 (cut into circles)
Corn seeds - 3/4 cup (frozen)
Indian beans - 1/4 cup (frozen Valor Lilva)
Onion - 1 (Med size, sliced)
Oil - 2tbsp
Water 4-5 cups (excluding water to cook dal)
Mustard seeds - 1tsp
Zeera seeds - 1tsp
Coconut- 1tbsp(fresh or dried - optional)
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Sambhar powder - 1tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Tomato pickle - 1tsp (Here the twist lies. This used for sourness instead of tamarind and for color instead of red chilli powder)
Cilantro or corriander - for garnishing
Salt - to taste

  1. Pressure cook toor dal with 1:2 ratio of water and grind it if needed.
  2. Simultaneously, in a pan, heat the oil and do the seasoning.
  3. Add onions and saute till transparent. Add bottle gourd and beans, sautee again for few min and cook with lid ON until bottle gourd is half cooked.
  4. Then add carrot, Indian beans, corn and let it fry for 1 min. Allow it to cook until bottle gourd is done.
  5. Put tomato wedges, sambhar powder, salt, asafoetida and fry for 1/2 min.
  6. Add the pressure cooked dal with water, turmeric, and tomato pickle (I used Mom made tomato pickle. U can use any brand; If you dont have, u can substitute with tamarind and chilli powder) to the above vegetables and allow it to boil for 10-15 min with lid ON (again with lid ON to fasten the process and also to condense all the flavours) under medium flame untill the oil starts to seperate.
  7. This is the time to add coconut and garnish with corriander.

Thats it! Your HOT HOT MOUTH WATERING SAMBAR is ready to serve with idli/dosa/white rice :-)

Sambar is usually served with steamed rice. Sambar with rice is one of the main courses of both formal and everyday south Indian cuisine. In south India, vada sambar and idli sambar are popular for breakfast or lunch, and sambar is often served as a side dish at dinner.

Sambar is also served for breakfast across much of urban north India, commonly with Idly, vada or dosa, along with two chutneys: a cool Coconut chutney and a mildly spicy red tomato chutney.