I have already given the recipe for Sambar Masala Powder in an earlier post. Now it’s time to prepare the sambar.

South Indians need sambar as an accompaniment with a wide variety of dishes. Most are breakfast dishes like Idli, Dosa, Medu Wadai etc. It is also an important part of a meal. The taste of hot steaming rice with the fragrant sambar poured on top is an experience that cannot be put into words.

For some reason Sambar like Ma Ki Dal tastes better when a day old.

Ingredients :

Red Gram Dal (Tur Dal) : 1 cup

Fresh Green Chillies (slit) : 2 nos.

Tamarind : 1 Tbsp.

Turmeric Powder (Haldi) : 1/2 Tsp.

Red Chilli Powder : 2 Tsp.

Sambar Masala Powder : 2 Tbsp.

Vegetables :

Potatoes : 2 medium sized

Onions : 4 small, peeled and kept whole

Brinjals : 2 medium sized

Drumsticks : 2 nos. cut into 2″ pieces

Red or White Pumpkin : 150 gms.

Cauliflower : 100 gms.

Fresh Coriander : 2 Tbsp.

For Tadka :

Oil : As Required

Mustard Seeds : 2 tsp.

Asafoetida (Hing) : a pinch

Curry Leaves : 8 – 10 nos.

Method :

Wash the dal and then add the slit green chillies to it and cook till done.

Cut the brinjals, potatoes, cauliflower and pumpkin into 1″ pieces. Then parboil the vegetables and drumsticks in salted water. Take care, so the vegetables are not completely cooked as we have to simmer them in the sambar.

Soak the tamarind in warm water for 15 minutes and then strain it to remove any fibers and pits.

Now in a pot, take the dal and add the tamarind pulp to it. Make a paste of the turmeric, red chilli and sambar powders and add to the dal. Keep the pot on simmer and add the vegetables. Now simmer the mixture for about 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning.

Tadka : In a tadka pan, add oil and heat it. When the oil is hot, add the asafoetida and mustart seeds and let them crackle. Then add the curry leaves and pour this tadka over the dal. Mix well and remove from heat.

P.S. : Adding a few drops of oil to the dal helps to cook it quickly.

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Sambar Masala Ingredients Photo by Alaivani @ flickr

Sambar Masala Ingredients Photo by Alaivani @ flickr

No South Indian feast is complete without the Sambar. The Sambar, according to Wikipedia, is a lentil and vegetable stew or a chowder based on a broth made from Tamarind and Toovar Dal.

The Mumbaiites are believed to have been introduced to the Udupi cuisine in the early 1930’s with the opening of Cafe Mysore in Matunga, a suburb of Mumbai.The owners are from proper Udupi, as opposed to most other ‘Udupi’ restaurants, which are run by Shettys from or around Mangalore.

The difference in the Sambar from these Shetty-run restaurants is that the sambar has been modified to suit the taste buds of their local clientele. They have created a sort of sweet vegetable dal that is suitable for their local clientele. As a result, it has lost its authentic flavor. The Sambar that you get in Udupi is a lot more pungent, aromatic and flavorful.

In my house, sambar is made in a large quantity so as to last atleast 2 days. The first day is spent eating it with idli, dosa etc. The next day the taste of the sambar develops (matures) and all the subtle flavours come to the fore and vie for you attention. This makes it the perfect accompaniment to a plate of steaming white rice.

This is going to be a two part series as first I will put up the Sambar masala and then explain how to make the sambar.

So here goes –

Sambar Masala

Ingredients :

Coriander Seeds : 250 Gm.

Dried Red Chillies (Sankeshwari + Bedgi = 50:50) : 250 Gm.

Turmeric Powder : 25 Gm.

Asafoetida (Hing) : 15 Gm.

Cumin Seeds : 75 Gm.

Black Peppercorns : 50 Gm.

Mustard Seeds : 50 Gm.

Split Black Gram / Black Lentil (Urad Dal) : 100 Gm.

Split Bengal Gram (Chana Dal) : 100 Gm.

Raw Rice : 50 Gm.

Fenugreek Seeds (Methi) : 20 Gm.

Curry Leaves : one bunch

Method :

Dry roast the ingredients individually and then powder them. Keep the masala in an airtight jar and use as required.