This tangy and savoury dish dates it’s origin to the 17th century, it was accidentally prepared in the kingdom of Maratha ruler Sambhaji. He tried to prepare dal in the absence of his chef and added tamarind for a tangy taste. The dish later came to be known as sambar. Sambar originated in Karnataka and is a very popular dish in South India and Sri Lanka.
Sambar is a lentil-based vegetable made in dal (lentils) and tamarind broth. One can use a variety of vegetables such as okra, eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, drumstick, carrots and pumpkin to prepare sambar. This protein-rich and nutrient-dense diet is traditionally served with Idli, Vada, Dosa, Uttapam, Appam and even rice. It can also be combined with bread, roti, naan, quinoa or brown rice.
Let’s learn to make this delectable stew which has gained popularity all over India, thanks to its tangy and spicy flavour.
• Lentils, Toor dal (split pigeon peas)- 1 cup
• Tamarind piece- 1 tablespoon
• Fresh curry leaves- 10 to 12 leaves
• Black Mustard seeds- 3/4 teaspoons
• Hing- ¼ teaspoons
• Sambar powder- 2 tablespoons (according to your taste)
• Okra- 3 to 4 okra chopped
• Eggplant- ½ cup chopped eggplant
• Carrots- 1 medium carrot diced
• Pumpkin- ½ cup chopped pumpkin
• Beans- 5 to 6 beans chopped
• Potato- 1 small potato diced
• Tomato- 1 medium tomato chopped
• Onions- 1 small onion chopped
• Drumsticks ( fresh or frozen)- 7 to 8
• Cilantro- ½ cup chopped
• Oil- 2 teaspoons
• Ghee- 1 tablespoon
• Salt- 1 ½ teaspoon (according to your taste)
• Turmeric powder- ½ teaspoon
Method of preparation
1. Pressure cook the rinsed Toor dal with ½ teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt and 3 cups of water. After 5 whistles on a medium-high flame, cook the dal on medium-low flame for another 5-6 minutes.
2. Once the pressure releases on it’s own, open the cooker and mash the cooked dal lightly.
3. Soak 1 tablespoon tamarind in 1/3 cups of water for 15-20 minutes. Strain the liquid using a strainer. You get 3-4 tablespoons of tamarind juice.
4. Chop all the vegetables.
5. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan, on medium heat. Add all the chopped vegetables and cook till tender. Do not overcook the vegetables. Add around three cups of water and stir.
6. Now add 2 tablespoons of sambar powder. Adjust the quantity as per your taste.
7. Add the strained tamarind juice.
8. Add the cooked dal and stir everything together on medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes.
9. For tempering, heat ghee in a small pan. Add mustard seeds, curry leaves and hing. Stir for a few seconds till the curry leaves are crisp.
10. Pour this tempering over sambar while it is still simmering on medium flame. Cook for 30 seconds.
11. Add chopped cilantro as garnishing.
12. A piping hot sambar is ready to be served.
Points to Remember
• You can even use a mixture of Toor and Moong dal to make sambar.
• Add jaggery powder (2-3 teaspoons) for a sweet-salty taste. You can add jaggery powder just after adding sambar powder to the cooked vegetables (point no.6).
• Add 1/2 teaspoon of Kashmiri red chilli powder if you are a spice-junkie. Kashmiri red chilli powder can be added to the cooked dal and vegetables (point no.8).
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