Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sambhar (Spicy south Indian lentil stew)

Sambhar is a popular South Indian and Sri Lankan dish liked by North Indians the same. Sambhar is a vegetable stew or chowder based on a broth made with tamarind and toovar dahl.
South Indian food, people, and culture are inexorably linked to a ubiquitous dish as in idli (rice cakes) and sambhar, sambhar and rice and so on. Each state in the South prepares it with a typical variation, adapted to its taste and environment.
Sambhar is my all time favorite. A lot of things changed but my liking for sambhar never did. Sambhar was the first few things I learned to cook.

No preparation required. Serves 4-6. But I can finish this all by my self :P


1. 7 fists arhar/toor dahl
2. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
3. 2 teaspoons salt.
4. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
5. 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
6. 1 small onion, chopped
7. 1 small tomato, chopped
8. 1/2 zucchini or bottle gourd cut in inced sized squares. You can also add okra, eggplant, drum sticks if you want.
9. 3 teaspoon sambhar masala. I used MDH.
10. 2 tablespoons olive oil
11. 1 heaping teaspoon mustard seeds. I like to add fenugreek seeds and asafoetida as well but my mom butted in and didn't let me this time. ;-)
12. 4-5 fresh curry leaves
13. 1 dried red chili
14. Tamarind pulp (imli ka saar)
15. 1 green pepper, chopped into inched sized squares.


For the dahl
1. Soak arhar dahl in water for about 15 mins. Wash and then put it in a pressure cooker.
2. Add turmeric powder and salt.
3. Add water water to this - about a finger's depth of water from the dahl to the surface.
4. Cover the lid of the pressure cooker and let 2 whistles to blow.

For the masala
1. Heat olive oil in a pan and when hot, add mustard seeds.
2. When the seeds splutter, add curry leaves and red chili.
3. Add onions and fry until they turn golden brown.
4. Add ginger and garlic and fry for a few minutes. Then add tomato.
5. When the tomato is al dente, add green pepper, zucchini, and sambhar powder.
6. Add tamarind pulp.
7. Cover and cook until all vegetables are al dente.

When the pressure cooker's lid opens, add the masala and boil with an open lid for about 5-10 minutes.

Server hot with steamed white rice and roasted potatoes for lunch. Alternatively, you can have this with idli (rice cakes) or dosa (Indian crepe) which I will show you how to make in another post.


Madhu's cooking gallery said...

Yuumy sambhar! all time comfort food.. looks delicious!

Nazarina A said...

I am so intrigued by this dish, it has that mysticism and beauty only Indian cuisine has to offer! Bottle gourd is also ringing in my mind!
I tried to come here earlier from my list but somehow it did not let me ha! ha!
Anyway, I go to this restaurant over here called "Masalas" with a friend of mine who happens to only eat vegetarian and is also gluten free. We love the idlis so much and the dosai. I attempted the dosai but it was not great so I have to try again.

Priya Sriram said...

Hi dear... thanks for stopping by my blog... You have a wonderful space with interesting recipes... Sure will keep in touch! :)

Priyanka Agrawal said...

Thanks, Madhu. Nice to hear from you.

Nazarina, thanks for the kind words. What didn't let you visit my blog? I'll kill it! :)
I'll keep looking for your post on idli's then? I am going to be posting dosai sometime soon myself.
Will be interesting to see your version.

Aww, thanks Priya for getting back so quickly. We are closely located. I liked your space a lot too. Love your photography skills. You don't do classes, do you, by any chance?

Saritha said...

Lol yesterday i made sambar at home.Ur sambar looks delicious.

Finla said...

I love love this sambar, lookis like i have missed quiet a bit of you post.

Unknown said...

Very yummy looking sambar..Sambar always rocks!!

Ashwini said...

Thanks for stopping by..You have a nice collection od recipes.. Love this sambar..Most comforting food.

Unknown said...

Perfect sambar, looks yum !

Meenal Mehta said...

awesome looking sambhar:)iam sure it tasted even better..can you parcel me some , i have been sick here and craving some sambhar:)

Priyanka Agrawal said...

Thanks, Varunavi.

Happy cook, I am glad to see you back :)

You are right, Madhu! Sambhar does rock :)

Thank you Ashwini, please do revisit and nice to see you drop by.

Thanks, Usha.

Meenal, for that you will have to come here!!!

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