Sambar/Dal Stew

Sambar is one of the most loved dishes in Southern part of India. This dish accompanies almost all the meals in South India. Can be served with breakfasts like idli dosa and can be served with steamed rice as well.

Sambar is typically cooked with dal, lots of vegetables, tangy tamarind and spices. Tastes even better if you use ghee for tadka or popu.

You know what gives this sambar the best taste ...home made sambar powder. Below I am linking my version of sambar powder along with the sambar recipe :)....

Hot sambar with ghee rice and side of papads are to die for...Yummmm....My mouth is watering right now..Got to go guys...Enjoy!!!

2 cups toor dal(uncooked)
1 big lemon sized tamarind or 2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp sambar powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
Salt for taste
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder(Optional)
1 tsp sugar
5 to 6 cups of assortment of vegetables. Make sure to have some onions.
Here is the list of what I used:
1 medium sized onion sliced thinly length wise
10 to 15 small pearl onions or shallots whole

1/4 cup bottle gourd chopped to medium sized pieces (sorakaya)
1 Drumstick cut into 2 inch pieces(mulakkada)
1 small bunch of coriander leaves chopped
10 to 15 Okra/Lady fingers cut to medium size pieces(Bendakaya)
3 green chillies slit length wise
1 small piece ginger chopped to small pieces
3 to 4 garlic pods chopped to small pieces
1 big carrot peeled and cut into thin rounds
1/2 cup chopped cabbage
3 big tomatoes chopped to medium size pieces
1 cup cucumber chopped to medium pieces(Dosakaya)
For Tempering
3 or 4 dried red chillies
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
1 tsp chana dal
1 tsp urad dal
3 cloves garlic crushed
couple of pinches of hing(Inguva)
1 clove of garlic chopped real fine
1/2 tsp turmeric
4 or 5 curry leaves
3 to 4 tbsp ghee or butter  
For Toor Dal
In a pressure cooker pan take 1 cup of toor dal(Kandipappu) and 2 cups of water. Cook till 4 to 5 whistles. Once the pressure is off open the lid, add salt and mash the dal to a fine paste adding little water. Set aside.
For Sambar
 If using Tamarind
  In a microwave safe bowl add tamarind and 1 cup of water and heat in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds. Take it out let it cool for a minute then squeeze the tamarind really hard. Do that couple of times to extract all the juice. Save the tamarind water( add extra water to make it 4 to 5 cups of liquid) and discard the pulp.
If using Tamarind Paste
Mix the paste in 4 to 5 cups of water and keep aside
In a pressure cooker add the vegetables, tamarind water, salt, nutmeg powder, sambar powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder. Close the lid and cook till 3 whistles.
Set the pressure cooker aside till all the pressure is gone. Once the pressure is gone take off the lid and place on the stove on medium flame and bring it to a boil.
Add in the sugar and let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the toor dal paste, give it a good stir to incorporate the toor dal.
Cook for 10 minutes till the liquid thickens a bit. Add in the lemon juice, check and adjust the seasoning and turn off the heat.
Heat ghee in another pan. Add the red chillies and fry till they turn light brown. Add in the mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, cumin seeds, garlic and let them splutter. Add in the hing and turmeric. Add the curry leaves and let them splutter.
Serve with rice and papads or idli or dosa.
Add as much or as less water for the sambar to be of desired consistency. If you want it a lot thicker start of with 3 cups of water and add more later if required.


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