This Sambar recipe is one of the most loved dishes in South Indian
cuisine. It accompanies most every meal. In South India, there are
variations to this sambar recipe, but this is the one I use.
lime sized ball Tamarind
1 cup Toor Dal (or red lentils)
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
2 teaspoons oil
Salt to taste
5 small dry red chilies (or to taste)
8 Curry Leaves (see note)
1 medium onion (shallots are preferable)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida (optional)
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 large tomato
2 tablespoons sambar powder (see note)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves (also known as coriander leaves)
1 cup of a vegetable of your choice like green beans, chopped carrot
Soak the tamarind in 1 cup water for 20 minutes. Squeeze it out, adding
water little by little to prepare 1 cup of juice.
a heavy cooking pot. Wash and clean the dal. Boil 2 cups of water and
add the dal, turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon of oil. As the dal boils,
skim off the foam and discard. Boil until the dal is soft and then mash
it coarsely. If needed, add more water as it is boiling but do not let
it get too watery. If you use a pressure cooker it will take about 5
a separate pan, heat to medium and pour in the remaining oil. Once the
oil is hot, add the chilies, mustard seeds, fenugreek and curry leaves
and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the onion and brown lightly.
the tamarind extract and let boil lightly until the onions are cooked.
Add this mixture to the dal with asafoetida, tomato, vegetable of
choice and sambar powder. Allow this to boil for 5 to 10 minutes and
remove from the heat. Garnish with cilantro.
Note on Ingredients:
leaves are found in tropical climates. They add a wonderful piquancy to
the Sambar recipe. I you do not have curry leaves do not substitute
something else. They can be found in specialty shops that have Indian
quality Sambar powders can be bought pre-mixed at the store. If you do
not have that available you can make it yourself by adding the
cups coriander seeds
1/2 cups red chilies (or to taste
1/8 cup Bengal gram
1 Tbsp. cumin seeds
1 Tbsp. pepper corn
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 pinch of cinnamon
1 pinch ground clove
1/2 tsp. Turmeric powder
these ingredients would be broiled separately and ground and stored.
Use pre-ground if you desire.
one of the unique ingredients found in South India. It gives a sour
taste to the sambar recipe and it can be found in different forms. The
most common way to find it is in packages where the tamarind seeds are
compacted together. To use it in a dish like this sambar recipe, take a
piece off and soak it in water. The size of the piece will be indicated
in the recipe. After it has soaked for 2 hours squeeze it between your
fingers to extract the juice and discard the pith and seeds. Tamarind
can be found in specialty stores in your area or shop
online for ingredients for this sambar recipe.