Sambar is the hallmark dish of most of the households in the Southern part of India. Different varieties of Sambar are prepared with homemade Sambar Powder. There are many different varieties of sambars. The basic variety is the South Indian Mixed Vegetable Sambar. This was made in our household on a regular basis. The smell of sambar cooking always brings back memories of my mom’s kitchen and eating piping hot sambar with idli. 🙂
Ingredients for Cooking Dal
Pigeon pea lentil (Tur Dal) – ¾ cup
Turmeric (Haldi) Powder- 1/8 tsp
Asafoetida – pinch
Brinjal (Aubergine) – 3 Nos (cut into big cubes)
Drumstick – 2 Nos (cut into 1 ½ “long pieces)
Carrot -1 no (cut into 1 ½” long pieces)
Pumpkin – 100 Gms
Onion – 1 No (optional – cut into big pieces)
Tomato – 1 No (chopped into big pieces)
Sambar Powder- 1 ½ to 2 tbsp
Tamarind Pulp – 1 tsp
Salt- to taste
Sugar – ¾ tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1/8 tsp
Red Chilly -1 (broken)
Mustard seeds (Rai) – ¾ tsp
Split Black Gram (Urad Dal) – ¾ tsp
Curry Leaf – 2 strands
Asafoetida (Hing) – ¼ tsp
Soak the Tur Dal (Lentil) in water for an hour.
Cook in the pressure cooker with little water, Asafoetida and Turmeric Powder for about 4 to 5 whistles.
Allow to cool.
Wash and cut all the vegetables into big cubes as shown in picture.
If Tamarind pulp is not readily available, take a small lemon sized piece of Tamarind, soak in water, remove the seeds and keep it ready.
Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan. Add Fenugreek seeds and stir for 30 seconds. Add Onion and stir fry till it becomes translucent. Add 3 cups of water.
When it starts boiling, add all the vegetables and chopped tomatoes.
When it starts boiling, cover with lid and cook for 3 to 4 minutes in medium flame till vegetables are half done.
Add Sambar Powder, Salt, Turmeric Powder, Sugar, Tamarind Pulp, and cooked Dal, mix well. Adjust Salt, if necessary.
Cover and cook for 5 minutes in low to medium flame until all the vegetables are cooked well.
In a small pan, heat 1 tbsp oil, add Mustard seeds, split Urad Dal, Red Chilli and curry leaves and stir for 30 seconds. Then add Asafoetida.
Pour this mixture over the Sambar and cover immediately. It enhances the taste. Take off the heat after a couple of minutes.
Serve with rice, idli, dosa, chapatti, roti, bread, Medu Vada etc.
If you do not have time to soak the dal in water, allow the dal to pressure cook for a longer time.
Ensure that the dal does not become mushy.
Other vegetables which can be used for Sambar are: Potato, Beans, Okra (Must be sautéed separately and added later). Vegetables can be added or omitted according to choice.