September 11, 2008

Sambar post

Perhaps what I love more than Indian food is South Indian food. Masala dosa has to be an all-time favorite. Dosa is made from a rice and split black gram fermented batter, poured into a pan like a crepe, and then stuffed with masala potatoes, and served alongside a steamy tuver dhal based sambar with coriander and cumin aromas.

What makes me appreciate sambar more than anything is using your own garden grown veggies in the recipe. Sambar vegetables usually include squash, peppers, and tomatoes. I personally love okra, tomatoes, eggplant, onions (or leeks), and lots and lots of fresh and ground coriander (ground coriander seed + cilantro). Because I enjoy more of a "sour" sambar, I'll use less tomato and more tamarind paste. You could use any variety of soup/stew style veggies.

This is my mom's sambar recipe tweaked with my ocd sambar obsession. If you can't find these ingredients (I've put substitutions or links in the ingredient listing, these are just FYI), try a South Indian Vegetarian restaurant. I recommend Tower in Morrisville, NC. You can't go wrong.

Serves 4 or more.

1 C tuver dhal
2 C water
Cook in pressure cooker and set aside (you can also cook on stove top in pot; skim off foamy liquids and mash coarsely when done)

In large stockpot

1 T oil
1/2 t channa dhal
1/2 t urad dhal
1 1/2 t cumin seeds
1/2 c onions, chopped
1/4 t hing or asafoetida powder (or use garlic powder)
8-10 mitta limbda leaves (or use bay leaves)

1 1/2 c mixed sambar vegetables (shallots, carrots, okra, eggplant, tomatoes)
1 t turmeric
2 T sambar powder
1 T cumin, ground
1 T coriander, ground
1/2 cup tomato sauce or 2 tomatoes, chopped
1-2 cups water
1 t salt
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

  1. Heat oil in large stockpot over medium heat.
  2. Add channa, urad, cumin, hing and mitta limbda leaves. Cook 3 minutes.
  3. Next add shallots if using and onions.
  4. Stir in sambar vegetables.
  5. Next add tuver, extra water and bring to a boil. Add salt and turmeric. Bring to a boil cook 5-6 more minutes
  6. Add sambar powder, tamarind and tomato sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary
  7. Garnish with chopped cilantro

t = teaspoon
T= = tablespoon

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