Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sambar for Tiffin Items

Sambar served in Hotels always taste better with Idli/Dosa than the one we make at home even though we add more dal, coconut etc than what they use in their mass production. For years I worked on finding the perfect sambar recipe laboring as much as a technician in a lab. No luck, until I met this lady who helps out with cooking when people have lunch functions.

( I think I will use the common names. In case there is a specific Tamil name for any ingredient I will mention it)

Tur dal                                       : half cup ( pressure-cooked and mashed)
(You can use masoor dal or moong dal also)
Tamarind   juice                         : from tamarind the size of a big marble
Chilli Powder                             : 1 heaped teaspoon
Jaggery  Powder                       : 1 heaped teaspoon

Dhaniya                                     : 3 tsp
Channa dal (Kadalai Paruppu)  : 1 tsp
Urad dal (Ulutham Parupu)        : 1 tsp
Methi seeds (Vendayam)           : 1/2 tsp
Raw Rice                                   : 1/2 tsp
Dried Red Chillies                      : 3 -4

Onion( Red and big)                  : 1 diced
Tomato                                      : 1 diced
Vegetable of choice                   : cut into small pieces (This is optional. sambar onion and drumstick work best. Otherwise Red onion and tomatoes are enough)

Oil                                               : 2 tblsp
Salt                                             : to taste

Curry leaves     

In a little oil roast all the ingredients from Dhaniya to dry red chillies and grind to a smooth paste.

Heat oil in a thick bottomed vessel. Add the chopped onions and saute till they turn tender. Now add the chopped tomatoes and saute till they are mashed. Add any vegetable of choice like Sambar onion, raddish, drumstick, brinjal  Mix well and saute for one minute.

Add the tamarind juice, chilli powder and jaggery powder and let the mix boil until the smell of raw tamarind evaporates.

Add the ground paste to the above mixture and bring to a boil.

Finally add the cooked, mashed tur dal and boil until the mix reaches desired consistency.If it is to be served as a side dish for Idli/ Dosa etc it is a little more watery than if it is to be served with rice.This Sambar tastes better after a  few hours of cooking. So make it a few hours before serving.

Add curry leaves.

Recipe Variation:
In stead of the ingredients above for the masala paste you can gring the following and add to the sambar:

Fried gram (Pottuk kadalai)         : 2 Tblsp
Big Tomato                                  : 1
Coconut                                       : 1 tbsp
Sambar Powder                           : 4 tsp
asafoetida                                    :  a pinch

Rest of the recipe is the same.

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