Sambhar – a lentil curry – is so fundamental to south India, it is almost a staple like rice. So of course there is a recipe and then there are recipes of that recipe in each home, and each one tastes just that tiny bit different.
(I have 4 sambhar recipes from my mother and when she gives it to me the next time, it will be different again). So when David brought us a dish of steaming sambhar, we tucked in and were wowed.
Here’s the secret, and Lily, thank you for the generous sharing.
- 250gm toovar dhal, washed and drained
- 10 cloves garlic
- 5 dry red chilies cut into pieces
- 1 big onion chopped
- 10 shallots sliced (small onions)
- 2 tomatoes quartered
- 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
- Asafoetida (hing) (the LG brand) – break into small pieces, fry 4 pieces in oil till crisp, cool and powder (or use the powdered variety, as I did)
- 2 tbsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1/2 tbsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
- 2 tbsp chili powder or less
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
- Salt to taste
- Coriander leaves, chopped
- Curry leaves
- 50gm tamarind mixed with 100ml water, soaked and strained to collect the tamarind water
- 3 or 4 drumsticks cut into 3cm lengths
- 4 Aubergines (brinjals) cut into big wedges
- 4 tbsp oil
- In a pot, add dhal, garlic, fenugreek, chopped big onion, tomato, 1tbsp oil, 6 cups of water and boil till the dhal is soft. (Could pressure cook). Keep aside.
- Heat oil in a wok and sputter mustard, cumin and dry chili. Then add the curry leaf, small onions and 1 tomato and fry on a medium heat till onions turn light brown.
- Add turmeric powder, chili powder, water, drumsticks and salt . When the drumsticks are half cooked (which is pretty soon), add the brinjal. When both vegetables are cooked, add tamarind juice. Continue to boil for 2 minutes and then add the cooked dhal, powdered asofoetida and cook another 5 min.
- Can add more asofoetida , tamarind and salt to suit your taste.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves
Enjoy – as south Indians do – with a variety of dishes – cooked rice, idlis, dosas, vadas, pongal …
Pix borrowed off the net, as always, with thanks.