David’s mother-in-law’s Sambhar recipe – with Drumstick and Aubergine

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.

Sambhar

  • 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

Drumstick

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Can add more asofoetida , tamarind and salt to suit your taste.
  5. 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.

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