Week :2 , Day: 5
Theme: Indian States
Sambar is a lentil based stew. It is served as the first course of any South Indian meal.While learning to cook,this was one of the first dishes I learnt .Shallots and drumsticks are what I used while preparing Sambar, but over the years I see Sambar being prepared with many different vegetables.
The main souring agent to the Sambar is tamarind, though tomato, sour curd, lemon and lemon juice too can be used.
In order to make a perfect Sambar we need to balance the flavors of the souring agents, salt, chilli . Tamarind can be very sour, so we must know how tart it is in order to add the correct quantity of salt and chilly.
Here is a Sambar variety which I made for the first time and it was a real hit. This was a part of my Tamil Spread.
Podi Potta Paruppu Sambar
Recipe Source : Chandra Padmanabham
1/2 cup husked, split pigeon pea
A medium lime sized tamarind ball
2 green chillies , slit lengthwise
6-8 shallots , peeled and kept whole
1 small capsicum, cut into 1/2" squares
1 drumstick, peeled and cut into 3" pieces
1 small potato, chopped into 1/2" cubes
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2-21/2 tsp Sambar podi
Salt to taste
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1 dried red chilly, broken
1 sprig curry leaves
2 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
Wash dal and pressure cook with 1 cup of water and cook under pressure for 5 minutes.
Soak tamarind in 11/2 cups water for 10 minutes. Extract juice and discard the pulp.
Heat oil for tempering in a frying pan.
Add remaining ingredients for tempering in the order given.
Fry over moderate heat till mustard seeds splutter.
Add green chillies and shallots, fry for a minute.
Add remaining vegetables and saute for a minute.
Stir in tamarind juice, turmeric powder,Sambar podi and salt.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, till the raw aroma of the tamarind disappears and vegetables are tender.
Mix in the cooked dal and simmer uncovered for 5-7 minutes , stirring occasionally till well blended.
Garnish with coriander leaves.