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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sambar


I love south indian food. I visited Trivendrum in India  somewhere in 2006  for  medical purpose and during my 3 day stay I didnt get to eat out but ate at my cousin 's home. So much for my hope of trying local Indian food!!. So if you are wondering where I fell in love with Dosa's and Idli's well, it was back in 1996 when I was staying in Malaysia as a student and had Thosai ( aka Dosa) and sambar for breakfast at a Mamak stall near  where I lived.  I dont usually make dosa from scratch  but I love making dosa. Sambar spice mix is available easily in local supermarkets so  it gave it  really authentic taste.  If you cant find sambar spice powder, make your own by following the recipe here.

Recipe: Sambar adapted from Homestyle Indian Cooking by Devagi Sanmugam

1/2 cup red lentils
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium sized tomato, chopped
6-8 curry leaves
1 cup  chopped vegetables ( a mix of beans, aubergine, potato and carrots)
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 1/2 to 2 tsp sambar spice mix
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp tamarind pulp
2 -2 1/2 cups water
 1 small bunch coriander leaves, chopped finely ( optional)
packed coconut milk ( about 1/3 cup)

For frying : 2 tbsp ghee
              2-3 dried red chilli
              5 curry leaves
              1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1. Wash your lentils, and then add water  about 2 cups, with a tiny bit of salt and tumeric. Bring to a bowl and skim the top to remove any scum that forms on top.

2. Once it starts to soften add vegetables , all the ground spices,  onion , curry leaves and cook over a medium heat.

3. While that is happening, put the tamarind pulp in bowl and  add about 1/2 cup hot water. Set a side and then strain after 10 minutes and squeeze out the flesh from the seeds.

4. Add the tamarind juice into the dhal mix. Give a stir from time to time and add more water to if you feel its too thick. I like it slightly thick so its easy to scoop out some dhal while eating it with dosa or idlis.

5. Once the  vegetables are cooked through and soft, taste and adjust seasoning. If you feel it needs more spice add alittle.  Once you are happy with the taste stir in coconut milk. Cook on a low heat for  1 minute and switch off.

6. Make your fried garnish for the curry by heating a small frying pan or wok , add ghee and mustard seeds, curry leaves  and chillies. Take it off the heat once they seeds start to crackle and pop . Pour it on top of the  sambar  and serve. This is purely optional for me, sometimes when I am in a hurry I usually dont put this garnish but  this really brings out a lovely taste when added.  Serve with Dosa or Idli

 I know my method maybe a bit strange to my Indian bloggers but  hopefully I have done justice to the real sambar.

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