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Sambar (Soup)

Categories: SoupsVegetarianWorld Cuisine (Indian)
Contributed by: D. Singh with explanation by pcpooh to follow

Sambar recipe - in South India you can make sambar with just one vegetable such as drumstick or whole okra (our favorites). We love the drumsticks. Cook the toor daal in the pressure cooker separately.

In a separate wok-like container, put 3-4 tablespoons of oil, and sprinkle asafoetida, mustard, 2-3 red chillies and curry leaves and let sputter. Add 1 packet frozen drumsticks and saute for 5-10 mins on a low flame. Then add sambar powder - about 2 teaspoons stirred in 1/2 cup of water (1 like MTR and Shakti among the store bought brands but normally use home-made sambar powder sent by my mom from Madras). Add about 2 teaspoons of tamarind concentrate (I use Laxmi brand) and 6 cups of water and let the drumsticks cook for 20-30 minutes on a low flame. When the volume reduces to half, add toor dal after mashing it up and add water if needed to adjust the consistency of the sambar.

For special occasions, right before serving take 1 tablesppon of ghee and sputter some mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves and float on top of the sambar. It smells divine.


Explains pcpooh...
Khichidi is a rice dish eaten all over India - its something typically done when you don't want an elaborate meal, good on cold rainy days to warm you up.

Drumstick is also called moringa - in telugu it is called mulankada and in tamil murungakka. We eat the leaves (generally cooked with lots of spices and moong/toor/chana daal), flowers, fruit. It is called Drumstick because it looks like the stick you use for drumming.

Here's a picture on wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Oleifera_Fruits.jpg
Adding to this explanation: I just wanted to add this on the drumstick topic. As Paddy said, it's a veg that looks like long (like 12-16" inches) green drumsticks. They are usually cut into 2 - 3 " lengths and can be found in South Asian grocery stores (i.e., whole), or, if nothing else, in the freezer case (cut into the shorter lengths). The outer part is very fibrous and not eaten. To eat it, you take the drumstick into your mouth, bite down and scrape the softer inside part (seeds, etc.) into your mouth with your teeth while you pull out the fibrous outer part. That part is disgarded. At least that is how our family eats it. It has a fairly mild taste, but it's hard to describe... HTH