This is the sambar recipe learnt from my mom and slightly
modified according to the ingredients available in US. This is very
popular at my home. Try and enjoy!
Toor dal – 1cup
Tamarind – ½ lemon size or ½ golf ball size (or
less according to your taste)
3, 4 green chiles
Few curry leaves
1 large onion
½ inch ginger (optional)
Egg plant, okra, drumsticks, green gourd (lauki) or frozen mixed
1 large tomato
Vegetable (or olive) oil
Red chili powder
For tadka (seasoning): 1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds, 1/4 teaspoon
cumin, 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds, pinch of asoefotida (also known as
hing – optional)
Pressure cook 1 cup of toor dal with 1 and ½ cups of water. When
the dal is cooked, mash the dal to a smooth paste and set aside. Add
water if necessary while mashing it so its not too sticky.
In a microwavable bowl, take tamarind and add 1 cup of water and
microwave for 1 minute. When the mix cools, squeeze the tamarind, save
the pulp and set aside. Discard the tamarind wastes. Or you can
substitute this step with 1 or 2 tea spoons (according to your taste)
of ready made tamarind mix.
Cut the following vegetables into pieces of your desired size but not
too small as they tend to get mushy – egg plant, okra, gourd
(lauki), drum sticks making about 1 to 2 cups of cut vegetables. If you
do not have these vegetables, you can substitute with about 1 cup of
frozen mixed vegetables.
Cut the tomato into very small pieces.
Slit the green chillis length wise. Chop the onions length wise and
about ½ inch wide (I like large pieces of onions in sambar).
Grate the ginger (ginger is optional)
Heat a 4 quart sauce pan; add 2 teaspoons of oil. When the oil is
slightly hot, add black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds,
asoefotida (some people like garlic instead of hing) and curry leaves.
When the mustard seeds start spluttering, add the onion pieces and
green chili pieces and ginger. Sauté them for a few minutes.
When the onions start getting translucent, add the vegetable pieces and
tomato pieces and sauté for a couple of minutes, add 1 cup of
water and let the vegetables cook for few minutes. When the vegetables
start getting softer, add the mashed toor dal, tamarind paste, salt, a
pinch of red chili powder, 2 pinches of turmeric powder, 1 or 2 tea
spoons of sambar powder and add 4, 5 cups of water and bring the
contents of the pot to a boil while stirring once in a while. Adjust
the tastes accordingly. Adjust the dilution of sambar according to your
liking by adding more water. Let the sambar boil until you see the
froth. At the time of serving, garnish with fresh cut cilantro. Enjoy
the aromatic and tasty sambar with white rice, upma, idli, dosa or