December 2, 2011

Paruppu Sambar

Sambar (also called as kuzhambu) is a spicy lentil soup simmered in tamarind juice with variety of vegetables & cooked toor dal. A typical south-Indian three-course meal consists of sambar rice for the first course with some vegetable curry/kootu on the side, the second course being rasam rice with vegetable curry/kootu on the side and yogurt rice & pickle as the third course. We follow the exact same pattern in our house too on a day-to-day basis.

The taste of sambar depends mainly on the sambar powder that we use. As sambar is one of the main courses in everyday meal, I have seen my mom preparing sambar powder in large quantities especially during summer. The ingredients turmeric, red chillies, pepper, toor dal etc are sun-dried until crisp. Then, they're taken to the rice mills that have big machines for grinding these ingredients in larger quantities. The powder is then cooled off and stored in airtight containers for the year-round usage. There are also readymade sambar powder available in the market, but they don't match upto the taste of home-made sambar powder.

Small lemon sized Tamarind - Extract 1.5 cups of tamarind juice
Sambar powder - 2-3 tsp (depends on spice level that we want)
Salt - to taste
Hing - 2-3 pinches
1 cup of cubed vegetables like capsicum, eggplant, carrot, squash, potato, onion, drumstick, okra etc., Cooked & mashed Toor dal
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 3/4 tsp
In a medium saucepan, add tamarind juice along with vegetable, sambar powder, salt & hing. Let it boil until vegetables are tender and raw smell of tamarind/sambar powder is gone. 

Now, add cooked & mashed Toor dal and let it cook for few minutes. Remove from heat as soon as sambar starts to froth.

For tempering, splutter mustard seeds in little oil, then add fenugreek seeds and roast until brown. (Take care not to burn fenugreek seeds) and add it to sambar. Hot sambar is now ready to be served.

If sambar gets little watery, add a teaspoon of rice flour to mashed toor dal (make sure there are no lumps of rice flour).
- Sambar should not boil for a long time after toor dal is added. So, make sure to give enough time for sambar powder/tamarind/veggies to boil and their raw smell is completely gone.
Sambar can also be served as a side for south-Indian tiffin items.

1 comment :

  1. I can smell the sambar on this side of atlantic.