Sambar is one of the most popular stews of lentils and vegetables originating from South India. Sambar recipe holds a special place in South Indian and Sri Lankan dishes. The word ‘Sambar’ emanates from the Tamil word “Champaaram,” which means spicy condiments.
In addition, Sambar has an authentic and spicy taste, as its core ingredients are pigeon pea lentil, tamarind extract, and sambar powder. So, before moving towards the Sambar recipe, we shall first see how to prepare homemade, aromatic, and flavourful sambar powder.
You can serve Sambar with plain rice, crispy Vada, spongy and soft Idli, Ven Pongal, and plain dosa. This classic sambar is a staple of South Indian states. Moreover, it is nutrient-dense, as pigeon pea is a rich source of protein, and veggies used in it provide vitamins and minerals to the body.
Sambar powder is the key ingredient to make a perfect and luscious South-Indian style sambar. You can readily get Samar powder in the market, but using a fresh and aromatic one always yields refreshing results. Sambar powder includes not only spices but also a variety of lentils.
So, before moving towards the Sambar recipe, we shall first see how to prepare homemade, aromatic, and flavourful sambar powder.
How to make Sambar Powder for Sambhar Recipe?
Below are the ingredients required for the preparation of sambar.
- Black gram – 1 and ½ teaspoons
- Bengal gram – 1 and ½ teaspoons
- Pigeon peas -1 teaspoon
- Dried red chillies – 8 to 12
- Methi seeds – ¾ teaspoon
- Coriander seeds – ¾ teaspoon
- Cumin – 2 teaspoons
- Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
- Turmeric – ¼ teaspoon
- Asafoetida – ⅛ teaspoon
- Take a pan, add Black gram, Bengal gram, Pigeon peas, and dried red chillies to it. Dry roast all lentils and red chillies on a medium flame. If you want your sambar powder to have a deep red colour and a strong, hot flavour, you can add more red chillies.
- Later, add methi seeds and coriander seeds. Again, dry roast them until methi seeds turn dark and coriander seeds get crunchy.
- When methi seeds get roasted, they leave an aroma. once that happens, add curry leaves and roast them until they turn moderately dark in colour.
- Finally, it’s time for cumin seeds to go into the pan. Roast them until they leave an aroma and become crunchy. Turn off the stove.
- Now add asafoetida and turmeric powder to the roasted mixture. Once the mixture cools entirely, blend it into a fine powder.
Fresh and piquant sambar masala is ready for the sambar recipe. You can store it in an air-tight container and use it whenever required.
How to Make South-Indian Style Sambar Recipe?
Let us first look at the required ingredients for the sambar recipe.
- Pigeon peas or Toor dal – ¾ cup
- Water to cook dal – 2 cups
- Jaggery – 1 tablespoon
- Tamarind – 1 to 2 tablespoons
- Sambar masala – 2 tablespoons
- Red chilli powder – ¾ teaspoon
- Turmeric powder – 1/1 teaspoon
- Salt as required
- Coriander leaves – ¾ cup
The South-India style sambhar comprises a variety of vegetables, including:
- Chopped onion – 150 grams or 12 to 15 shallots
- Diced tomato – 100 grams
- Chopped carrot – 1 medium-sized (optional)
- Drumstick – 100 grams or 1 to 2 sticks
- Okra or bhindi – 2 to 3 (optional)
- Red pumpkin – 2 diced pieces (optional)
- Eggplant – diced quarterly (optional)
- Chilli slit – 1 (optional)
- Take a pressure cooker, add Toor dal and water to it. Allow the dal to pressure cook for two to four whistles. Alternatively, you can also use a mix of ½ cup moong dal and ½ cup Toor dal instead of Toor dal alone.
- After the dal is cooked well, allow the cooker to let out all the pressure. Open the lid, take out the cooked dal, and mash it with a masher or a spoon. Make sure that dal is soft and cooked well.
- Take a pot, add one teaspoon of oil to it. Later, add diced onions and fry them for around two minutes. Next, add all veggies from the above-mentioned ingredient list. However, you may skip optional ingredients if you don’t like them. But using all will enhance the sambar’s taste.
- Later, add four to five cups of water to the pot and stir well. Allow the water to turn hot. Take two to three spoons of hot water out of the pot. Take tamarind and jaggery and soak them in that water.
- After all the veggies get cooked well, add freshly prepared sambar powder, turmeric powder, and salt as required. Mix all well and cook them for an extra three to five minutes.
- Now take the tamarind and jaggery water and remove the tamarind by squeezing it. Filter this extract using a sieve.
- Next, add tamarind-jaggery extract to the veggies’ pot. You can pour tamarind and jaggery extract gradually according to the taste you require.
- Take soft and mashed dal and add it to the pot. Mix all well and taste it to check whether it requires additional salt or tamarind-jaggery pulp. Moreover, you can maintain the consistency of the sambar according to your desire – either thick or runny.
- Allow the sambar to boil, and finally, add chopped coriander leaves on the top.
Now, it’s time for preparing the tempering for our sambar recipe. Below are the essential ingredients:
- Ghee or oil – 1 teaspoon
- Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
- Cumin seeds – ½ teaspoon
- Methi seeds – ⅛ teaspoon
- Dry red chillies – two to three
- Asafoetida – ⅛ teaspoon
- Curry leaves – 1 sprig
- Add oil or ghee to a pan and heat it for a minute.
- Later, add mustard seeds, methi seeds, cumin seeds, and dried red chillies.
- As soon as cumin and mustard seeds crackle, add curry leaves and saute them to turn crispy.
- Finally, add asafoetida and mix it well.
Pour this tempering on the sambar and cook it for two to three minutes. However, you can avoid cooking sambar after pouring tempering. Serve this sambar with plain rice.
Healthy and delectable, Sambhar is straightforward to prepare at home. It is purely cooked with a protein-rich lentil, pigeon pea, and healthy vegetables. Moreover, the ingredients are readily available. You should try this sambar recipe at least once and enjoy the South-Indian style sambar at home.
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