I am not actually a Sambar person, but my wife Sunu loves it, particularly the Adigas Sambar that we get in Karnataka and enjoy at the Adiga outlets where food is eaten on counters or round raised tables. Of course, we stand while enjoying the food.
I used to walk in the mornings to one of the two outlets near our Bangalore home to buy idlies and dosas. And a container was taken to buy some extra of the fiery red hot Sambar.
All of a sudden, they stopped giving extra Sambar. That’s why I thought about making this essential delicacy for my wife.
First task was to get a recipe and I chanced upon one on the net, the right recipe from Asha Shivakumar a US based food specialist and founder of ‘Food Fashion Party’. Here it’s adopted from her’s.
And I made it! Sunu loved it, said its authentic. She also said that the Sambar issue is solved. And I know I will have to make it again and again. But it’s a small reward for all the wonderful cooking she has been doing for me.
We gave some to the neighbors. They too were gung-ho on it. They said it smelt Adiga too. That’s when I bend down to smell my product. And yes, I felt I was in one of the Adiga outlets. Actually I felt like a Michelin Star Chef.
Ingredients and Method (very slightly modified from original for sake of explanation as to how I made it)
• ½ cup toor daal, washed and soaked in water
• 5 small onion or sambhar onion or shallots.
• 1/2 tsp turmeric
• 1/2 tsp asafoetida
• 2 tsp coriander seeds
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 10 guntur chillies or kashmiri chilies(if you don’t have this, just add more of the spicy red chilies)
• 5 spicy red chillies
• ⅓ cup fresh grated coconut
• 3 tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 tsp mustard seeds
• ½ tsp cumin seeds
• 15 curry leaves, pinched to release the flavor
• 1 onion finely chopped
• 3 juicy tomatoes, chopped
• 1 greeen bell pepper (optional, but it enhances the flavor)
• 1 drumstick ( optional) skinned and opened into 1 1/2 inches sticks.
• 1 tsp sambhar podi(any sambhar masala)
• 1-2 tsp salt or adjust accordingly
• 2 tbsp red chili powder(spicy kind, red kind)
• 1 tsp coriander powder
• 3 tbsp Tamarind Jaggery paste – (1/2 cup of tamarind juice Plus ¼ cup jaggery, boiled and reduced) or you can use 4 tbsp watery tamarind with 2 tbsp jaggery.
In a pressure cooker or instant pot or slow cooker add the washed toor daal, small onion, half of turmeric, asafoetida with enough or little more water. Cook it for 3 whistles (I suggest 6 whistles) on low heat. Switch off and let cool. Once it is fully cooled, mash it very well and set aside.It has to be watery.
In a small saute pan, add the coriander seeds, half tsp of cumin seeds and toast for a minute. Then add both red chillies. Fry on very low heat. Once it’s toasted, which will take about 3 minutes, add it to a blender with the grated coconut. Add one cup of water and blend it till very very smooth. It has to be a very smooth paste. Set aside.
Tamarind Jaggery Paste
This might seem like an extra step, but I think it’s important.
Use ½ cup of tamarind juice, ¼ cup of jaggery 1 tbsp chili powder and salt. Mix it and simmer and cook it for 15 minutes. Let it get thick and syrupy. Use this for use in the sambhar. Use little or more.
1 Take a large pot. Add 3 tbsp oil. Let it get hot. Add cumin and mustard seeds. Let pop, add the curry leaves. Add the onion and saute with ¼ tsp salt until it gets soft. Then add the tomatoes along with the veggies(if you are adding), add ½ tsp salt, 1 tbsp chili powder, coriander powder, sambhar powder, turmeric and saute it very well on medium heat. Let the tomatoes soften very well and the veggies cook. This will take about 5-6 minutes.
2 Add the masala paste, the tamarind-jaggery mix, about 3-4 cups of water. Let it boil and cook again on medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
3 Pour the daal little at a time. Make sure not to add too much daal. Cut back on the daal if you find the sambhar getting too light. Check the flavor, if you want more sweet, add some more tamarind jaggery paste, if you want more daal, add all the daal liquid. At this point, check for salt. The sambhar consistency should be watery, not thick or very thin like rasam.
4 After you add everything, let it boil again for 2-3 minutes, turn off the heat, cover and serve with IDLI.
The ideal way to eat idly is to immerse it in Sambar and eat with two small spoons on either hands and standing.
(This picture is from Asha’s page)
I subscribed to Asha’s YouTube channel. I recommend subscribing to her channel. Here’s the link.
She has a food blog too. Link is: https://www.foodfashionparty.com/
And there’s a cook book which I am planning to buy.