Sambharby Leena Kohli (@leenakohli)
Get ready to spice up your life with a mouth-watering bowl of sambhar! This delicious lentil and vegetable stew is a favourite in the southern part of India, and it's easy to see why. Combining toor dal, tamarind juice, and a mix of aromatic spices creates a simply irresistible flavour. Plus, with various nutritious vegetables, sambhar is a meal that's good for you, too. Serve it with steamed rice, dosa, idli, or uttapam for the perfect balance of flavors.
Boiling of Dal
- 1cupArhar/Toor Dal
- 5cupWater (divided)
- 1pinchAsafoetida (Hing)
Tempering and Cooking of Vegetables
- 3Dry Red Chilli
- 12Curry Leaves
- 1tspBlack Mustard Seeds
- 1Onion (medium-sized)
- 1Tomato (medium-sized)
- 1Drumsticks (Moringa Stick)
- 150gEggplant (Baingan)
- 1Green Chilli
- 2tbspSambhar Powder
- 1tbspDesiccated Coconut (optional)
- 1tspRed Chilli Powder
- 1tspKashmiri Red Chilli Powder
- 3tbspTamarind Pulp
Soak tamarind in hot water for 15-20 minutes.
Squeeze the soaked tamarind with your fingers in the bowl. Strain it through a sieve and keep the pulp aside to use it later.
Slice the onions and keep them aside.
Dice the tomatoes, chop the chilli and keep them aside.
Scrape and chop the drumsticks in 2-3 inches sticks and keep them aside.
Peel and cut the eggplant into small pieces and keep them aside.
For Boiling Dal
Rinse dal in water 2-3 times and add it to a pressure cooker. Add water (3 cups), salt, turmeric and asafoetida.
Cover the lid and pressure cook the dal for 4-5 whistles on high heat. Turn off the flame.
Let the steam release on its own. Open the cooker's lid, stir it with a ladle, and keep it aside.
Dal can also be cooked in an Instant Pot.
Add dal, salt, turmeric, asafoetida and water to the pot and cook for 8 minutes on high pressure. Let the pressure release on its own.
For Tempering and Cooking of Vegetables
Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed wok or a pot on medium to high flame.
Add dry red chillies, curry leaves and black mustard seeds. Let them crackle.
Add sliced onions and saute for 2-3 minutes till translucent and light pink in colour.
Add the diced tomatoes and green chilli and mix. Cook for 4-5 minutes till tomatoes turn mushy.
Add drumsticks and eggplant and mix.
Now add sambhar powder, desiccated coconut (optional), red chilli powder, kashmiri red chilli powder and salt. Mix nicely and cook for another minute.
Add the tamarind pulp. Add 2-3 tbsp of water and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Now add the boiled dal and mix. Add 1-2 cups of water (as required for consistency) and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and let the dal simmer on low flame for 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally at intervals.
Check the seasoning, adjust to taste, and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Turn off the flame.
Serve hot with rice, dosa, idli or uttapam.
Tips & Tricks
I have used homemade sambhar powder for this recipe. You can use any brand of store-bought sambhar powder.
I prefer unpolished toor/arhar dal as it tastes good and is rich in fibre and has micronutrients like potassium, iron and zinc.
Always use new tamarind for cooking sambhar for better flavour and tanginess.
To make Sambhar tangier, add more tamarind pulp or a tbsp of lemon.
Tamarind can be soaked overnight in water.
To make sambhar less tangy, lessen the quantity of tamarind as per your taste.
I prefer to use fewer vegetables in cooking sambhar. You can add vegetables like bottlegourd, okra, shallots, carrots, etc.
You can add less or more water to change the consistency of the sambhar. Adding too much water lessens the flavour and the taste.
You can add 1-2 tbsp of rice flour to thicken the consistency of Sambhar.
Fresh coconut can be used instead of desiccated coconut.
You can add a small piece of jaggery or sugar to balance the sourness of sambhar.
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