Saturday, 17 May 2014


    Hi all.... back from my short vacation.  And since my daughter leaves to her summer camp, my routine life is almost back... Filling up my refrigerator with freshly brought veggies and fruits, cleaning up my partially-messed home, ... list goes on.  Going on vacation sounds much easier, but when it comes to post-vacation work, I always save an huge 'sigh' :/   Yesterday, day went quite interesting watching over election results.  Victory was predicted, as usual, but winning by 1:6 ratio (Congress: BJP) was quite an 'whooping result'.  Similarly goes with Tamilnadu where ADMK gained 37 out of 39 available seats.  Fabulous, isn't it?  Let us see if this decision solves our stagnating economy and deals with the price rise as well....

   Yes and coming back to our post, born and brought up at Chennai, I could'nt miss this special SAMBHAR prepared by my mom.  Infact, this is my favourite and same with my husband too.  Sambhar is south-indian dal preparation, mostly tuvar dal (yellow pigeon peas), with sambhar powder (an aromatic powder made out of chana dal, dried red chillies, curry leaves, whole cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, asafoetida, few peppercorn etc), tamarind, assorted set of vegetables (like brinjal, drumstick, snakegourd, pumpkin etc), finished with an sweet touch of jaggery.

The trick in preparing an perfect sambhar lies in perfect balance of spice-sour and an sweet taste.  As an first-try, I have messed up by adding more sourness (more amount of imly/tamarind) into my sambhar.  So, I strongly recommend you to add only half of prescribed tamarind during cooking, other half you can wait till you complete the cooking, check the sambhar and add accordingly.  Also, kindly note that this 'sour' factor depends on tomatos you are adding.  Since, I have added hybrid tomatos, I have included tamarind.  In case, I am going with country tomatos ,(which has an higher sour content) I would prefer not to add tamarind as the former itself gives out required 'sour' effect.

You can never miss sambhar at South-India.  Idly-sambhar or sambhar rice - they get prominent at every course.  Though they are favoured an lot, preparation of sambhar might differ very slightly from home to home.  Here, I have made an basic version of sambhar (without adding vegetables), and also I have added ready-made version of sambhar powder.  Do try and let me know...

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4-5

Ingredients required

To temper

  • 3-4 tbspn gingelly oil/ refined oil
  • 1 tsp rai/mustard seeds
  • Pinch of hing/asafetida
  • 1/2 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp of whole coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp methi/ fenugreek seeds
  • Handful of curry leaves
  • 2-3 broken red chilly


  • 1 cup tuvar dal
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 11/2 finely chopped hybrid tomatos
  • 1 tsp chilly powder
  • 11/2 tsp dhanya powder
  • 1 tbspn sambhar powder
  • 1/4 cup tamarind extract
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tbspn finely broken jaggery pieces
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped coriander leaves


Pour almost three cups of water into tuvar dal, and let them rest for 25 minutes.  After this, rinse them completely in three batches of water and pressure cook them with 2 cups of water and an pinch of turmeric powder for two to three whistles, keep aside.

In another dry vessel, heat oil on an simmer flame and add mustard seeds.  Let them splutter and settle.  After this, add asafoetida, followed by other ingredients for temper.  Let them sizzle for some seconds.

Now add onions.  Saute them, till they become transculent or turn pink.  DO NOT BROWN THEM.  Now, add tomatos and cook for few seconds. 

If you want to  add any vegetables, you may do so along with tomatos and cook them completely.  Afterso, add spices and stir-fry them.

Now add tamarind extract.  (Again, for an starter, my add half the quantity first, in order not to spoil the dish)

Add two cups of water and let all contents boil for about five to ten minutes.

Mash the pressure cooked dal, and add to the boiling contents.  Simmer the flame.  

Add coriander leaves along with jaggery, check the seasoning.  This is cooked till dal sizzles and reaches over the top.  Switch off the flame and serve. 

Flavour them, accordingly with your course, enjoy.....

                                                  Happy cooking!!!!!!!!

Linking this to Srivalli's CCC Challenge

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