Sambhar (South Indian style)

Sambhar:  A popular South Indian cuisine served well with rice, idlis and dosas.  A soup which is mildly spicy, sweet and tangy, with different vegetables. I prefer more mangosteen than Tamarind because the later causes more acidic sensation down the throat.

Makes 4 bowls
1 cup pigeon pea lentils (tuvar dal)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½  cup chopped green beans
¼  cup grated coconut
½ cup chopped carrots
2-3 sticks of celery finely chopped
9-10 medium size cauliflower florets
3 finely chopped tomatoes
½  tablespoon tamarind pulp
8 pieces mangosteen (Kokam)
¼ cup gur or jaggery (or brown sugar 1/4 cup)
½  teaspoon fenugreek seeds
2-3 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
2 teaspoons urad dal
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2-3 curry leaves
2-3 dry red chillies
½ cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons sambhar masala (get readymade or refer to homemade spices section to make your own)
¼ cup of oil or ghee (3:1 ratio for cooking sambhar and sautéing chilli)

(You can choose your own veggies for sambhar; standard ones are eggplants, carrots, drumsticks, bottle gourd, potatoes cauliflower)

Process: Soak the pigeon peas for several hours. Once soaked, add 2-3 cups of water and cook the dal by covering the cooking pot with a lid between low to medium heat till it’s completely soft. Whisk it little and keep aside. Heat oil in a medium cooking pot, add the mustard seeds, let them splutter. Add the curry leaves, cumin seeds, urad dal, fenugreek seeds and saute for 30 seconds. Add the celery cook for 2-3 minutes then add the veggies, coconut and cook for 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, tamarind pulp, powdered spices, salt and cook for 6-7 minutes by constantly stirring the mixture.

Add half cup of water, cover with a lid and cook till the vegetables are soft. Now add the dal, jaggery and mangosteen. Add water if required depending on the consistency you want. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer on low heat for 7 minutes. Heat oil in a small skillet, add dry chillies to the oil  and pour the tempering over the cooked sambhar. Garnish with cilantro and mix well.
Serve with idlis or dosas!


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