I love working on Pride High, but the one drawback is that I sometimes let other passions fall by the wayside. There was a time when I cooked a full Indian meal 3-4 times a week, but I just don't have the time these days. But here and there, I do manage to squeeze in a moment for some home-cooked comfort food like sambar.
Sambar is a quintessential South Indian dish that is now popular all over the subcontinent. A few of the things that distinguish it from North Indian dal dishes are the use of coconut oil (rather than ghee), roasted legumes as spices, curry leaves, and a broth base of tamarind extract.
1 cup toor dal
1 tsp turmeric
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4-8 cups of water (will vary a lot depending on how long the dal has been in the pantry, as well as personal preference regarding thickness of the sambar)
1 tsp coconut oil (helps to control foaming)
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp hing
1 medium onion, chopped
1 handful of curry leaves
1 cup of tamarind juice (I use 1 cup water + 1 tsp tamarind extract)
2 cups of veggies of your choice (I chose broccoli and carrots for this batch)
3 Tbsp sambar powder
3 Tbsp water
Bring A to a light boil and cook for 45-60 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan, fry B until the mustard seeds just begin to pop. Add C to B and sauté until onions are translucent.
Add D to B & C, stir, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat.
Mix E together well, then add to A. Mixing the powder with water before adding it to hto liquid prevents lumping. Storebought sambar powder is fine, but I use a homemade recipe that has more roasted copra and less fenugreek seeds. Mix everything together, add salt and cayenne to taste, and serve with rice.
Broccoli & Carrot Sambar