Sambar is a spicy and tangy lentil and vegetable stew that is a staple in South Indian homes. Sharing my most sought-after sambar recipe with you all in this post. Serve it with dosa, idli, uttapam, or pongal for a hearty meal.
½cupcubed eggplantkeep in water until ready to use
1drumstick cut into 2 inch pieces
½cuppeeled and cubed yellow pumpkin
For the masala
3-4whole dry red chiliesstalk removed
½cupfinely chopped onions
1cupfinely chopped tomatoes
For the tempering
2-3whole dry red chilies
Wash ½ cup tuvar dal and add it to a pressure cooker along with 2 cups of water, salt to taste, and ½ teaspoon turmeric powder. Close the lid.
Cook for one whistle on high heat. Then reduce the heat to low and cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove the cooker from heat and let the steam release naturally.
Open the lid and add tamarind paste (or tamarind water) to the cooker. Mix well using a wire whisk. Traditionally a wooden masher was used to mix the dal. Set the cooked dal aside.
While the dal is cooking, prepare the vegetables.
Shallots – Peel 10-12 shallots or pearl onions.Eggplant – Cut eggplant into 1-inch cubes. We need ½ cup of cubed eggplant. Soak the cubes in water until ready to use to avoid oxidation.Carrots – Peel the carrots and cut them into slices. We will need ½ cups of sliced carrots.Drumstick – Cut 1 drumstick into 2-inch pieces.Yellow Pumpkin – Peel the pumpkin and cut it into 1-inch cubes. We need ½ cup of cubed pumpkin.
Add all the prepared vegetables along with 1 cup water, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder to a pot.
Cover the pot and cook the vegetables on medium heat until they are tender (8-10 minutes).
Do not overcook the vegetables otherwise they will become mushy. You can cook the vegetables in a pressure cooker as well (1 whistle on high heat followed by quick pressure release). Set the cooked veggies aside.
Heat 3 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Traditionally sambar was cooked in ghee but you can use any oil of your choice.
Once the oil is hot, add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 3-4 whole dry red chilies, and 15-20 curry leaves and let them crackle for 5-6 seconds.
Add ½ cup finely chopped onion and fry until they turn translucent (4-5 minutes). You can skip adding onion if going for a no onion recipe.
Add 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes until they are mushy.
Now add 2 tablespoon sambar powder and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add some water if the masala is too dry. Add the cooked dal and veggies to this pot and mix everything well.
Add more water to adjust the consistency. The consistency of sambar is a personal preference. Some people like it very thin while some like it thick. I personally like it a little thick but still flowy. Cook the sambar for 10-12 minutes on medium-low heat. Remove the pot from heat.
Once the sambar is ready, make the tempering. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. You can use ghee or coconut oil in place of vegetable oil as well.
Once the oil is hot, add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 2-3 whole dry red chilies, and 10-12 curry leaves and let them crackle for 4-5 seconds.
Pour the tempering over the sambar and stir well. Serve hot.
Soak the tuvar dal for 15 to 20 minutes before you start cooking it to fasten the cooking process.I have added a combination of vegetables in this recipe, but you can add a single preferred vegetable too.Do not overcook the vegetables. They should be tender yet have a bite. If cooked too soft, they will turn mushy and won’t taste great.Every household has its own recipe for making this scrumptious lentil stew. Some like to have big chunks of vegetables, while some prefer to have smaller ones. Some like theirs to be of a thick consistency, while others like it to be more on a liquidy side. You can adjust the consistency by adding more or less water.If your sambar has turned sour from excess tamarind, then add a little bit of jaggery to compensate the taste.