Sambhar for South Indians is as important as the dal is for the North Indians. It is probably prepared with a whole variety of meals. All sections of South Indian society will not present a meal without the Sambhar. It fact some would say this is the way South Indians prepare their dal. The flavour varies not only depending on the vegetable one adds but also from region to region of South India.
I spent a couple of days with my friends from Kerala, and what a treat that turned out to be. Did we not only make Dosas but I ended up learning how to make authentic Keralite Sambhar, Rasam, Idli and vadas. I think I will start my South Indian section with Sambhar, which as I have mentioned, is so central to the South Indian cuisine that it deserves to be the first item on this blog.
I have included Sambhar for my Kayastha family as a treat, it is slightly different from the dals they prepare. It is full of goodness not only from the dal but the fresh vegetables from our local market.
- 3/4 cup Toor or Masoor dal
- Chopped vegetables - Couple of carrots, Potatoes, 1 chopped onion, 4 florets of cauliflower, courgette are just a few examples that can be used.
- 1 tsf Mustard seeds
- Few Curry leaves
- 1 tsf Hing (asafetida)
- 1 Whole Red Chilli
- 1/2 tin of chopped Tomatoes
- 3-4 tsf Sambhar powder
- 3/4 tsf Haldi powder(Turmeric powder)
- Imli (Tamarind) to taste
- 1 tsf Salt
- 2-3 tbsf Vegetable Oil for cooking.
- Cook the dal in a pan. It needs to be slightly under cooked at this stage.
- Add salt and the vegetables for approximately 5 minutes or till the vegetables are slightly cooked.
- While the dal is cooking heat the oil in a wok and add mustard seeds (and channa dal optional).
- As soon as the mustard seeds start to splutter add the sliced onions, dried red chilli, fresh curry leaves and fry till onions are slightly browned.
- Add sambhar powder, hing and haldi. Mix and fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and mix stir well browning these slightly.
- Add the dal to this mix and cook for another 4-5 mnutes.
- Add imli and mix well.
Normally I would make Sambhar with Dosa's or Idli, but here I have prepared it with a vegetarian meal and I surely have enjoyed it.