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South Indian Lentil and Vegetable soup – Sambhar

Written By ambili valsan on Monday, February 18, 2013 | 10:15 PM



Every Southindian wakes up to the aroma of this soup. The mix of lentil, vegetables, spices and tamarind juice makes the dish one of a kind.



Please note that home-made sambar masala powder is highly recommended. Please find recipe separately mentioned in this post.

The vegetables that goes into it could differ, my friends make sambhar with just shallots too. But I would rather add all kinds of vegetables – the possibilities are endless. My dad likes sweet potato and raw bananas added to other vegetables in sambhar.

Ingredients :
1 cup – yellow lentils (sambar –tur dal)
2 medium size tomatoes – cut into quarters
2 cloves of crushed garlic
Lemon sized tamarind – soaked in water, extract pulpy juice.
2 spoon of sambhar masala powder
Whiteguard – quarter kilo – remove seeds and chop into big pieces
Dumsticks – hard ends and dry skin peeled and cut into 2inch long pieces
Radish (small size) – slit quarters and slice thin
Okra(ladies finger) – 4to5 – cut into inch long pieces, 2 chopped into rings for garnish
Carrot (1 small) slit half and sliced
3 medium size bringal (round ones) cut into quarters
Shallots or small onions – 4to5 – cut into halves
Salt & Turmeric
A pinch of asafoetida powder – Optional (since sambhar masala already has this ingredient, just a pinch extra)
Dry chilly, curry leaves and mustard seeds for garnish.
Fresh coriander leaves

Method : Pressure cook the lentils in two cups of water, crushed garlic, half a spoon turmeric and keep it aside.
Take a deep pan with oil, when hot, add shallots and stir well, add okra and brinjal, mix till sides are fried. Add carrot, drumsticks, radish, white guard and tomatoes and reduce the flame, add salt, turmeric, mix well. Place a lid and cook in low flame for 5 minutes. Open lid, add 2 teaspoons of sambar masala, stir well and let the powder spices mix well with all vegetables. After two minutes, add the tamarind pulp.  Add the lentils and three cups of water and salt and let it boil. Combine all and transfer into serving bowl.
Take a small pan, pour a spoon of oil, when hot, add mustard seeds and let it pop. Add red chilly, curry leaves and asafoetida powder. Pour this into the sambhar, garnish with fresh coriander leaves.


Sambhar Masala  (please note this is for one time use, you could make larger quantity and store)

Take a pan, without oil dry roast each of these ingredients separately: 4 dry Red chillies (until they change colour into darker red) and keep aside. one spoon of pepper corns ,one spoon of white urad dal (washed black gram lentils) until they turn red, 2 spoons of grated coconut till brown. Keep these dry roasted spices aside. Pour a spoon of oil into pan, when hot add half a spoon of fenugreek seeds, when they are roasted add 3 spoons of coriander seeds and half spoon of asafoetida powder and lots of curry leaves. Mix the fried and dry roasted ingredients together and blend into a fine powder.

Although this seems tedious, take my word- with all the required ingredients available and kept ready it gets done quickly.

The sambhar powders available in the market are very popular and some of them do give wonderful results too. But if you want it flavor packed and perfect aroma to fill your senses…try this. 
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