Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sambar without any tamarind ~ Side dish for dosas and idlis

Sambar, as I explained in this post is a lentil based dish of south Indian origin, usually made with vegetables, tamarind and of course lentils. It has a soup like texture and feel to it and and this is a somewhat similar to the more well known dhal, only a little more spicy and tangy version of it. Usually sambar is served as an accompaniment to idlis (steamed savory cakes) / dosas (savory Indian crepes) or on a bed of plain steamed rice with some type of curry on the side.

Earlier I had posted this version of sambar without tamarind. The earlier version of sambar remains among one of my favorites kinds of sambar even now. But this variation that I now make frequently is even faster and simpler than the earlier version and is more nutritive, simply because of the amount of lentils in it. Even with making the masala powder, this one gets done in under thirty minutes and if the powder is made ahead this one barely takes time. This one like the previous version always reminds me of the sambar that is served in restaurants, and surprisingly the tamarind is not missed in this version either. So if the idea of making a quick, simple and tasty sambar appeals to you, give this one a try and as always let me know what you think:)

 Sambar without tamarind

Click here for a printable view of this recipe

Ingredients and Method to make Sambar without tamarind
3/4 cup split pigeon peas (tur dhal/ tuvaram parappu) soaked in sufficient water for about 30 mins
2 large tomatoes cut into 1/4 inch pieces (yielded approximately 1 and 3/4 cups of cut pieces)
2 medium red onions peeled and cut into large pieces or sliced lengthwise
2 Thai or Indian variety green chilies slit lengthwise (or to taste)
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
7 to 8 large curry leaves broken into little pieces

For the masala
2 tbsp split chick pea lentil (chana dhal/ kadalai parappu)
1 tbsp split pigeon peas (tur dhal/ tuvaram parappu)
1/2 tbsp fenugreek seeds (methi/mendiyam)
1/4 tbsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 tbsp whole black pepper
4 whole dry red chilies (or to taste)

In a small pan dry roast the first three ingredients under masala separately until each of them turns reddish and remove from heat.

Then in the same pan roast cumin seeds, whole black pepper and whole dry red chilies for just a few seconds. Remove from heat, cool and powder all the dry roasted ingredients together until it turns to a fine powder. Keep this masala powder aside.
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For the sambar
Soak the split pea lentil in sufficient water for about 30 minutes or so. Add cut tomato pieces to the soaked lentils and along with the water place in a pressure cooker and cook until soft and mushy. ( It takes me about 4 whistles in my pressure cooker to get there) When the pressure subsides, remove from the cooker, mash the lentils and keep aside.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add mustard seeds. When the seeds splutter, add green chilies and stir a few times. Then add onions and saute until the onions turn transparent. Add powdered masala and stir once or twice. Then add mashed lentils, water as required to achieve required consistency, salt to taste and allow the sambar to simmer for a few minutes until all the flavors mingle.  Garnish with curry leaves.

Serve hot with any type of idli / dosai/ or over a bed of plain steamed rice with a curry on side.
Other versions of sambar without any tamarind in this space are

Instant Tiffin Sambar ~ No dhal or tamarind sambar

Lentil powder sambar without tamarind ~ Sambar without imli/ puli
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