Sambar the south Indian lentil soup made with vegetables, lentils and a unique blend of spices is not only a famous recipe in the south of India, but a lot of North Indians also enjoy it with either idli or hot rice. And a tasty sambar and chutney add on to the flavours.
But unfortunately, what I have found is that most of the restaurants make bad sambar. The sambar is watery and usually lacks tastes and flavour. So, I try to make sambar at home, full of vegetables; thus, it is tasty, healthy, nutritious and my kids love it.
My sambar making recipe is simple, and so you can very well make it in your home if you have the basic ingredients. I am listing the ingredients below:
- Daal: Usually the base for sambar is daal, I like making it with arhar daal, but some people may mix the daal with moong or masoor daal. You can cook the daal either in a pressure cooker or an instant pot.
- Vegetables: Many vegetables can be used in sambar like sambar onions, tomato, pumpkin, brinjal, drumstick, carrots, lady’s finger. The addition of vegetables not only makes the sambar flavourful but nutritious too. Just a tip, do not overcook the vegetables, they should be intact and not mushy.
- Sambar powder: Obviously, the taste of the sambar would depend much on the sambar powder you have used. Use your favourite brand of sambar powder, or some prefer making it at home.
- Tamarind: To add a bit of tartness to the sambar
- Jaggery: To add a bit of sweetness to the sambar
- Tempering: Or tadka, as you would like to call it. A big spoon of ghee, bit of hing or asafoetida, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and red dry chillies.
Note: You can adjust the consistency of sambar according to preference. Some people like it thin some a bit thick.
Method of Cooking:
1. Pressure cook nicely rinsed daal with half teaspoon turmeric, one teaspoon of salt and three cups of water. Cook it for five whistles on a medium-high flame, then lower the heat to medium-low and let it cook for another 5 to 6 minutes.
2. Soak one tablespoon tamarind piece in one third cup of hot water for about 15 to 20 minutes. Then strain the liquid using a strainer.
3. In a pan, heat two teaspoons oil on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the sambar onions and cook for around 2 minutes.
4. Then add the rest of vegetables like carrots, drumsticks, pumpkin, lady’s finger and half a teaspoon of salt and cook for two more minutes.
5. Add the chopped tomato and cook for one minute.
6. Then add around three cups of water and stir.
7. Add two tablespoons sambar powder or adjust it according to your taste
8. Also, add jaggery and adjust the sweetness according to your liking.
9. Add around three-four tablespoons of the tamarind water that you had soaked earlier.
10. Stir in the cooked dal.
11. Also, add a bit of Kashmiri red chilli powder
12. Stir everything together and let the sambar simmer on medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes.
13. For the tempering, heat one tablespoon ghee in a small pan on medium heat. Once the ghee is hot, add the hing, mustard seeds, dry red chillies and curry leaves
14. Now pour the tadka over the simmering sambar.
Tada! Your sambar is ready, have with idli, have with dosa, have with vada, or have with hot rice.