Sambar and Rasam are the staple dish in most of the South Indian families. At our home, sambar appears atleast once a week in our menu. Both of us (me & DH) love variety and we cannot settle with just sambar for everyday! Though we regularly enjoy the typical south Indian dishes like Avial, Pitlai, Mor kuzhambu, Kootu, Ambat bhaji and Gojju, sambar is definitely my life saver! If you have sambar podi (sambar powder) at home, tasty dish can be prepared in a jiffy! You can get sambar powder from any Indian store. But most of us do bring a big bag of Sambar podi from India!!
Sambar is a south Indian dish prepared using tamarind extract and pigeon peas (Thuvaram paruppu). Its more like vegetable stew. Sambar can be served with rice or as side dish with Idli/Dosa.
When am really bored of making sambar with the instant podi, I try arachu vitta sambar. “Arachu vitta” means grinding the masala. We do NOT use regular sambar podi for Arachuvitta sambar recipe.
I have made arachu vitta sambar using Onions. You can use onion shallots (chinna vengayam) too. You can also add cut bhindi (okra), mullangi (radish) or green capsicum (bell pepper).
Onion: 1 (medium sized, cut length-wise)
Toor dal (Thuvaram paruppu): 1/2 cup
Tamarind: marble size ball (or 1 tbsp of tamarind paste)
Oil: 3 tsps
Turmeric: a pinch
Salt: to taste
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: few
Asafetida (Hing): a pinch
To roast & grind (Masala):
Chana Dal (Kadalai paruppu/Bengal gram): 1 tbsp
Dhaniya (Coriander seeds): 2 tbsp
Red chillies: 3-4
Coconut flakes: 1 tbsp
Methi (Fenugreek seeds): 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: few
Cilantro: few (Chopped finely)
- Add turmeric and pressure cook dal (at least for 3 whistles).
- Soak tamarind pulp in 1/2 cup water and squeeze the extract. If you are using tamarind paste, dilute it with 1/2 cup water.
- Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan and roast in the ingredients given under label “to roast & grind”.
- Cool and grind it into fine paste.
- Heat remaining oil and temper mustard, turmeric powder, asafetida and curry leaves.
- When mustard spatters, add onion and saute till transparent.
- Add tamarind extract and allow it to boil.
- Lower the flame, add ground masala and stir well.
- Add cooked dal and salt.
- Add water as necessary to adjust the consistency.
- Allow sambar to cook for 3-4 minutes in low flame.
- Remove from stove top and garnish with cilantro.
- Serve with hot rice/Idli/Dosa.
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