Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I am sure all of you have heard of Sambar, the delicious gravy from South India. Well, I am calling the new version Neo Sambar for want of a better name. The basics for this I had learned from my friend Asha who lives in Africa now. She is a Gujju who keeps experimenting with many variants of sambar. I improvised on what I learnt from her and this is the result. It is easier and faster to prepare as it saves one from cooking Tur dal in a pressure cooker. Believe me, this saves at least 30 minutes of the cooking time.


Tamarind – 1 ball the size of a big lemon
Onion – 1 (medium-sized, chopped)
Tomato – 1 (small, chopped)
Fresh Peas – 100 gm
Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
Oil – 3 tsp
Mustard – ½ tsp
Curry Leaves – a few
Coriander Leaves – 2 tsp (chopped)

Sambar Masala:

Channa dal – 2 tsp
Tur dal – 2 tsp
Urad dal – 2 tsp
Dhaniya – 3 tsp
Methi Seeds – ½ tsp
Black Pepper – 6
Red Chillies – 8
Garlic – 4-5 cloves (optional)
Scraped Coconut – 3 tbsp (optional)


Take a thick-bottomed steel vessel and keep it on the gas. Add a spoon of oil and after it heats, add chopped onions to it and shallow fry till golden. Now add the tomato, turmeric powder, salt and peas to it. Keep the gas flame slow and add the extracted tamarind water to the vegetables. Keeping the flame on medium, cook this mixture for about 7-8 minutes till the raw smell of tamarind leaves and the peas are cooked.

While the sambar is boiling, the masala can be readied. Take another spoon of oil in a small kadai and heat it. I have listed the masala ingredients in a particular order. Add these one-by-one in that order every 10 seconds or so as some of them brown faster than the others. Once the coconut is a golden brown, the masala is done. Wait for it to cool before making a coarse powder from it.

Add the masala to the cooking sambar and mix well. Let it boil for about 3 minutes. Add some water to bring it to the right consistency. Switch off the gas when the sambar boils for a minute.

Take the third spoon of oil in the kadai and heat it. Crackle the mustard seeds in it and switch off. Add curry leaves and chopped coriander leaves to this oil and mix. Now add this to the sambar. Adding the leaves to the hot oil will ensure that they don’t turn black after putting in the sambar.

Now relish the delicious sambar with hot rice or idlis. You will just love it!

Instead of or with peas, you can use yellow pumpkin, white pumpkin, drumstick, radish and/or carrots - all of them, any of them or any combination.

1 comment:

  1. :) great sambar, should be easy to try out for side dish for dinner time. let me try and come back to you. thank you.
    pictures looks yummy, esp. the masala items and the end product!