Saturday, 22 May 2010


Sambar is one dish which is almost made on a daily basis across households and hotels in South India. This simple dish, gets the flavour from the veggies and the sambar masala used accompanied with the tamarind extract and dal. The usage of sambar starts right from the morning breakfast to the evening dinner. There are different varieties of sambar. Infact the sambar made for tiffins is different from the sambar made for rice. But I only prepare sambar for lunch and have tried making sambar for breakfast just once.

The onions or the pearl onions give an excellent flavour to the sambar. The pearl onions especially give an excellent flavour. Probably thats why they are commonly known as the sambar onions.

You can use a variety of veggies like drumstick, raddish, brinjal, carrot, beans, lady's finger, yam and lot more veggies with onion and tomato. When we use some veggies like drumstick or raddish, we do not use any other veggie except for onions, tomatoes since they have their own trademark flavour which might get lost when combined with some other veggie.

Here's a simple brinjal sambar made with homemade instant sambar powder for lunch. I shall post the recipe of instant sambar powder a little later. You can use homemade or store bought sambar powder.
There are two ways in which I generally prepare sambar. First is to prepare sambar and then temper it. The other method is to slightly saute the veggies in the tempering and then bring them to boil and proceed as usual for sambar. Both of them have a slightly different taste. But both the methods are great.

  • Boiled Tur Dal - 1/2 cup
  • Brinjals - 2-3 small tender ones cut into 4 pieces each
  • Onion - 1 diced ( if you are using pearl/sambar onions you can use a handful)
  • Green Chilli - 2, cut into small pieces
  • Tomato - 1
  • Tamarind paste - 2 tsp
  • Sambar powder - 2-3 tsp
  • Salt - as required
  • Turmeric - 1/8 tsp
  • Curry leaves - 1 sprig
  • Coriander leaves - 1 sprig

For tempering
  • Mustard - 1/2 tsp
  • Urad Dal - 1 tsp
  • Methi - 1/3 tsp
  • Hing powder - 1/8 tsp
  • Red Chilli - 1-2
  • Oil - 1 - 1 1/2 tsp


Method 1:
  • In a deep bottom vessel, boil brinjals, onion, tomato, green chillies with 1 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp turmeric.
  • Meanwhile, mix 2 tsp of tamarind paste with water.
  • Add to the veggies once they are nearly done.
  • Add the tur dal and the remaining salt as required for the gravy and allow it to boil for a couple of minutes.
  • Mix the sambar powder in a small bowl with little water and make a paste without lumps. Most people add the sambar powder directly. I make a paste and add inorder to avoid lumps in sambar else we might need to keep stirring in the sambar to remove the lumps and we might end up mashing some of the veggies.
  • Let the sambar boil for a little while.
  • Add in the curry leaves and coriander leaves and boil for a minute so that the flavours from the leaves seep into the sambar.
  • For tempering, once the oil is hot, add methi and let the colour change. Then add urad dal, mustard, hing and pinched red chilli and season the sambar. Serve hot with rice.
Method 2:
  • In a deep bottom vessel, add 2-3 tsp of oil. Add methi seeds. Once they change colour, add urad dal, mustard, hing, red chilli and curry leaves.
  • Add the veggies, green chilli and saute them for about 2-3 minutes with 1 tsp salt, pinch of turmeric.
  • Add water and bring them to boil.
  • When the veggies are 3/4ths done, add tamarind extract and boil till the raw smell is gone.
  • Add the cooked tur dal, remaining salt sufficient for the sambar.
  • Towards the end, add little curry leaves, coriander leaves and boil for a minute.
  • Serve hot with rice.

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1 comment:

gauthami said...

With combination og brinjal even ladies finger goes well akka

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