Sambhar - Idli, Dosa, Vada accompaniment

The story I heard about sambhar or rather the name is pretty interesting. I do not know the authenticity of this story but yet would share it based on the assumption that it is treated as a hearsay. In Maharashtra, the basic tuvar based dal is prepared in various forms. The King of Marathas - Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj was a great cook and ardent foodie who loved to experiment with food.

One day he set to make a large pot of masaledar (spicy) dal using combination of vegetables and dal. After he was done with the flavorings, he asked for Kokums which is regular souring agent in maharashtrian foods. Since they did not find any available, the King suggested handing over tamarind. The result was extremely successful and people loved it. And to give him the credit the dal preparation was named as Sambhar.

True or not, the sambhar is indeed a delicious gravy that goes well with rice as well as the popular south indian recipes like idli, dosa and wada

1 cup toovar dal
1 cup mixed vegetables (white & yellow pumpkin, brinjal, drumsticks)
1 onion cut in quarters
1 tbsp tamarind pulp
1 tbsp sambhar masala (see below)
2 tspn red chilli 
1 tspn turmeric powder
salt to taste

Sambhar Masala
1 cup red chilli powder (kashmiri red preferred)
1 cup coriander seeds
1/2 cup jeera powder
1/4 cup tuvar dal 
1/8 cup chana dal
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
1 tspn mustard seeds (optional)

For tempering
2 tspn Oil
1 tspn mustard seeds
a pinch of asafoetida
1 red chilli
1 sprig of curry leaves

1) Prepare the sambhar powder by roasting the ingredients individually and then grinding them to a semi coarse powder. Set aside
2) Cook the toovar dal with 2 cups of water. Add a pinch of salt and turmeric powder, In pressure cooker it may take upto 3 whistles
3) Cook the mixed vegetables separately about 2 whistles.
4) Now in a deep pan, dal and beat it using a whisk to make well blended mixture
5) Add the vegetables, onions, sambhar masala, red chilli powder and stir well
6) Let this mixture come to a rolling boil. add the tamarind pulp.
7) In another small pan, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds. 
8) When the seeds splutter add the hing and curry leaves. Stir and add red chilli.
9) Pour this tempering on the sambhar.
10) Let is simmer for 5 minutes.

Sambhar is ready


Kalyani said…
You are right Pradnya. My paternal grandmom who hails from Tanjore once had told me that the Tanjore Maratha cooking evolved the addition of onions into sambhar. Although the original sambhar recipe seems to have come in from Udupi, Karnataka..

nice platter :)
Pavani said…
Sambar looks amazing. Perfect side dish for rice, idli or dosa.

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