Idly and dosa are the most common breakfast or tiffin items in a south Indian household, and it is no different at my home as well. Once I grind the batter for idly/dosa, I feel as if a big task is done – the task of thinking what to prepare for dinner. Yes we usually have it for dinner. Though the main item is gets decided, but what do you serve it with? I usually end up making either the coconut chutney, tomato chutney or Sambar. This Tiffin Sambar is loved by all at home and my kids end up eating an extra idly or dosa. What more can I ask for?
The recipe for this sambar is quite similar to the Archuvitta Sambar, with a few extra ingredients in the spice paste. Also the amount of tamarind used is very little in this. The slight variations in the spice mix, does give a very different flavour to the Sambar and makes it perfect as a side dish for idly/Dosa or Pongal. In the recipe I have mentioned cooking a few pieces of pumpkin along with the dal. I learnt this from one of the TV shows, and it gives that very slight sweetness, which balances all the flavours. It also gives a little thickness to the sambar. If you don’t have pumpkin, or forget to cook along with dal, use a tsp of powdered jaggery.
What you’ll need
Serves – 4
- Tuar Dal – 1/3 cup
- Tomatoes – 2 big
- Chinna Vengayam – 10 or replace with 1 – medium sized onion
- Pumpkin – ½ cup, chopped into cubes
- Vegetables of your choice – like Carrots, potatoes, and drumstick. I used only drumstick
- Tamarind – a marble sized ball
- Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
- Asafoetida Powder – a generous pinch
- Salt to taste
- Curry Leaves – few
- Coriander Leaves – a few sprigs
To roast and grind
- Coriander Seeds – 2 tbsp
- Channa Dal/Kadala Paruppu – ½ tbsp
- Urad Dal/Ulutham Paruppu – ½ tbsp
- Cumin Seeds/Jeeragam – 1 tsp
- Dry Red Chillies – 3 to 4
- Coconut – 2 tbsp
- Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp
- Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
- Pressure cook the dal along with the pumpkin pieces, little turmeric powder and a spoon of oil. Once cooked, mash well and keep aside.
- Soak the tamarind in a cup of hot water. Squeeze and extract the juice and keep aside.
- Heat a heavy bottomed vessel with oil, add mustard seeds, once it splutters, add curry leaves.
- Next add the chopped onions and sauté a few minutes, until the onions turn translucent.
- Now add the chopped tomatoes and sauté until it turns mushy.
- Add the tamarind extract along with the vegetables, turmeric powder, asafoetida, salt to taste. Also add another cup of water.
- Let this boil until the raw smell of the tamarind disappears, for about 7 to 8 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, heat a small pan, with a tsp of oil, add the Kadala paruppu and roast, for a minute, next add the ulutham paruppu, and fry, once the dals start changing color, add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and red chillies. Lastly, add the coconut and fry on till the coconut changes to a light brown color. Do the entire frying on a low to medium heat. Take care not to burn any of the ingredients else the entire taste of the sambar will change.
- Grind this into a fine paste using a little water.
- Once the vegetables are cooked and the raw smell disappears, add the mashed dal and let it for 2 to 3 minutes, finally add the ground paste, add some water to adjust the consistency. Let it come to a boil.
- Garnish with coriander leaves.
Remove from heat, cover and keep until use.
Serve hot as an accompaniment with idly/dosa/Pongal. Drizzle some melted ghee on top of the Sambar before serving.
- Use vegetables of your choice, like mentioned above, carrots, potatoes, drumstick. But don’t use too much. I personally prefer drumstick as it gives a good flavour.
- Prepare the sambar at least 2 to 3 hours before serving to allow all the flavours to mingle well.
- If you miss out on the pumpkin, don’t miss the jaggery.
- Also a drizzle of ghee before serving enhances the taste and flavour a lot.