Friday, May 28, 2010



A lentil stew, of sorts, usually eaten over rice with a side of chicken, or served alongside dosa, a South Indian rice-dal crepe. From my cooking lessons with my sister-in-law!

 Sambhar, idli and coconut chutney

Servings: 2-3 days worth for us. :-) I strongly recommend halving the recipe for those are not sambhar lovers like my husband.

1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
10-15 curry leaves
3 dry red chilis
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
3 or 4 radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup vegetables -- (i.e. one of, or combination of the following: cubed eggplant, vegetable drumstick, thinly sliced carrots, green beans)
4 cups water
1 scant cup toor dal (split yellow peas)
2 cups water
3 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 inch piece of tamarind pulp, soaked in warm water
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon sambar powder (Dahlia's recipe is perfect!)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

Heat oil in a pot. When hot, add all mustard, cumin and fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, red chilis. When mustard seeds begin to "pop" add the chopped onion and saute until onion is translucent. Add tomato and saute until softened.  Add vegetables, saute for a minute then add 4 cups of water.  Gently boil the vegetables for 15-20 minutes, or until softened.

Meanwhile, in a pressure cooker combine toor dal, water, turmeric and garlic. Cook for 3 whistles, turn off heat and wait for the pressure to naturally release. Set aside

Mash the softened tamarind pulp in the soaking water.  Pour through a filter and into the pot of vegetables.  Stir in chili powder, sambar powder, and salt.  Simmer for a few minutes.

By now the pressure will have released from the toor dal.  Open the cooker, pour the contents into the vegetable mixture.  Simmer, adding water and salt as necessary.  Stir in cilantro leaves.

Serve with idli, dosa, white rice.

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