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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

South Indian.....made easy! - Part 1

Before I even begin - lemme tell you - I absolutely love South Indian food and the recipes below are my version of my favourite south Indian delicacies. The output will be a very very very similar *insome cases exactly same!* taste to the authentic original feast you remember eating last at your favourite Southie food joint.

And so.... all north Indians and non-Indians reading this, please note - This is the closest *I reckon* one can get without doing all the hours of hard work and get the best tasting Southie food.

And all South Indians - all your tips, tricks and suggestions are highly regarded. Make sure you comment here and tell me what can be improved.

*phew* OK!!

Sambhar - South Indian Lentil & Vegetable curry

Believe me when I say this is easy - you boil - you cook and its ready!! All the steps just follow one another and its the fastest thing I can make if I have the veggies and the masalas.

Ingredients --

For boiling mix -
1 cup Yellow Lentil or Toor Dal *arhar dal*
2 medium onions chopped into long slices.
1/4 pumpkin peeled and cut roughly into 2cm cubes
2 tomatoes chopped
1 caroot peeled and sliced into wheels
1 cup frozen green beans (that are already cut into 1 inch pieces)
OR can use fresh if you have 'em.

For Tadka -
2 tablespoons of MTR Sambhar Masala <-- This is the super ingredient!! Thank God for MTR that they have taken all the hard work of creating the awesome sambhar masala from people like us and given us this excellent ingredient!

1 tiny pinch of asafoetida *heeng*
2 teaspoons of turmeric powder *haldi*
2 teaspoons of mustard seeds *rai*
a few curry leaves
Chilli flakes (optional or how hot u'd like)
Salt to taste

For the zing! -
Tamarind juice or Tamarind pulp.
If using tamarind pulp - soak one large table spoon in a small bowl of water and put aside. When everything else is done - return to this mixture and mash the pulp with fingers. Can get rid of the chunky tamarind pieces/seeds - if there are any.

Method --

Boiling Mix -
1. Wash the toor dal thouroughly in a large bowl and put aside.
2. Take a large pressure cooker. And add the toor dal and all the vegetables.
3. Add water for boiling - enough that ingredients are totally covered and bit more.
4. Add salt and turmeric powder. And let is cook till 3-4 whistles *or till most of the vegetables become totally cooked to the point of falling apart.
5. Put aside.

Tadka -
1. In a large pan, heat oil, add asafoetida and mustard seeds. Wait a minute till the seeds begin to splutter.
2. Add the curry leaves, turmeric powder, chilli flakes and MTR Sambhar Masala.
3. Add the boiled lentil and vegetable mix to the pan. If the mixture is too thick, add half a cup of water in the cooker and swirl to get the remaining veg/lentils and then add that to the pan as well.
4. Let the whole thing boil for 8-10 mins.
5. Add the tamarind pulp to the boiling mix. Add salt to taste. And cook for another 5 mins.

All done!! Enjoy with steamed rice OR Idlis (if you have 'em!) :)

* You can add more MTR sambhar masala after adding the tamarind pulp if you think its not tasting *that* taste yet - just cook for another 3-4 mins.
* You can add other vegetables if you like. These ones above I reckon boil and cook really easily and really well with the sambhar and they taste great too. But you can add okra *ladies finger*, eggplant *brinjal* and others if you into all those veggies.

Coming next is - easy Uttapam!! :)
Happy Eatin'


Anonymous divya said...

me first!!!!!!
had to be naah....:)
thats close enought to ma's recipe....though i dont think we ever use peas in sambhar....
and also tamarind pulp is the way to go fr sambhar.its the essence.....
aur kya...cant think of anythin else now....
MTR is a good brand all their southie products r very good......but at my home we still make our sambhar powder from scratch.....
now thats a long comment!:p

September 28, 2005 6:21 AM  
Anonymous divya said...

oh sorry.i read green peas instead of green beans.silly me.must get my eyes checked......:)

September 28, 2005 6:26 AM  
Blogger Art said...

it was very much near to what we make at home... but yes at home mom makes the sambhar powder.. (now i dont know the ingredients)...

Well another way would be...
After u boil the vegetables... Put them in another vessel...with all the veggies and daal... Add the tamarind pulp juice... or sometimes (tomato juice [ofcourse not the sweet one] would also do)..
Add salt and chilli powder... and just 1 spoon of sugar..
After a good boil... Add tadka to this...

This also tastes good...

September 28, 2005 7:22 AM  
Blogger Nupur said...

Divya: Yaaayyy!! I'm soo glad that this recipe is just about the same. And really with the MTR Masala it really does taste exactly like the authentic lipsmacking sambhar I have always loved! :D
And yeah....'beans' ;)

September 28, 2005 4:58 PM  
Blogger Nupur said...

Art: :) Hey.... isn't that exactly what I do..? I mean I make tadka and then add to it the boiled dal + veggies + tamarind and let it boil n boil n boil.

But yess...sugar is something that I haven't tried. Thaks for the tip! ;)

September 28, 2005 5:00 PM  
Blogger ayvid said...

hey nupur.....
sugar.......dont!! tell u wat this wat ma does n also done in a lot of the temples...add just a little bit of jaggery......yes jaggery.not sugar.......makes the sambhar divine......and i dont remeber if u mentioned curry leaves n corainder in ur post...we add that too!!

September 29, 2005 3:40 AM  
Anonymous divya said...


September 29, 2005 3:45 AM  
Blogger Nupur said...

Divya: :) Jaggrey...!! Aah! Ok...sure. And yess gurl, I do add curry leaves in the tadka. And corriander for

September 29, 2005 5:03 AM  
Blogger Prasad said...

ohoo.. south indian food... God.. I need to go to my native and have a good meal from my mom... :((

September 29, 2005 6:42 AM  
Blogger Art said...

there was just a little diff dear..
The tadka was after all the boiling stuff... after including salf and powder n stuff...
Tadka was just to add taste... guess it was the same just a diff ordering... :)

September 29, 2005 8:50 AM  
Blogger Nupur said...

Prasad: Yesss.... I can imagine! :)
I eat all the fancy stuff all the time.. but there are days when I crave for my mum's simple daal and sabzi. *such is life~!*

September 29, 2005 5:07 PM  
Blogger Nupur said...

Art: :) Yes! I guess..!!
My southIndian cooking streak is still a work in progress.... so all ur comments and suggestions are welcome.. ascending or descending order! :D

September 29, 2005 5:09 PM  
Blogger Gangadhar said...

You've a great going here...keep it up!

October 02, 2005 5:07 AM  
Blogger Invincible said...

mein jab US mein tha na
tab is se ACHHA banata tha
:P :P :P

(me better cook thn u :) )

(kidding), but as when in US, the house had more heads from southern part of the world, i got to learn a lot of their typical dishes. I can now make mouthwatering rasam too ).

October 03, 2005 8:51 AM  
Blogger Nupur said...

Ganga: Oh Thanks a bunch!! :D I'm really excited too.... about find new and exciting stuff and posting it for all!

October 06, 2005 4:26 PM  
Blogger Nupur said...

Invinci: I know.... its funny how boys always shy away from cooking - but if they get their minds to it... they make some of teh tastiest stuff!!! :D

Rasam!!! *slurrp*
Achha... so when am I getting the mouthwatering recipe??! LOL!

October 06, 2005 4:29 PM  

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