Hello Friends! Today I’m sharing a comfort food that I make almost on a weekly or bi-weekly basis – Sambar Chawal. Sambar is a South Indian recipe that is a spicy and tangy lentil based vegetable stew or curry. Although traditionally Sambar is popular with Idli, Dosa and similar varieties I’m sharing a slightly different version which we eat with (Chawal) Rice. Its very nutritious and a complete meal that my family loves.
I learnt this recipe from my MIL after marriage. This is a her go to recipe when the extended family comes over. Reason being its extremely easy to make and turns out delicious no matter what. It is a sure shot success with kids and adults. While growing up, when Mom made sambar we always paired it with Idli and Dosa, the traditional way. So the first time my MIL made it and said we will be eating it with Rice, I was a little skeptical. But it took me just a bite to realize how delicious it tasted.
This recipe calls for lentils and veggies of choice to be cooked together and then spiced and flavored with Indian spices. The tangy flavor is imparted by tamarind or lemon juice giving it the perfect balance of spicy, slightly sweet (from veggies) and tangy. Serve it with some hot rice, pickle and salad for that complete meal experience.
There are many varieties of sambar. Every home has their own way of making it. The only difference between traditional sambar I make and this one is that this is more thicker (more like a mix veg dal) rather than the thin runny sambar eaten with Idli and Dosa. The best part is you can add veggies of choice and customize it the way your family likes it. I’ll be posting the recipe for Sambar which I serve with Idli later but by all means you can pair this one as well.
- 1 cup toor dal (arhar) (split pigeon peas)
- 3-4 cups water
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 tbsp grated garlic (around 4 fat cloves)
- ¼ tsp asafoetida (hing)
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- 1-2 tbsp sambar powder (using store bought)
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- tamarind pulp or lemon juice to taste
- ½ zucchini slit in half and each half cut into 4 pieces (approx half cup)
- 2-3 baby eggplants each cut into 4 pieces
- 1 small onion cut in cubes
- 1 tomato cut in cubes
- ½ green bell pepper but in cubes
- 1 carrot peeled and cut into rounds (approx half cup)
- Half small bottle gourd (lauki/ghiya) cut big cubes (approx half cup)
- 1 tbsp ghee or oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 10-15 curry leaves
- 2-3 red chillies
- ½ to 1 tsp red chilli powder
- In a pressure cooked add the toor dal, 3 cups water, ginger garlic, asafoetida, turmeric powder and salt, mix well and pressure cook for 2 whistles. Then switch of the heat and let the steam release naturally. Mash the dal slightly with the help of spoon to make it a bit smooth
- While the dal cooks, cut your veggies. Once dal is cooked, add the veggies and sambar powder, mix and pressure cook for 1 more whistle. Let the steam release naturally again.
- In the mean while make the tadka. In a seperate pan heat oil and once hot add the mustard seeds. Once they splutter add the cumin seeds. Switch off the flame and add the rest of the ingredients like curry leaves, red chillies and red chilli powder. Stir everything good.
- Soak the tamarind in hot water for about 10 mins and squeeze and strain to get the pulp. Add the Tadka to the veggies and dal along with tamarind pulp and simmer for 10-15 mins.
That’s it, our healthy and nutritious Sambar – Mixed Veg Lentils Curry is ready. Serve hot with some rice, pickle and salad of your choice for that complete meal experience. Enjoy!!