Throw Everything into One Pot

Fresh natural food for busy people

by Gregory Kozlovsky


Sambar is one of favorite dishes in South Indian cooking. There are many varieties of sambar. It can be eaten as soup or as a main dish, mixing it with rice. Its characteristic sour taste is due to tamarind - a sour date.

4 portions

1/2 cup toovar (arhar) dal

3 tbsp tamarind pulp
or 2 tsp tamarind extract

1 tbsp ghee
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida powder
1/2 tsp shambala seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 red chili
1 tsp curry leaves

1 cup mixed vegetables - potatoes, okra, eggplants, sweet peppers

2 green chilies

2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
3 tsp sambar powder

1 bundle coriander

Put dal in a pot, cover with 2 cups of water and cook on slow heat for 50 minutes.

Soak tamarind pulp in 1 cup of warm water for at least 15 minutes.

Dice vegetables into cubes around 1 centimeter in size. Chop red and green chilies.

When dal is almost ready, heat ghee in a skillet. Add mustard, asafoetida, shambala, cumin, red chili, and curry leaves. When mustard seeds begin to pop, add green chilies and vegetables. Sauté for several minutes.

Put the content of the skillet into the pot with dal.

When cooking everyday meal, it is completely acceptable instead of frying spices and saut´ing vegetables, put them directly into the pot, omitting asafoetida.

Pour tamarind water into the pot, squeezing as much liquid as possible from the pulp. If tamarind extract is used, dissolve it in the same amount of water.

Add one cup of water, salt, turmeric, and sambar powder. Stir, cover with lid, and cook on slow heat for about 40 minutes, till the vegetables are cooked. Add water as it evaporates.

Before serving garnish with chopped coriander.

In India sambar if often served with boiled rice and eaten mixed with it. To save time, you can cook rice together with sambar, adding one cup of rice directly into the pot with dal (white rice 20 minutes and brown rice 1 hour before the end of cooking).


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