Jun 24, 2012

Varutharacha Sambar

Varutharacha Sambar

A tasty sambar in Kerala cuisine, made of lightly dry roasted coconut paste, cooked dal, selected vegetables, sambr powder and seasoning. Best with idli / dosa / rice varieties as a main dish !!!

Homemade Sambar Powder

Makes: 105 g


20 dried red chillies

1 cup (100 g) coriander seeds (dhania)

¼ cup (25 g) chana dal (Bengal gram)

¼ cup (25 g) urad dal

¼ cup (25 g) methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)

1 teaspoon hing (asafoetida)

½ teaspoon turmeric powder


In an iron kadai, dry roast separately dried red chillies, coriander seeds, chana dal, urad dal and methi seeds on a low to medium heat. Do not dry roast on high heat. Approximate dry roasting time 20 - 22 minutes until fragrant, slight color change and crisp. Switch off the heat. Finally mix all the dry roasted ingredients together. Add turmeric powder and hing. Stir continuously for 5 minutes. Keep aside to cool for 15 minutes. Transfer these ingredients in a mixer bowl and make a fine powder. If using small mixer bowl, make powder in batches. Store in an airtight container.

The exact quantity of this powder to be added to the sambar depends on ones taste (2 teaspoons sambar powder required for 3 servings (1 medium bowl) . Make in smaller quantity - ie for use for a few times. The fragrance / freshness may be lost if one makes in large quantity and store for longer duration.

Serves: 4


For coconut paste:

4 tablespoons grated coconut (60 g)

Heat an iron kadai on a medium heat. Lightly dry roast grated coconut until light golden color. Maintain medium to low heat (approximate dry roasting time 10 – 12 minutes). Keep aside to cool for 15 minutes and make a smooth in a small mixer bowl with 2 tablespoon water.

For dal :

1/2 cup ( 100 g ) tur dal

2 1/2 cups (300 ml) water

1 teaspoon oil

1 teaspoon turmeric powder


For Dal:

Wash and clean tur dal and soak for half an hour.

Pressure cook tur dal along with water, turmeric powder and oil for 20 minutes ( reduce heat after 2nd whistle and cook on a low heat for 15 minutes) until done / soft and smooth dal. Allow the pressure cooker to cool naturally. Gently mash the cooked dal with the base of a ladle.

Other ingredients for sambar:

Tip: You can add any vegetables of your choice

2 teaspoon oil

15 sambar onions (small onion / shallots / chuvannulli in Malayalam / Piyyavu in Konkani / sambar venkayam in Tamil )

1 tomato, cut into cubes (1 big size tomato or 2 small size)

2 drumsticks, gently peel off the outer skin and cut into 4 cm pieces

¼ cup tamarind juice or 1 teaspoon thick tamarind paste

3/4 teaspoon salt ( or to taste)

Extra ¼ cup (50 ml) warm water

3 teaspoon 777 brand Madras Sambar Powder/ Eastern / Melam / MTR Sambar powder / Everest or homemade sambar powder


For sambar :

Dilute sambar powder with 6 teaspoons water and keep aside.

Heat oil in a deep pan. Add sambar onions (shallots) and fry for 3 – 4 minutes until light pink color. Add cubed tomatoes and fry gently for 1 – 2 minutes.

Add boiled dal, tamarind paste / juice, salt to taste and adjust the consistency of the sambar with extra ¼ cup (50 ml) water if required. Cover with a tight lid and cook on a medium to low heat for 10 minutes until the drumsticks half cooked .

Add diluted sambar powder and mix well. Cook for another 5 – 7 minutes until drumsticks (or any other vegetables) well cooked. Add extra 2 pinches hing (asafoetida) if required. You can find a slight reduction in the quantity of the sambar and nice aroma of sambar powder / sambar thickens.

Finally, add dry roasted coconut paste and cook again for another 7 minutes on a low heat.

For seasoning :

2 teaspoon cooking oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 spring curry leaves (6 nos)

1 red chilli, broken


Heat oil in a pan . Add mustard seeds. When they start crackle, add curry leaves and broken red chilli. Saute for 2 - 3 minutes and pour this seasoning over sambar. Serve with Idli / Dosa / Rice ..

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