Aug 27, 2012

Sambar for Onam

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 / kaayam)

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.

Sambar for Onam

A delicious sambar, goes well with Idli / Dosa / Rice / Variety rice …

Serves: 4


For dal :

1/2 cup ( 100 g ) tur dal (Indian standard measuring cup of 100 ml / 4 oz capacity)

300 ml water

1 teaspoon oil

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 tomato, roughly chopped


For Dal:

Wash and clean tur dal.

In a steel bowl, mix tur dal, water, oil and turmeric powder. Pressure cook tur dal along with water, turmeric powder, oil, onion and tomatoes for 20 minutes. Water level should be 1 - inch above dal - tomato - onion ( reduce heat after 2nd whistle and cook cook on a low heat for 15 minutes. Allow the pressure cooker to cool naturally.

Open the lid. Gently mash cooked dal- tomato - onion mixture. Adding onion and tomato will make the sambar gravy thick and creamy.

Other ingredients for sambar:

1 teaspoon oil

15 sambar onions (small onion / shallots / chuvannulli in Malayalam / Piyyavu in Konkani / sambar venkayam in Tamil ) or any vegetables of your choice like 2 drumsticks, 1 small piece vellarikka, 5 bhindi, mixed vegetables ... cut all the vegetables in equal size

100 ml (1/2 cup) water

3/4 teaspoon salt ( or to taste)

1 - 2 tablespoon tamarind juice (or 1 - 2 teaspoon thick tamarind paste)

2 1/4 teaspoon 777 brand Madras Sambar Powder/ Eastern / Melam / MTR Sambar powder / homemade sambar powder ( 2 ½ - 2 ¾ teaspoon homemade sambar powder if using ) - Dilute sambar powder in 2 tablespoon water and keep aside.

For sambar :

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add small onion and fry on a low heat until light pink color.

In a bowl, mix shallow fried onion, (if adding mixed vegetables no need to shallow fry. Cook directly) other vegetables, cooked dal – onion – tomato mixture, tamarind juice / paste, salt to taste and extra 100 ml (1/2 cup) water. Sambar should be of pouring consistency.

Cover with lid and cook on a medium heat for 5 - 7 minutes.

Add diluted sambar powder and boil again for 10 - 12 minutes on a low heat to medium heat till done / well cooked. You can find a slight reduction in the quantity of the sambar and nice aroma of sambar powder / sambar thickens (Sprinkle 1 pinch hing if required).

For seasoning :

2 teaspoon cooking oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 spring curry leaves (6 nos)

1 red chilli, halved

1 teaspoon chopped coriander leaves

For seasoning :

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

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