Are you the one who enjoys Sambhar but find yourself navigating around the veggies? Do you fish out the chunks and relish the soup itself? Do you like same consistency in the gravy? Are you (mentally) nodding your head on the former questions? Then you have found THE recipe for your kind of thick, mushy Sambhar!
Sambhar is a South Indian soup/ curry which is based on lentils, vegetables and tamarind which has found its place in kitchens and restaurants around the World. It is an explosion of taste to tastebuds- tangy, spicy, hot, sometimes sweet too. It is a perfect accompaniment to Idli, Dosa, Vada, Uttapam and Rice.
Sambhar Powder is the backbone of this dish. It imparts the flavour to the dish. Do not even think of skimping on it. I haven’t added any red chilli powder in the dish. If you like to add red chilli powder, as a result you would have to reduce the amount of Sambhar Masala. You many wish to vary the whole red chilli and/ or red chilli powder as per your heat tolerance.
I have served this thick mushy Sambhar with Rawa Idli. However you can relish it with Rice Idli, Dosa, Vada, Uttapam, plain Rice alike.
Region wise variations of Sambhar
Though Sambhar is an International dish yet there is no one recipe for it. This South Indian lentil and vegetable based curry varies regionally. Andhra Sambhar uses less lentils and is more spicy. Karnataka Sambhar (Udupi) uses jaggery along with spices and coconut. This gives it a lightly spiced, sweet and sour flavour.
Kerala Sambhar uses more than one vegatable as opposed to its Tamil counterpart. Kerala Sambhar uses dry red chilli, mustard, curry leaves, tamarind and tomato. Tamil Sambhar is medium spicy, sour and not sweet.
Our recipe is based on Kerala and Tamil flavours of Sambhar.
South Indian Spread I recently made and served
I was feeling fancy, so cooked up an entire South Indian Spread and served it on a Banana Leaf as it is done traditionally. Disclaimer: I am a North Indian, so its not an everyday thing for me. coming back to the pic shown above, it includes this Thick Mushy Sambhar, instant Rawa Idli with some cashews and chana dal, mildly spiced curd rice which is our go-to dish for any tummy trouble, three ingredient onion chutney (which doubles up as a wonderful onion dip for chips, pita bread if you don’t temper it and a flavorful coconut chutney). Shall update the other recipes soon.
Shop the ingredients:
- Pressure Cooker
- Mixer Grinder or Blender (I use and recommend Sujata Supermix)
- Tadka Pan
- Measuring Cups and Spoons (I use and recommend this Combo)
- Pigeon Pea (Arhar Dal)
- Yellow Lentil (Moong Dal)
- Ghee/ Olive Oil/ Coconut Oil
- Mustard seeds (Rai)
- Asafoetida Hing/ Heeng
- Dried Red chilli (whole)
- Sambhar Powder
- Red chilli powder
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To Pressure cook:
- ⅓ Cup Pigeon Pea (Arhar Dal)
- 1 Tbsp Yellow Lentil (Moong Dal)
- 1 Cup Mix vegetables (roughly chopped) Pumpkin, bottle gourd, beans, capsicum, carrot
- 1.5 Cup Water
- ½ Tsp Turmeric(Haldi)
- Salt To taste (swadanusar)
- 1 Onion Big size
- 3 Tomato Medium size
- 1 inch Ginger
- 2 Green chilli adjust according to taste
- 5 cloves Garlic optional- I haven't added
- 1 Tbsp Ghee (clarified butter) (any neutral tasting oil to make it vegan)
- 1 Tsp Mustard seeds (Rai)
- 2 sprigs Curry Leaves
- 2 Pinches Asafoetida Hing/ Heeng
- 2 Dried Red chilli (whole) optional
- 4 Tbsp Sambhar Powder
- ½ Tsp Red chilli powder
- 1 lemon size tamarind soak and take out pulp
To Pressure cook:
- Add everything under this heading together and pressure cook till cooker releases 4 whistles.1 Tbsp Yellow Lentil (Moong Dal), 1 Cup Mix vegetables (roughly chopped), 1.5 Cup Water, ½ Tsp Turmeric(Haldi), Salt To taste (swadanusar)
- Add everything together and puree in a grinder1 Onion, 3 Tomato, 1 inch Ginger, 2 Green chilli, 5 cloves Garlic
- Heat Ghee/ oil and add mustard seeds and curry leaves along with asofoetida.
- When mustard seeds have crackled, add the puree and saute till it leaves the sides.
- In the meanwhile, when the vegetables have been boiled, mash them to the desired consistency.
- After the tadka is sauteed well, add in sambhar powder, red chilli powder.1 Tbsp Ghee (clarified butter), 1 Tsp Mustard seeds (Rai)
- Add in the mashed vegetables mix and tamarind pulp. Add water, if desired. Taste and adjust seasoning. Boil it for 15-20 minutes and serve hot with a dish of your choice. Here I have served it with Rawa Idli2 sprigs Curry Leaves
Below segment gives an approximate of the nutrition facts (using a third party calculator) of the recipe.