Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Recommended Posts

Good morning.

My wife has thrown down the gauntlet and asked me to make vada, idli and sambar for her this weekend. The vada and idli are no problem, but I need help with the sambar. I have been searching through eGullet, the interweb and my cookbooks, but so far, no luck. I would appreciate it if the kind people here would post their favorite recipe and tips for making sambar.

Thank you!

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

So you can make idli and vada but not sambar? Interesting. Do you mean that you do not know how to make sambar at all, or are you just having trouble getting the taste right? Because a quick google will draw you up many sambar recipes, and many Indian cookbooks these days have a sambar recipe too. I'm sure you know the basics - boil toor dal, soak dried tamarind in hot water, etc. Or are you not looking for a recipe for the whole dish sambar, but for the sambar powder itself?

Link to post
Share on other sites

So you can make idli and vada but not sambar? Interesting. Do you mean that you do not know how to make sambar at all, or are you just having trouble getting the taste right? Because a quick google will draw you up many sambar recipes, and many Indian cookbooks these days have a sambar recipe too. I'm sure you know the basics - boil toor dal, soak dried tamarind in hot water, etc. Or are you not looking for a recipe for the whole dish sambar, but for the sambar powder itself?

It is more along the line of not finding a recipe that meets my wife's taste. When I look at the recipes online, I don't know which are authentic recipes and which are Americanized.

Idli and vada are not difficult. I have a baking background, so these pastries, for lack of a better term, tie into old skills of mine.

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I've not ever heard idlis being refered to as pastries!

Anyway, I'm not really sure what you mean by americanized. Have a look on one of the many blogs run by those who are South Indian or of South Indian descent and I'm sure you will find a good recipe. The key thing to remember is that sambar is made with variations all over South Indian. Some use coconut in the sambar powder and some don't; some add a little bit of jaggery to the sambar whilst some don't, and so on. So, there is room for a few differences between recipes.

As a rough guide to making sambar, here are the main points. Cook toor dal with a little turmeric and water. When cooked, add whatever vegetables you fancy (I recommend drumsticks), sambar powder and tamarind paste. Don't use pre-made tamarind paste. You will get so much more flavour by soaking dried tamarind in hot water and squeezing out as much paste/ tamarind water as possible. If you like, you can add a little bit of jaggery, but this is optional and does not appear in all sambars. When vegetables are done and tamarind has lost its raw taste, turn off heat. Finally, make a tadka of mustard seeds, cumin, fenugreek seeds, a little asafetida, dried red chillies and curry leaves. When mustard seeds have popped and fenugreek is a shade darker (not too dark, or it will be bitter), add to sambar. I like a little fresh coriander in my sambar, right before serving.

Sambar can contain lots of vegetables, or just one kind. Sometimes the vegetables are fried a little before they are added to the toor dal, especially the little onions that are added to sambar whole. Good veggies for sambar are mooli, carrot, green beans, drumsticks, okra, aubergine, small whole onions, tomato...you get the idea. Sambar should not be too thick, but it is thicker than rasam. Here is a great recipe for sambar powder. You will notice that this sambar powder does not contain coconut, though some do. You can also buy reasonable sambar powder from most Indian grocery stores, if you don't want to make it fresh. I tend to make a big batch of sambar powder, as I use it up quite quickly. Some sambar recipes don't call for a pre-made powder, but for a spice paste that you make fresh for the sambar. These often contain coconut.

I hope this is enough to be going on with. Remember that sambar is a versatile dish that goes well with rice and dosas as well as idlis and vada. Happy cooking!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Jenni, thanks for the info on sambhar. I was watching Vahrehvah chef, Sanjay Thumma do his version of Sambhar and can't wait to try it one day. The tamarind is something I have not worked with but one time, but he showed how to soak it to extract the juice and flavor. I would like the flavors of South India from what I have learned so far. Making the sambhar powder is shown in his video also.

Bonnie

'Variety is the spice of life'

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is very good timing!

I am right now eating sambhaar I made using a recipe from eGullet's own Suvir. I have never eaten it before, so I don't know what it is "supposed" to taste like but my taste buds are singing! The flavour is complex, intriguing and if I hadn't made it, I would have a very hard time picking what is in it (which is to say that the flavours complement each other well and don't dominate).

I found it here, in the dhal thread.

Note that in the original post he forgot to give the amount of toor dal needed, so scroll down a few more posts and he writes it in.

Hope this is to your taste :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is very good timing!

I am right now eating sambhaar I made using a recipe from eGullet's own Suvir. I have never eaten it before, so I don't know what it is "supposed" to taste like but my taste buds are singing! The flavour is complex, intriguing and if I hadn't made it, I would have a very hard time picking what is in it (which is to say that the flavours complement each other well and don't dominate).

I found it here, in the dhal thread.

Note that in the original post he forgot to give the amount of toor dal needed, so scroll down a few more posts and he writes it in.

Hope this is to your taste :)

Sadly, that recipe calls for tamcon, which I fully believe should be banned! It does not have the correct tamarind flavour!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...
  • Similar Content

    • By Sheel
      Prawn Balchao is a very famous Goan pickle that has a sweet, spicy and tangy flavor to it. 
      For the balchao paste you will need:
      > 8-10 kashmiri red chillies
      > 4-5 Byadagi red chillies
      > 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
      > 1/2 tsk turmeric powder 
      > 1 tsp peppercorn
      > 6 garlic cloves
      > 1/2 tsp cloves
      > 1 inch cinnamon stick
      > Vinegar 
      First you will need to marinate about 250 grams of prawns in some turmeric powder and salt. After 15 minutes deep fry them in oil till them become golden n crisp. Set them aside and add tsp vinegar to them and let it sit for 1 hour. Now, make a paste of all the ingredients mentioned under the balchao paste and make sure not to add any water. In the same pan used for fryin the prawns, add in some chopped garlic and ginger. Lightly fry them and immediately add one whole chopped onion. Next, add the balchao paste amd let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the prawns and cook until the gravy thickens. Finally add 1 tsp sugar and salt according to your taste. Allow it to cool. This can be stored in a glass jar. Let this mature for 1-3 weeks before its use. Make sure never to use water at any stage. This can be enjoyed with a simple lentil curry and rice.
    • By Deeps
      This is one of my daughter favorite dishes, being mild and less spicy she loves this rice dish.  Its super easy to make and goes well with most Indian curries.
      Do try this out and I am sure you will be happy with the results.
       

       
      Prep Time : 5 mins
      Cook Time: 5 mins
      Serves: 2
       
      Ingredients:
      1 cup rice(basmati), cooked
      1/2 cup coconut, shredded or grated
      1 green chili, slit
      1 dried red chili
      1 1/2 tablespoon oil/ghee(clarified butter)
      1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
      1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
      1/2 tablespoon chana dal(split chickpeas)
      1/2 tablespoon urad dal(split black gram)
      1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
      A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
      Few curry leaves
      Salt to taste
       
      Directions
      1) Heat oil/ghee(clarified butter) in a pan in medium flame. I used coconut oil here because it tastes best for this dish.
      2) Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal(split chickpeas), urad dal(split black gram), green chili, dried red chili, ginger and curry leaves. Fry this for 30 seconds in medium flame. The trick is to ensure that these are fried but not burned.
      3) Add a pinch of hing(asafoetida) and mix well.
      4) Now add the cooked rice and coconut. Stir well for about 15 to 20 seconds and switch off the flame.
      5) Finally add salt into this and mix well. You could add peanuts or cashew nuts if you prefer. Goes well with most curries.
    • By loki
      Sweet Eggplant Pickle

      This is an Indian pickle, some would call a chutney, that I made up from several sources and my own tastes. It is based it on my favorite sweet brinjal (eggplant here in the US) pickle available commercially. It has onion and garlic, which are often omitted in some recipes due to dietary restrictions of some religious orders. It also has dates which I added on my own based on another pickle I love. I also used olive oil as mustard oil is not available and I like it's taste in these pickles. Use other oils if you like. This has more spices than the commercial type - and I think it's superior. I avoided black mustard seed, fenugreek, and cumin because almost all other pickles use these and they start to taste the same. One recipe from Andhra Pradesh used neither and I followed it a little. It's wonderful with all sorts of Indian foods - and also used for many other dishes, especially appetizers.
      SPICE MIX (Masala)
      4 Tbs coriander seeds
      3 hot chilies (I used a very hot Habanero type, so use more if you use others)
      18 cardamom pods
      2 inches cinnamon
      24 cloves
      1 1/2 Tbs peppercorns
      MAIN INGREDIENTS
      1 cups olive oil
      4 inches fresh ginger, minced fine, about 1/2 cup
      6 cloves garlic, minced
      1 large onion finely chopped
      3 lb eggplant, diced, 1/4 inch cubes
      1/2 lb chopped dates
      1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
      2 cups rice vinegar (4.3 percent acidity or more)
      2 cups brown sugar
      2 Tbs salt
      2 tsp citric acid
      Spice Mix (Masala)

      1. Dry roast half the coriander seeds in a pan till they begin to brown slightly and become fragrant - do not burn. Cool.

      2. Put roasted and raw coriander seeds and all the other spices in a spice mill and grind till quite fine, or use a mortar and pestle. Put aside.

      Main Pickle

      1. Heat half the oil and fry ginger till slightly browned, slowly.

      2. Add garlic, onion, and half the salt and fry slowly till these begin to brown a bit too.

      3. Add eggplant, turmeric, and spice mix (Masala) and combine well. Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

      4. Add rest of ingredients, including rest of the salt and olive oil and heat slowly to a boil.

      5. Boil for about 5 minutes. Add a little water if too thick - it should be nearly covered with liquid, but not quite - it will thin upon cooking so wait to add the water till heated through.

      6. Bottle in sterilized jars and seal according to your local pickling instructions. This recipe will be sufficiently acidic.
    • By loki
      Sour Tomatillo Achar

      Made this one up from a recipe for lemons. It really works for tomatilloes. A unique spice mix, and really sour for a 'different' type of pickle, or achar. It is based on a Marwari recipe - from the arid north-western part of India. Tomatilloes are not used in India (or at least not much) but are quite productive plants in my garden while lemons or other sour fruits are not possible to grow here. No vinegar or lemon juice is used, because tomatilloes are very acidic and don't need any extra.

      Ingredients
      3 lbs tomatilloes husks removed and quartered
      1/4 cup salt
      1 Tbs black mustard seeds
      2 star anise buds
      10 dried chilies (I used very hot yellow peppers)
      1 tsp fenugreek seeds
      2 inch ginger (ground to a paste)
      2 TBL dark brown sugar
      1/2 cup sugar

      1. In a large bowl, put the tomatilloes and sprinkle salt over them. Cover it and leave for a day, mixing occasionally.

      2. Next day drain the tomatilloes.

      3. Dry roast the star anise (put in first as these take longer, the black mustard, and the chilie pods (add last and barely brown in places). Cool.

      4. Grind the roasted spices with the fenugreek and put aside.

      5. Add tomatilloes, ginger, sugars, and everything else to a large pan and heat to boiling.

      6. Cook till fully hot and boiling.

      7. Fill half-pint jars and seal.
    • By rxrfrx
      South Indian Style Broccoli
      Serves 2 as Main Dish.
      Broccoli isn't a traditional Indian vegetable, but I designed this recipe to use up leftover boiled broccoli in the style of cauliflower.

      3 c broccoli, cut up and cooked
      3 T oil
      2 T cumin seeds
      2 tsp tumeric
      2 tsp corriander powder
      2 green chilis, sliced thinly
      1/2 c chopped cilantro
      salt, to taste

      Fry the spices in the oil until they smoke a little. Add the broccoli and chilis and fry for a couple minutes to get the flavors mixed. Add salt to taste and stir in the cilantro before serving with chapati.
      Bonus recipe: just before adding the cilantro, crack 2-4 eggs into the pan and stir them around.
      Keywords: Main Dish, Side, Easy, Vegan, Vegetables, Indian
      ( RG2107 )
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...