Sambhar is the name collectively give to a whole host of dishes cooked with dal, vegetables and a combination of spices. There is a different recipe utilized to make sambhar for every occasion and every meal. The sambhar cooked during breakfast is different from the one cooked for lunch and might vary from the one cooked for dinner. When large quantites of sambhar is cooked for special occasions a ground masala paste is added to give it an extra special taste and aroma. This sambhar is also referred to as Hotel Sambhar.
Attended potluck party over the weekend and mine was sambhar to make for about 30-40 people. Cooking for that many people is not usually easy because even tried and trusted recipes sometime don't cooperate in such large quantities. But adding a bit of spice paste always helps and the smell is amazing, got good reviews for the sambhar all round. I saved a bit to have with some dosai the next day.
1. 1/2 Cup Toor Dal cooked in a pressure cooker with enough water(2 1/2 cups), some turmeric and few drops of oil till soft and mushy.
2. brinjal and drumsticks about 1/4 cup
3. 1/4 Red onion chopped or about 8-10 pearl onions
4. 2 tsp sambhar powder
5. 1/4 cup tamarind pulp from a cherry tomato sized ball of tamarind
6. salt to taste
7. 1/2 tsp ghee + 1/2 tsp oil
8. seasonings: mustard, curry leaves and methi seeds
9. Coriander leaves chopped
10. 1-2 cups of water
For the Paste
1. 2 tsp chana dal
2. 1 tsp coriander seeds
3. 1 red chili (or per taste)
4. few pepper corns
5. a pinch of methi seeds
6. 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
7. 1/2 tbsp fresh grated coconut
Dry roast 1-6 set aside, now add the coconut and saute till slightly brown.
Cool and make a paste
1. In a pan heat ghee and oil and add the seasonings, when mustard starts to pop add the onions and saute till translucent.
2. Now add the vegetables and saute for a few minutes.
3. Add the sambhar powder and mix well.
4. Add the tamarind pulp and the ground paste and a little bit of water and let the vegetables cook till soft
5. Now add the cooked toor dal,salt and more water if too thick.
6. Let it come to a boil, add the coriander leaves and switch off the heat.
Flavorful aromatic sambhar is now ready to be enjoyed with idlis or dosais.