Tuesday, 26 August 2008


As promised yesterday, this is a quick version of SAMBAR, using a premixed SAMBAR curry powder. You can find this at any Indian grocers.

SAMBAR is a vegetable and lentil (toor aka toovar lentil is usually used) dish common in South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisines. As the ancestry of the Indian population in Malaysia and Singapore is predominantly from this region, it is also very popular there.

The toor dal is cooked until it crumbles. Tamarind pulp is soaked in water to extract the flavour and then the pulp is discarded. A mixture of ground spices known as SAMBAR powder (which contains roasted coriander seeds, chillies, lentils, and other spices), the tamarind and vegetables such as okra, carrots, aubergines, etc are added to the dhal.

2 cups toor lentils – soaked overnight if possible (this quickens the cooking process)
1 tsp turmeric powder
8 dried chillies – torn into 2
6 to 8 cups water
1 tsp oil
Salt to taste – around 1 tsp
1 heaped tbsp tamarind pulp – mixed with 1 cup water to extract juice
4 tbsp sambar curry powder
Vegetables of choice – I used carrots and aubergines
1 cup desiccated coconut – dry pan fried until golden brown
2 sprigs curry leaves
1 tbsp mustard leaves
Extra oil – about 2 tbsp

In a deep saucepan, put the dhal, water, chillies, turmeric and 1 tsp oil and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum and cook the dhal until it is soft and has split.

Add in the vegetables, tamarind juice and sambar powder. When the vegetables are nearly cooked, add in the coconut. Check seasoning and turn the heat down (not off).

In a small pan (with a lid), heat the extra oil on medium heat and add the curry leaves and mustard seeds. Cover immediately as the mustard seeds will start popping (and make a mess everywhere!). When the mustard seeds have stopped popping (around 30 secs or so), turn off the heat and add this mixture to the dhal. Mix well, turn the heat up and bring to the boil for 2 mins. Turn off the heat and serve hot with ROTI CANAI or STRING HOPPERS.

No comments: