Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Idli/dosa sambhar

This is my favorite home-made idli sambhar recipe. This recipe is heavily adapted from Dad's sambhar recipe (dad makes the most amazing idli sambhar, even outshining mom) and for all its simplicity tastes awesome with idlis. Of course, you can have it with dosas too but how do you soak up mouths full of sambhar with every bite then?

Idli/Dosa sambhar

Idlis dunked in sambhar

Ingredients (makes enough for 3-4, depending on how much of dunkers your eaters are)
1/3 cup tur dal
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 medium tomatoes, roughly squeezed into pieces with hands (yes, it somehow *is* tastier this way. I usually wash the dal, add water and then squeeze the tomatoes into this water)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 medium potato, peeled, cut into cubes
1 medium carrot, peeled, cut into cubes
1 heaped tsp red chili powder
3 heaped tsp coriander powder
1 tbsp fresh, chopped, coriander leaves

For tempering:
1 generous tsp ghee
1 tsp oil, preferably sesame oil
1 broken red chili
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp jeera seeds
A pinch hing
1 sprig curry leaves

1. Pressure cook the dal along with water, the squeezed tomatoes, turmeric and a few drops of oil for 10 minutes after the first whistle sounds. Mash well with a dal-masher/back of a flat spoon and set aside.
2. Add a little quantity of oil to a pan and add in the sliced onions. Fry them.
3. When the onions change color, add in 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower flame, cover and cook for 5 minutes. This onion water forms the base for the sambhar.
4. Add in the coriander powder and the cut potato and carrot pieces. Bring to a boil, lower flame, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
5. Add in the chili powder. The veggies should be almost done at this point. Else, cover and cook for a few more minutes.
6. Add in the mashed dal. Bring to a boil, cover and then simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Add salt
7. To temper, add the ghee, sesame oil and broken red chili to a small pan. Add in the jeera and wait for it to crackle a bit, then add in the mustard. When it splutters, add in the hing and the curry leaves in quick succession. Add the entire mixture to the bubbling sambhar.
8. Top the sambhar with coriander leaves, cover the pan and turn off heat.

Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving with hot idlis and/or dosas.

1. Other veggies like ladies finger/brinjal/beans etc can be added. In case of "sticky" vegetables fry it along with the onions before adding water.
2. More water can be added after adding in the dal to bring the sambhar to the consistency you like. I like my sambhar medium thick.
3. Adjust red chili powder quantity to your taste.
4. Yes, there is no need to add separate sambhar powder. You can add in some if you want when you add in the chili powder (adjust chili powder quantity accordingly) but it really is not necessary.
5. No tamarind either. The tomatoes add in sufficient sourness.
6. Don't skip the ghee. It adds a wonderful flavor to the sambhar.

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