Sambhar or Sambar or Kuzhambu is the dish that is common in South India and Sri Lanka. One of the popular signature dishes in the Tamilian cuisine. This dish is usually made everyday in most of the Tamilian household. It is also prepared in Karnataka and Kerala. A variant of sambar known as Pappuchaaru is more common in Andhra Pradesh.
A dish made of Tur dal or Tuvar dal (pigeon pea) cooked in pressure cooker. Tamarind soaked in water to extract the juice combined with mixed vegetables (including lady's finger, drumstick, carrot, radish, pumpkin, potatoes, tomatoes, brinjal and whole or halved onions and also other vegetables), spices (turmeric and chilli powder) and freshly ground sambar powder cooked together adding the dal and boiling the sambar well till it gives an thumping aroma all over the house.
The cooked sambar is eaten with an tempered spice mixture containing ingredients like mustard seeds, urad dal, dried red chillies, curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds and asafoetida. Fresh curry leaves and coriander leaves are added at the very end to enhance the aroma of the sambhar.
This lentil based dish goes well with rice and most of the enticing south Indian breakfast dishes like the Idli, Dosa, Uttappam and Vada. The longer the sambar is cooked the better the taste and flavors. South Indian food, people and culture are inextricably linked to a ubiquitous dish as in idli and sambhar, sambhar and rice and so on. Each state in the South prepares it with a typical variation, adapted to its taste and environment.
Sambar is reflective of a broad and ancient tradition of dal-based vegetable stews in southern India. Many regions and families of the Indian subcontinent have developed and maintained their own adaptations of a dal and vegetable stew, and similar preparations are evident in such dishes known in local languages as rasam, charu, saaru, and pappuchaaru.
To prepare an explicit and delicious sambhar the main ingredient is its spices added to it. The typical and authentic ingredients of the sambar powder include toor dal, roasted lentils, coriander seeds, dried whole red chili, fenugreek seeds, coriander leaves and curry leaves, cumin, black pepper, rice, cinnamon, or other spices. This powder is prepared by pan roasting the whole spices and grinding them to a rather coarse powder with some salt optionally.
Ready made sambar powder is also available in a wide variety of brands. Regions like Kerala, coastal Karnataka (Udupi, Mangalore), Tamil Nadu where coconut is available in abundance, sambar is also made with a paste of ground coconut and spices. Minor but subtle differences in preparation and ingredients can vary the appearance and taste of the dish. Curry leaves in particular are an essential element of authentic sambar; their aroma and flavor provide with a distinct and pleasant herbal essence.
The genesis of this dish has an interesting tale linked to it. The Marathas were ruling Tanjore. Sambhoji was a great cook (the male clan members to note) and very fond of his amti with a handful of the tart kokum thrown in. In a particular season the kokum that was imported from the Maratha homeland did not reach the bare larder of the king's kitchen. Sambhoji was cooking and the minions were shivering in their dhothis to tell him that his favorite dish could not be made that day.
A smart Vidushak, who had been elected sous chef for the day, decided to solve the problem. He whispered in the king's ears that the locals used very little tamarind pulp to gain a better sourness to the curry and that Sambhoji should experiment with this variation. The dish with the tuvar dal, vegetables, spices and the tamarind pulp was cooked and served by the king to his coterie. The court declared the dish an outstanding preparation (they had no choice with the king as Chef) and thus was born sambhoji's amti that in time became sambhar.
The Keralites cannot cook without a wee bit of coconut, be it sweet, savoury, curry, chutney, dry or wet vebggies, tiffin or meals. So the sambhar moved to Kerala. It was taken by the migrant Pattars from Tanjore to Kerala when the Travancore Maharaja invited the learned pundits to come to the Cheranaadu temples and live off the rice donations. The ground spice paste with coconut, roasted dhania seeds, chana dal, red chilli is till today the base for sambhar in a Kerala home. The inclusion of the coconut milk in their cooking was an adapted taste from the local Namboodiris.
The Karnataka people have a unique concept. They make one dish with the coarsely ground paste of pepper, dhania and jeera seeds, red chilli, dal and coconut or copra and made into a vegetable stew. The curry is made quite watery and allowed to sit after cooking.
The liquid that floats is laddled out and used as rasam and the thick bottom portion of the curry is eaten as sambhar. The sambhar that they cook otherwise has a dash of cinnamon and clove added that gives it the special flavour-it is used in their famous Bisi Bela Huli baath. Authentic Bisi bela has only tuvar dal, rice, puli, spices and onions. The addition of vegetables is a later development.
The sambhar in Andhra is a Chennai export. They have a penchant for various dry and wet chutneys and powders followed by charu or rasam. The pappu charu is their main curry which is made with either tuvar or moong dal, onions, tamarind pulp, red chilli and dhania powder, hing and a seasoning of mustard and methi seeds and curry leaves.
Andhra pappu chaaru is prepared the other way round where in vegetables and tamarind pulp are added to the cooked dal and then boiled. This slight variation in the method of cooking them brings in the distinction in their texture and flavor. So the sambhar dons many avatars in the four states of South India.
A two-course meal, the first consisting of sambar mixed with rice and eaten with some sort of vegetable side dish, and the second consisting of yoghurt mixed with rice, is perhaps one of the most common meals eaten in a typical southern Indian home.
To prepare the sambhar masala Heat heavy pan, over medium heat, add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns and coriander seeds, red chillies ,rice channa dal can also add little urad dal. Stir and roast for 3-4 minutes, reducing the heat if necessary to take care that the spices do not burn.
In the same pan, heat 2 teaspoons oil and roast garlic, ginger, hing, turmeric and when they start to color continue roasting. Add the pan contents to the bowl and cool along with the spices. Add all to a grinder and make it into a fine paste. For making the sambhar, heat one teaspoon of the oil in a heavy pan, over medium heat, and add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, hing , red chillies, cumin seeds, add the shallots or big cut onions ,turmeric powder, stir add curry leaves , chopped green chillies and mix vegetables add tomatoes and tamarind juice and add water.
Cook till the vegetables are half done add sambhar masala - add half the qty and save the rest to use next time in fridge when the vegetables are 3/4 cooked add mashed dal and cook for 30 min in slow flame nice fragrance of sambhar will spread all of your house add seasonings, sugar and finish of with coriander leaves. A lip smacking dish that be enjoyed with rice, idli ,dosa.
Do not miss this aromatic explicit flavorful dish. View making of Sambhar at:
|Recipe of sambhar|
|jaggery or sugar||tbsp||1|
|mix sambhar vegetables||grams||300|
|yellow dal -toordal||cup||1|
Directions | How to make Sambhar
|sambhar masala Heat heavy pan, over medium heat, and add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns and coriander seeds,red chillies ,rice channadalcan also add little urad dal,. Stir and roast for 3-4 minutes, reducing the heat if necessary to take care that the spices don't burn. . In the same pan, heat 2 teaspoons oil and roast garlic ginger ,hing ,turmeric When they start to colour continue roasting Add the pan contents to the bowl and cool along with the spices. add all to a grinder and make it into a fine paste. sambhar making Heat one teaspoon of the oil in a heavy pan, over medium heat, and add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds,hing ,red chillies (chef did not add but please do) cumin seeds, . . Add the shallots or big cut onions ,turmeric powders, stir add curry leaves ,chopped gr chillies and mix vegetables add tomatoes tamrind juice and add water and cook till the vegetables are half done add sambhar masala -add half the qty and save the rest to use next time in fridge when the vegetables are 3/4 cooked add mashed dal and cook for 30 min in slow flame nice fragrance of sambhar will spread all of your house add seasonings ,sugar and finish of with coriander leaves eanjoy with rice idli, dosa|