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 every day in most of the Tamilian household. It is also prepared in Karnataka and Kerala, and Andhra.
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 anthumping aroma all over the house.
The cooked sambar is eaten with an tempered spice mixture containing ingredients likemustard seeds, urad dal, dried red chillies, curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds and asafetida. . Fresh curry leaves and coriander leaves are added at the very end to enhance the aroma of the sambhar.
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 pappu chaaru. Toor dal or Tuvar dal or Tur dal or Arhar dal (yellow dal) is a whole lentil, yellow in color with a tan jacket but are usually skinned and split.
They are mild and have a nutty flavor. Tur Dal is a very vital ingredient in preparing dal for a daily meal like Plain dal, Sambar and also used in preparation of Rasam. Dal is one of my most vital elements that I love eating with hot rice. Dal can also be spelled in many ways like the “Dahl”, “Daal”, “Dhal”, or the “Parippu”, “Paruppu” and “Pappu” because of the wide cultural heritage and multifaceted languages that we have in our Country. Dal is a preparation of pulses (dried lentils, peas or beans) which have been stripped of their outer hulls and split.
Dals are also commonly available like the whole pulses known as sabut dal or the split dal known as dhuli dal. The hulling of a pulse is to improve digestibility and palatability. There are over 50 different varieties of pulses in India & Pakistan. Dal is prepared like a thick stew with mild spices and seasoned with fresh curry leaves (also called Karipak) and coriander leaves (known as cilantro) to give an earthy flavor. Dal (dried lentil) is low in fat and high in protein, fibre and nutritious.
Below listed are some of my favourite Sambar/ Sambhar recipes that I love to eat and is also almost cooked at every household in south India:
Chow chow Sambar Chow chow sambar is a traditional sambar preparation popular in and around the districts of Tamil Nadu. Sambar is generally prepared at every home with any vegetable, lentils and spices cooked together in a tangy soup. In this recipe, chow chow or chayote is added and cooked with lentil to make an excellent dish. The dish is creamy, smooth and a brilliant combination of all flavours.