Sambar for Idlis and Dosas

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mom’s out there!

My mom came up from San Diego for the weekend and for mother’s day I made idli sambhar. My sambhar recipe was inspired by two recipes from Aayi’s recipe bog. It was partly due to this blog that I got inspired to try cooking different types of Indian food. I have tried two of her sambhar recipes, a Konkani Sambar and a Kannada Sambar exactly like the recipes and then have modified them over time, with the help of Tejas’s tastebuds, to come up with my own sambhar recipe. This time Tejas called my sambhar “Ridiculous!” so I think it’s a keeper.

This sambar doesn’t use sambar powder and is fairly labor intensive, but well worth it! If you want a quicker sambar recipe, try this yummy sambar!

We had this with last minute idlis from the box. They come out so fluffy!

Dal & Veggie
2 cups chopped vegetables (today I used cauliflower, carrots, eggplant, okra and cabbage, but I just use whatever is on hand)
1/2 toor dal

To Grind
1/2 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 tablespoon urad dal
5 tablespoons desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon coriander powder (you could use whole as well, but we have fresh ground that is so good)

Main Prep
1/2 tablespoon oil
1 onion diced
3 green chilis chopped
2 roma or small tomatoes chopped
1 teaspoon tumeric
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Pinch hing (asafoetida)
2 tablespoons natural tamarind paste (I like Ashoka Natural Tamarind Paste) or 1 keylime sized ball of tamarind soaked and strained
1 keylime sized chunk of jaggery

1/2 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin (jeera)
2 cloves
1 small piece cinnamon bark
3 red chilis
6-7 curry leaves

  1. In a pressure cooker, add the dal, vegetables and 4 cups of water the cooker. Cook for about 10-12 minutes after the first whistle (I start the cooker on high, then lower it to medium after the first whistle). Blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the first 1/2 tablespoon of oil in medium stock pan. Add fenugreek and urad dal and cook until the dal begins to golden. Add the dried coconut and cook stirring constantly until the coconut browns. Add the coriander powder and cook for just a minute or so more. Grind the fenugreek, urad dal, coconut and coriander mixture to a fine paste (I use a coffee grinder). Wipe out pan.
  3. Heat the next 1/2 tablespoon oil in the same pan and add onions and cook until translucent. Add green chilis and cook for a couple of minutes. Add tomatoes, turmeric, chili powder, and hing and cook until it becomes a paste. Add dal, veggies, tamarind, jaggery, water (depending on how thin you like it), and salt.
  4. Heat the last 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a tadka pan and add mustard seeds and jeera until the mustard seeds are almost about to pop. Then add the cloves, cinnamon, red chilis, and curry leaves and cook until the mustard seeds are popping and the curry leaves are a little crisp.
  5. Add this to the pot and cook for a while to let the flavors meld. Serve with idli or dosa and coconut chutney.


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