Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kadamba Sambar ( Mixed-Vegetable Lentil Soup)

October 18th 2010

Sambar is to a south indian meal what bread is to American Cuisine, or cheese is to  Italian cuisine. It is kind of the main entree when you prepare a south indian meal consisting of these lentil soups - sambar, rasam and the like. 

Sambar can be made with many types of vegetables - onions, drumstick, potato, spinach, okra  (vendakka) etc. Kadambam means a mix. The first thing that comes to my mind is the Kadambam string of flowers that are sold that one would wear on their hair. It is a mix of orange, white flowers and some green leaves/stalks. I am somehow very fond of this highly colorful beautiful concoction. Similarly a Kadamba sambar means one in which you use many different vegetables and allow the flavors to all come together. You can use any of the above and add carrots, cauliflowers etc. Try to not add too many and too different types as you will not be able to savor the flavors.

This is served with rice and a side of any vegetable and of course some appalam/papadam or  karuvadam would be complete bliss!



Difficulty level : Medium

Time: 20 min ( Prep Time), 20 min ( Cooking Time)

Ingredients
  • Toor dhal ( 1 cup) cooked in the pressure cooker with water in the ratio 1:3
  • Tamarind ( a small lemon size ball)  or 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • Vegetables ( onions, capsicum, carrot, okra, brinjal) - cut in medium size about 1 1/2 cup
  • Tomates -2 nos - blend into juice 
  • sambar powder - 2 tbsps
  • Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  • oil
  • mustard ( 1 tbsp)
  • urad dhal  (1 tbsp)
  • red chilly ( 2 nos)
  • curry leaves ( 3 nos)
  • cilantro (choppped into pieces) to season
  • Salt to taste
Method de Preparation
  1. Cook toor dal well in pressure cooker, and keep aside. Allow 3 whistles or equivalent.
  2. Extract tamarind juice by soaking it water, squeezing pulp, and repeat till water no longer turns brown in color. Easy way is to heat the tamarind in water for a  min in the microwave. This softens the pulp and allows you to extract the juice easily. This should yield about a cup or a 1 1/2 of tamarind water. Alternate is to use 1 tbsp tamarind paste.
  3. Take oil (about 2 tbsps) in a vessel, when heated, add mustard and allow to splutter.
  4. Add the red chilly and urad dhal and when slightly brown add the onions.
  5. Saute till half done, add the other vegetables.
  6. Keep medium heat and saute till well cooked. Add a little bit of salt and turmeric.
  7. When well cooked (squeeze vegetable to check- brinjal is the BLACK SHEEP here), add the tamarind juice.
  8. Allow to boil for about 4-5 min till the raw smell goes. In the meantime make the tomato puree in the blender.
  9. Add the tomato puree to the tamarind vegetable solution. Add a pinch of turmeric if needed and half the quantity of sambar powder.
  10. When tomato juice is cooked well ( raw smell goes - 2 mins or so), add required quantity of thoor dhal. [ If you are novice how do you know what is the required quantity? - Required quantity simply means adding enough thoor dhal such that the tangy taste of the tamarind is neutralized by this lentil, you can add 3/4 of the quantity mentioned above, take a quick taste and add the rest if required. Another hint is you will see the color change from a dark brown to more of a light brown as you add the dhal.]
  11. To this add the remaining quantity of sambar powder (take out any lumps) and required amount of salt and allow the whole mix to come together. About 2-3 mins. Turn off heat once you notice slight bubbles of heat in the liquid.
  12. Garnish with curry leaves and cilantro and serve hot with a rice and a tsp of ghee.       
Warning:  This is not a dish that is easy to master or of fixed proportions. I would try to make it at least thrice before you give up. Trust me once you master it, the taste and aroma will be worth it. And you will also start to notice the mediocre quality of sambar served in most Indian restaurants outside of India, don't say I did not warn you!

Variations:  You could add potatoes or cauliflower or drumstick too to the vegetables and skip the onions if you like.





4 comments:

Shalini said...

wow!! kadamba sambar looks delicious n inviting. would love to hav some with rice n papad:)

Roshan said...

kadamba sambar looks gorgeous...nice clicks...

Priya said...

I love these sort of mixed veggies sambar, simply delicious..

Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes

Anu Karthik said...

@ Shalini: come home soon :)
@ Roshan: thanks.
@ Priya: Thanks very much.

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