Sambar or sambhar (Kannada: ಸಾಂಬಾ, Malayalam: സാമ്പാർ, Tamil சாம்பார் (சாம்பாறு in Sri Lanka), Telugu: సాంబారు), pronounced “saambaar”, is a dish common in southern India and Sri Lanka, made of dal (lentil)(usually red gram, also called toor dal) and vegetables in a spicy tamarind and dal flour soup base. Kerala Sambar is usually poured over or alongside steamed rice. In the south of India, vada sambar and idli sambar are popular breakfast foods.
One of the stories is that it originated in the kitchen of Thanjavur Marathas ruler Shahuji during the 17th century from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Shahuji trying to make a dish called amti, experimented with pigeon peas instead of mung bean, and tamarind pulp for kokum and the court named it sambhar after the guest of the day, Sambhaji, second emperor of the Maratha Empire.
Other sources point to origin as Karnataka where sambaru padartha in Kannada means mix of spices and condiments. There is also an alternate explanation that the origin of the name is from the old Tamil word, chaampu, meaning ground or paste, in the context of grinding coconut and spices to be dissolved in tamarind pulp. This word is also the root for the unrelated South East Asian dish sambol.
There is small difference in the preparation method between different regions. Today I am going to cook here, the most popular brahmin cuisine inspired authentic Palakkadan style Sadhya Sambar!!
- Toor Dal 1/2 Cup
- Vegetables 1.5 Cups (Add Your favorite Vegetables or Use the below list)
- Drumstick 1 Nos. Cut Length wise.
- Plantain 1 Nos. Cut Length wise
- Ladies Finger 6 Nos. Cut Length Wise
- Ash gourd, Cucumber, Carrot ~ Cubed
- Tomato 1 Small ~ Cut in to Cubes
- Freshly Grated Coconut 1/2 Cup
- Coriander Seeds 2 Tablespoon (Roasted)
- Chana Dal 1 Tablespoon (Roasted)
- Fenugreek Seeds 1/4 teaspoon (Roasted)
- Dried Red Chillies 6 Nos. (Roasted)
- Urad Dal 1 Teaspoon (Roasted)
- Hing (Asafoetida Powder) 1/4 Teaspoon
- Turmeric Powder 1/4 Teaspoon
- Tamarind 1 Small (Gooseberry Sized)
- Shallots 3-4 Nos. (Optional)
- Salt, Curry Leaves, Dried Red Chilly, Coriander Leaves, Mustard Seeds, Fenugreek Seeds, Water and Coconut Oil as required
- Pressure cook Toor Dal with water(For about 2 whistle);
- Mash the cooked Dal and add all the vegetables except ladies finger and tomato into it;
- Add turmeric powder and salt, stir and listen for one more whistle; Keep it aside
- Sock the tamarind in 2-3 tablespoon of hot-water and make a pulp
- Take your favorite pan with a tablespoon of coconut oil and roast the grated coconut and few curry leaves.
- When the coconut become rich dark brown, add hing and all roasted ingredients (Coriander seeds, Chana Dal, Fenugreek Seeds, Dried Red Chillies and Urad Dal); Sauté for 1-2 minutes
- Let it cool completely and then grind it to a smooth paste adding little water
- Heat up your favorite Kadai, pour the tamarind pulp with water; when it start boiling add pressure cooked dal and vegetables, ladies finger and tomato; cook about 4-5 minutes
- Add ground coconut paste, salt (if required), curry leaves and little water; Cook it on medium flame till the gravy reaches desired consistency and keep it aside
- Heat up coconut oil in a small frying pan; Splutter Mustard Seeds, Fenugreek Seeds, Dried Red Chilly (2 Nos.), a pinch of hing (this will give a good aroma) and Curry leaves; Pour the tempering to the sambar and mix properly.
- Add chopped coriander leaves and keep covered till serve or around 15-20 minute to Let the Flavor SETTLE in.
- Serve HOT!!!!