Welcome to our world of sounds and spices
So good to see you here! Below is our song Sun God.
And below that, is a tasty surprise for you (that free gift I mentioned).
I really hope you enjoy,
Chandy’s family’s South Indian Sambar
Sambar is a delicious and nutritious south Indian stew packed that is normally eaten with rice, idlis (steamed rice cakes) or dosa (rice pancakes) but it’s super tasty with any kind of grain - couscous, quinoa, bulgur wheat etc. I find it is a very handy way of using up all those bits of leftover vegetables in the fridge.
My mum taught me how to make sambar before I left home to go to University – it’s ideal food for a student as it’s nutritious and not too expensive to make. She used to make the powder herself and I’d highly recommend that – the recipe is included here. It lasts for months and you only need a small quantity each time, so the effort of making a batch is well worth it.
It's really hard to pin down exact quantities with family recipes, so the quantities in this recipe are all rough guesses! You can adapt them to suit your own taste – if you want it to be more sour, add more tamarind and tinned tomatoes. If you want it to be less spicy, add more ghee or butter and creamed coconut.
1½ tbsp Sambar powder – home made or shop bought (see below)
2 cups of chopped vegetables (potatoes, carrots, onions, aubergine all work well but feel free to try anything! Some vegetables like onions taste better if they are sautéed first)
1 cup tinned tomatoes or 1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp Tamarind paste
One inch block of creamed coconut (optional)
½ a cup of cooked lentils (ideally toor dhal but any will do, cook them till they are nice and mushy)
1 tsp Ghee or butter
Salt to taste
2 tbsps of chopped coriander to garnish
For the tempering
½ tsp Cumin seeds
½ tsp Mustard seeds
A few curry leaves (optional)
1 dried red chilli (optional)
For the sambar powder
One cup of dried coriander seeds
One cup of channa dal
One cup of urud dal
Ten dried red chillies
Two teaspoons of whole black pepper,
Two teaspoons of whole cumin
A few pieces of cinnamon (around 2 inches long)
One cup of dried desiccated coconut.
Fry the above ingredients in a little bit of oil or dry on medium heat. Cool the mixture down before grinding in a coffee grinder (wash it out thoroughly though or your sambar mixture will smell of coffee..) Store in an air tight container (in the fridge ideally, so it keeps its flavour).
To make the tempering
Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the mustard and cumin seeds. Keep the heat high until the cumin seeds have started popping (you might want to cover the pan to avoid getting splashed) and then turn it off. Add the curry leaves and red chilli to the hot mixture. Leave to cool down.
To make sambar
Bring 4 cups of water to boil and add the chopped vegetables. When they are half cooked, add the sambar powder and let everything boil until the vegetables are almost cooked. Add the tinned tomatoes, tamarind and cooked lentils and boil for a few more minutes. Finally add the salt, creamed coconut and ghee or butter and garnish with coriander. Add the tempering. Serve piping hot!
Hope you enjoy,