Sambhar (Indian lentil-stew)
Serves: 4 – 6
This is a very popular Southern Indian lentil-stew, especially as an accompaniment to dosai.
It is dead easy to prepare (once you have prepared your Sambhar powder), incredibly healthy and a great way to use up the lentils you probably have left over from winter soups.
Let it simmer and double the recipe so you have plenty leftover for lunch.
100gm Yellow lentils or Tour Dal
¼ tsp Turmeric
1 cup Tomato puree (passata)
1 medium-size onion, diced
1 tbsp Sambhar powder*
¼ tbsp Tamarind concentrate
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
Salt to taste
*Sambhar powder (makes plenty; stores for 6-months)
1 ½ cups coriander seeds
1 cup dried red chillis, broken into small pieces
2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 ½ tsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
½ inch cinnamon stick
⅓ cup unsweetened dried coconut, shredded
¼ cup firmly packed fresh curry leaves
1 tsp asafoetida powder**
For the Sambhar
- Cook the lentils with the turmeric in approximately 2 litres of water until soft and mushy.
- Add the tomatoes and onions and cook until they are soft.
- Add the Sambhar powder, tamarind concentrate, fresh curry leaves and salt to taste and bring to the boil. Simmer for a bit.
- Check the seasoning, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot.
- Heat small saucepan over low heat. Separately dry-roast coriander, chilli peppers, fenugreek, mustard, cumin and cinnamon until fragrant and only lightly coloured. Place in a bowl.
- Toast coconut in pan, stirring, until lightly browned. Add to spices.
- Dry-roast curry leaves, tossing often, until crisp. Add to spices with asafoetida. Mix well and let cool.
- Place mixture in airtight container until ready to use. (Will keep for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.) Just before using, grind to a powder in spice grinder and use as recipe indicates.
** Enhances colour and flavour and settles the stomach; unless you have it or feel inclined to get it, you can live without.