In this sambar recipe, I use sambhar powder and cook the vegetables and yellow lentils (arhar dal) in a pressure cooker. Cooking in pressure cooker reduces the cooking time considerably.
Ingredients for the Sambar Recipe:
- 2 cups dal
- cleaned and chopped vegetables – bottle gourd, ladyfingers, french beans, potatoes, onions, tomatoes
- 1 ball of tamarind
- 2 tbsp sambhar powder
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp haldi powder
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- a pinch of asfoetida
For the tempering (tadka, chaunk, vagar)
- 1/2 dry red chillies
- 1tsp mustard seed
- 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
- a pinch or two of asfoetida
- 2/3 cloves garlic – chopped
- a few sprigs of curry leaves
1: Boil the lentils in a pressure cooker till they are half cooked – till 2-3 whistles. Open the lid and mash the lentils.
2: Sambhar uses tamarind juice as it lends a subtle sour flavor and taste to it. For tamarind paste, take some warm water and soak the tamarind in it for 30 mins. Once the tamarind gets soft, you then squeeze the tamarind with your palm and remove the paste. Strain it later.
3: Now add the chopped vegetables except ladyfingers and tomatoes in the pressure cooker containing the lentils and cook till one whistle. You can add the sambhar powder at this stage. In this recipe, I have used the veggies mentioned above, but you can have your own choice. Ensure that you don’t over cook the vegetables.
4: Check the pressure cooker to see if the lentils/dal and the veggies are cooked. You can now add the ladyfingers and tomatoes. Now add the haldi powder, red chilli powder, garam masala, asfoetida and sambar powder to the dal and vegetables mixture. Also add the tamarind paste and salt. Simmer for 10 minutes. The use of garam masala powder gives a spicy flavour and taste to sambar.
5: In a pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds. When it starts crackling, add the curry leaves, red chillies, garlic, fenugreek seeds and asafoetida. Fry them till they are done. Now add this mixture in the hot sambar. Immediately cover the cooker with its lid, so that the aroma and flavors from the tempering mixture gets infused with the sambar.
6: Usually, the sambar is cooked a two three hours earlier as its taste become better with time. However, I like sambar to be served to me as soon as it is made.
Tips for Making Sambar Recipe :
- For faster cooking you can soak the lentils in water for 30-45 mins before cooking them.
- Usually the vegetables are not cooked in a pressure cooker but in another pan. But cooking the vegetables in the pressure cooker saves a lot of time and also preserves the nutrients of the vegetables.