7 to 8 pearl onions or shallots(chote pyaaz), optional
1 medium tomato or ½ cup diced tomatoes, optional
4 to 4.5cups chopped veggies or
1 cup chopped ash gourd
1 cup chopped brinjal
1 cup chopped pumpkin
½ cup drumsticks(saijan ki phali)
½ cup snake gourd(chichinda)
¼ cup chopped french beans(beans)
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 cups water for cooking veggies
salt as required
for making varutharacha sambar masala
½ tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon chana dal(husked and split bengal gram)
½ teaspoon urad dal(husked and split black gram)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
4 to 5 dry red chilies
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds(methi seeds)
½ cup fresh grated coconut
½ cup water for grinding
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 to 2dry red chilies
12 to 15 curry leaves
⅛teaspoon asafoetida powder(hing)
pressure cooking dal
Rinse ⅓ cup tuvar dal a couple of times in water. Add the lentils in a pressure cooker. Add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
Add 1.25 cups water.
Cover and pressure cook on medium flame for 7 to 8 whistles or for 10 to 11 minutes till the dal becomes mushy and soft.
When the pressure settles down, open the lid and mash the dal well with a spoon. Cover and keep dal aside.
making tamarind pulp
Meanwhile when the dal is cooking, soak ½ tablespoon tightly packed tamarind in ⅓ cup hot water. Cover and keep aside for 20 to 30 minutes.
Later squeeze the pulp from the tamarind and add in the bowl. Keep the tamarind pulp aside.
Rinse, peel and chop all the veggies in slightly large pieces. Soak brinjals in water. If using plantains, yam or colocasia, then soak them too in salted water. You can chop the veggies and keep them ready before you cook the dal and make the sambar masala.
Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a pan.
Add 7 to 8 pearl onions or shallots and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes on a low to medium flame.
Then add ½ cup diced tomatoes and sauté for 1 minute.
Now add 4 to 4.5 cups chopped veggies and saute for a minute.
Then add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder and mix well.
Pour 2 cups water. mix well.
Add salt as required and mix again.
Cover and cook veggies till they are tender and done. Do not over cook them. Do check when the veggies are cooking. Cooking veggies on a medium-low flame takes about 20 to 25 minutes.
making varutharacha sambar masala
When the veggies are cooking, you can make the varutharacha sambar masala. To make the masala, in a small frying pan, heat ½ tablespoon coconut oil.
Keep the flame to a low and add 1 teaspoon chana dal and ½ teaspoon urad dal.
Stirring often fry them till they become golden.
Do stir often for uniform cooking of the dals.
When the dals have become golden, add 1 tablespoon coriander seeds and mix well.
Next add 4 to 5 dry red chilies (broken and seeds removed) and mix well.
Now add ¼ teaspoon methi seeds and again mix.
Then add ½ cup fresh grated coconut. mix again.
Stirring non-stop roast the coconut till it becomes golden. Do not burn or over brown the coconut.
Once the coconut has become golden, remove the pan from fire and keep it down on kitchen countertop. Stir so that the heat gets distributed and the coconut does not roast more. Let this sambar masala mixture become warm or cool down. If the veggies are cooked by this time, then switch off the flame and keep them aside.
Add the roasted coconut+spices in a grinder jar.
Add ½ cup water and grind to a smooth paste. Keep aside.
making varutharacha sambar
The veggies will be done by now. Check them if they are cooked and softened.
First add the tamarind pulp.
Then add the mashed dal.
Next add the sambar masala paste. mix very well.
Keep the pan on a low to medium flame.
Simmer sambar till it comes to a boil. Stir at intervals. Then cover and keep sambar aside.
tempering varutharacha sambar
Heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a small pan or tadka pan.
Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds and let them crackle.
Once the mustard seeds crackle, then add 2 dry red chilies and 12 to 15 curry leaves.
Stir and fry till the red chilies change their color.
Lastly add ⅛ teaspoon asafoetida powder. Mix and then switch off the flame.
Immediately pour the tempering ingredients in the sambar.
Cover and keep aside for some minutes for the flavors to mingle. Then stir and serve the sambar.
You can serve varutharacha sambar with steamed rice and accompany a thoran and a pachadi by the side.