Tangy Sambar Andhra Style

Tangy Sambar Andhra style

I love Sambar! A bowl of piping hot sambar is such a treat.
There is this delicious no- oil ‘Tiffin Sambar’ that I often make with idlis. I wanted to try out a different variety and requested my friend Sushma for her recipe. She very sweetly shared it along with a smart tip that the quantity of vegetables needs to be almost as much as the dal/lentils. We are looking for a soupy consistency. So here is Tangy Spicy Sambar- Andhra Style! I made my own Sambar Masala powder. If using store bought, try and look for the MTR brand of masala. Thanks for the wonderful recipe Sush ❤
So here goes (Serves 4)

½ cup tuwar/arhar dal/pigeon peas split legumes
¾ cup of chopped mixed vegetables, carrots, drumsticks, bottle gourd, shallots and tomatoes
Salt to taste
¼ tsp sugar (or a little more if you like)
¼ tsp turmeric/haldi
A small ball of tamarind, soaked and strained to get about a tbsp puree
1 heaped tbsp sambar masala powder ( I make my own. Find the recipe here)
1 Tbsp oil
¼ tsp asafoetida
½ tbsp mustard seeds/rai
10-12 curry leaves
2 whole red chillies
1 tbsp freshly grated coconut (may use desiccated coconut if fresh not available)

Pressure cook the dal with the mixed vegetables, salt and turmeric.
Open the cooker and mash the dal with the back of a ladle. Avoid mashing the vegetables.
Add the tamarind puree to the sambar.
Mix sambar masala in 4-5 tbsp of water and add to the sambar.
Boil together till the masala aroma is released ( 5-6 minutes).
For the tadka- heat oil and add asafoetida. Crackle the rai and add the curry leaves.
Take off the heat and add the whole red chillies and grated coconut.
Add the tadka to the sambar and serve hot.

If adding bhindi/okra to the sambar put all the veggies in the tadka, cook them and add to the boiled dal. In this case boil the dal only with salt and turmeric.
Later in 2 Tbsp of hot oil, add asafoetida, mustard seeds, curry leaves and then cook the shallots (use onions if shallots not available) and all the vegetables apart from tomatoes. Once vegetables are done, ass the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes and add to the dal. Delicious sambar ready!


The perfect Rawa Dosa

I learn so much at CaL every day (Chef At Large, the food forum where my food love blossomed)! I had an urge to have rawa dosa the other day and tried my buddy Amruta Iyer’s fabulous recipe with perfect results. And thanks to dear Sushma Ayyalasomayajula for her oh so yum sambar recipe.
Ams and Sush- you rock girls!
Here is the link to Amsie’s perfect rawa dosas.
And here is my plate of yum!


For the rawa dosas you need

(Makes 6-7 dosas)
A cup of coarse semolina/sooji/rawa (roasted and cooled)
3 tbsp rice flour
1/2 cup of curd
A cup and a half of water (can add more if the batter gets thick)
2 large green chillies, chopped fine
½ tsp Asafoetida/  heeng
1 medium onion, chopped fine
A small bunch or coriander, chopped fine
Salt to taste
Oil as needed for making the dosas.

Mix the rawa, rice flour,salt,curd,onions,green chillies,coriander,asafoetida and beat together with a ladle so that it blends well.
Slowly add water to make a liquidy,runny sort of batter. Rest for 15-20 minutes.
Heat a non stick pan.
Splash some water and let it evaporate.
Spread a ladle full of the batter from the outer periphery of the pan. Fill the larger gaps with very little batter, but let some gaps remain for the characteristic webbed effect of  rawa dosa.
Alternatively, scoop some batter in your palm and throw splashes of it on  the pan, creating the web. This needs practice and a safe distance from the hot pan and hence, for beginners the ladle method works better 😀
Lower the heat and drizzle oil around the dosa and over the the holes/gaps.
Cover and let cook on low heat for about 3-4 minutes.
Uncover and increase the flame to full.
Once the edges brown,flip and cook for a couple of minutes.
Serve hot!

Before making the next dosa, mix the batter well so that the semolina settled at the bottom mixes well.
If the batter feels thick, add some more water.
Let the pan heat nicely before making the next dosa.
Serve it with this wonderful Andhra style tangy Sambar like I did!


My sambar today would make my Mom say ‘Way to go’!
And I’ve got Idlis perfecto tenth time in a row!!!
IMG_20140805_173541_wmI have loved idlis for as long as I can remember. It has been the tale of a Rajasthani’s love affair with Idlis – Persistent perusal, failure, heartbreak and then sweet success. After failing multiple times I finally have worked out the to-dos and the not to-dos!

Here is my go-to recipe from Sujatha’s blog with some additional ‘gyaan’ gained from experience – my learning down the months.

Idli rice/ponni rice – 3 cups
Whole urad dal (washed)- 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds(methi daana)- 1 tsp
Salt- 1 ½ tsp (adjust as per taste)

Soak the rice and urad separately for 5-7 hours. Add fenugreek seeds to the urad  dal when soaking.
Place in the refrigerator for an hour and grind them separately in the mixer, using chilled water to grind the urad
Mix both the ground mixtures very well  and add salt (I use my hand to give it a nice whip and mix)
Leave to ferment overnight or 7-8 hours till the mixture doubles up
Gently scoop batter off the top and transfer to greased moulds. Do NOT stir and mix the batter.
Steam for 10-12 minutes. Stick a toothpick in to check. If it comes out reasonably clean, the idlis are done.
Let cool for a couple of minutes and serve hot with Sambar.


Here are the lessons I learned over the past few months-

-Use idli rice ( I used to use any at hand in the past)
-Use whole urad ( I always used split dal)
-Ratio for mixie grinding 3:1 or 21/2 :1
-Soak overnight and cool in the fridge before grinding to counter the heat. Grind using chilled water.
-Mix thoroughly before you put it for fermentation (read, ghoto/whip and mix with hands like a ‘halwaai’)
-When it is all fluffed up in the morning, scoop batter gently off the top and steam ( I used to mix the fermented mix with all my vigour with a ladle..I realize it’s a No-No totally!)



Oil free Sambar

I love my visits to the Bombay Airport. The Shiv Sagar outlet there does a mean Sambar with some delectable mini idlis. Their sambar is one of the best I have ever had and I have been attempting to recreate that. My friend and co-blogger Sujatha Arun does a delightful tiffin sambar and the basic idea for this oil-free sambar was born there. I wanted the Shiv Sagar taste but no oil. So after a few attempts I got it just as I wanted it. The sambar masala is home- made and makes all the difference. A big shout of thanks to my buddy Priya Arun for sharing her family recipe!
It also hides  a cupful of  Lauki (bottle gourd) or kaddoo (pumpkin) in it’s delicious depths and the boys down bowlfuls without a fuss. Sneaky mommy at work 😛
For the sambar masala
Akkha/Sabut Dhaniya (whole dry coriander) – 100 gms ( ½ cup)
Jeera (Cumin seeds)- 25 gms ( 1 ½ Tbsp)
Daana Methi (fenugreek seeds) – 10 grams (1/2 Tbsp)
Kashmiri red chillies,whole- 25- 30 (can use byadgiwhole chilies and some kashmiri chilli powder in case not available)
Heeng (asafetida)- a heaped tsp
Curry leaves- 25-50
Raw rice- 1 Tbsp
Tuar daal- 1 tsp
Brush a skillet/heavy bottomed pan with 2 drops of oil and roast the sabut dhaniya for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
On the same skillet roast the following one at a time
Jeera- roast and remove
Daana methi- roast and remove
Whole red chillies+ curry leaves- roast and remove.
Rice and tuar daal- roast and  heeng at the end. Remove in a minute as the heeng tends to burn fast.
Cool completely and grind.
Store in an airtight container.


For the Sambar
Arhar/Tuar daal (Moong daal works well too) – 1 cup
Lauki (Bottle gourd) or kaddoo (pumpkin),cubed- 1 cup
Onion,cubed- I
Garlic,mined- 1 tsp
Ginger,grated- 1 tsp
Green chillies,chopped fine- 1 or 2
Tomatoes, pureed- 2-3
Sambar masala- a heaped tbsp
Tamarind pulp/tamarind chutney- 1 tbsp
Kashmiri red chili powder- a heaped tsp (or less as per taste)
Curry Leaves 7-8
Salt- 1 tsp (adjust to taste)
Turmeric- ¼ tsp
Wash and soak the daal for an hour.
Rinse the daal and pressure cook it with the bottle gourd/pumpkin, onion, garlic,ginger,green chilly, salt, turmeric and enough water till well cooked.


After a whitle,lower the flame and cook for ten minutes on low heat.Open and whisk well with a balloon whisk.Keep some pieces of the vegetable out before you whisk in case you like some chunks in the sambar.


Adjust the consistency by adding more water, if it is too thick.
Add the curry leaves, tomato puree, Kashmiri red chilly powder, sambar masala and boil for 10-12 minutes on low heat.


Add the tamarind pulp/tamarind chutney and boil for another 5 minutes. (if using  tamarind pulp, add a tsp of sugar)

Serve hot with idlis ( find the recipe here )or rice.
If desired, the sambar can be tempered with a tsp of mustard seeds and some curry leaves  after crackling them in a tsp of hot oil. But one doesn’t really miss it.