Archive for the ‘Sambar’ Category

Back to Basics: Home made Sambhar Powder

Friday, August 27th, 2010

When is enough never enough? I’d say with Sambhar powder :)

I have three big plastic containers filled with sambhar powder, sitting in my freezer (best way to store them), made by my mom. She makes it a point to pack kilos of sambhar powder, paruppu podi(dal powder for rice), kootu podi (dal powder for vegetables), idli milagai podi(gun powder), pickles, vadams etc etc to bring back when we go home. Whenever some relative travels this side, her first question is always,” Do you have enough sambhar powder or shall I send some”?.

It is alright with mom if her dear daughter and SIL go without electricity if a Hurricane hits but the kitchen should be stocked with sambhar powder 😉

Jokes apart, the taste of sambhar with homemade sambhar powder is awesome! Once, only once when the stock was over I have bought store bought powder, N and I felt that store bought powder does not taste like the typical Iyer sambar powder that we are used to. I made a call home and within a few weeks I got a big pack of sambar powder from home, thanks to some folks traveling back and forth. Besides, these make good instant gifts with unexpected friends- you just have to ask and you’ll know.

I feel guilty everytime I ask her but I realized it gives mom satisfaction. Once when I was telling this story to a relative old enough to be my grandma, she cooly said, “My daughter has a 10 year old daughter and I still make sambhar powder for her”…So I decided to be guilt free and enjoy these simple pleasures that you cant get anywhere else.

Now there are two different sambhar powders, one that is sundried and ground in the food mill, the other called as arachu vitta sambhar powder(freshly ground sambhar paste instead of a powder), you can also get the taste of arachu vitta sambhar by just sprinkling a teaspoon of the powder while using regular/store bought powders.

I guess there is no specific recipe for the powder as mom’s have their own recipe- adding extra coriander seeds or pepper or cumin to varying proportions.

Method 1:

Ingredients:

Toor Dal: 1/2 kg
Chana Dal- 1/2 Kg
Coriander seeds- 3/4 kg
Dried red chilies- 1/4 kg
Fenugreek seeds- 25g
Thick Asafoedita(not powder)- 50 g

How to: First fry fenugreek seeds to a golden brown color. Keep it aside. Then fry chana dal, toor dal, dry red chilies and coriander seeds in the same order. Cool.

Fry asafoetida in oil and cool. Grind all ingredients together to a powder in a coffee grinder/blender and use as sambhar powder.

Traditional one:

Coriander seeds- 3 cups
Pepper- 1 cup
Toor dal- 1 cup
Chana dal- 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds- less than 1/4 cup
Dried red chilies- 3 cups
Whole dried turmeric- about 10 or 15

Dry all these ingredients in the sun and then blend them to a fine powder(done in a food mill in India).

Method 3:

Arachu vitta sambhar recipe can be found here.

The powder recipe:

Ingredients:
Chana dal -(Kadalai paruppu)- 2 tbsp
Coriander seeds- 4 tbsp
Fenugreek seeds (methi seeds) – a pinch
Red chilies- 6
Coconut- 5 tbsp

Method:

Fry the ingredients given under the section to “grind”. Toast coriander seeds, red chilies, chana dal, fenugreek seeds together without adding any oil till they turn golden brown color. Transfer to a blender.

Ingredients- Sambar

Add coconut to the hot pan and quickly stir fry for a minute before it turns brown (Look for a golden color). Transfer to the blender. Adding coconut along with other ingredients will toast the coconut quicker and all other ingredients will be raw. So fry coconut at the last minute.

Coconut-Sambar

Let these ingredients cool and grind to a smooth, fine powder in one whole grinding pulse. Do not stop and grind and do not open the lid of the blender as soon as you stop grinding. You’ll be celebrating Holi if you do so :)

Store this powder in an airtight container in the fridge/freezer if you are going to use it to flavor the sambhar. To use the powder for fresh sambhar(one time use), add water and make it to a smooth paste. Follow the recipe for sambhar like here.

Another tip is that though the sambhar powder can be used in making vathakozhambus, there is also a seperate flavor powder to make vathakozhambu which can be found here.

What are you waiting for? Make some hot idli sambhar!

This sambhar powder goes to aqua’s Back to basics event, started by Jaya.

Reposts:

For Jay’s Lets Relishh Paneer event, my entries are:

Paneer Tikka
Malai Paneer- Paneer with rich cream and cashew sauce
My favorite flavored paneer- chili infused paneer in a fried rice

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Recipe Marathon: Day 7: Ghar ka Khana (Simple home made meal)

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

To all the Iron chefs out there reading this post, howdy!!

Are’nt we the iron chefs? We don’t have a fully equipped kitchen, or an Infra Red stove and grill, or a fast freezing nitrogen gadget, neither do we have a sous-chef who can do the cutting and prepping work for us, yet we manage to put up a glorious show every day. And the only thing that we most definitely have is the judging part of our home made meal :)

I believe that even if you are offered the chance to eat food prepared by the world famous chef’s, nothing can match the taste of simple dal and rice. You travel to 100 different places, yet at the end of the day don’t you crave for a simple aloo paratha, dosa, khichdi or rice?

But the real test is, can we make a idli taste like idli and not like a bullet :)..or a fluff up a roti that does not turn into a plastic sheet after few minutes..

I faced that test last year and I am talking from that experience, cooking a simple South Indian meal. And that was also due to IKE (no, don’t worry, I am not going to talk about the hurricane again). We had got our cozy nest and we had the house warming ceremony few weeks after IKE showed its force. The point is, we couldn’t find someone to gather the veggies needed, cook for the D-day and transport it for the house warming.

And our priest knew the situation and gave us a simplified list of food to cook. Nothing major- Just what you will find in a South Indian home every day. Sambar, Rice, Rasam, Dal,Poriyals, Kheer, Savory Pongal, Sweet Pongal, Vadais and Kozhukattais (modagams).

And there we were, N and I, standing near the stove in our cramped kitchen in the apartment, taking turns to cook these stuff for us and the guests for the Graha-Pravesam from 2 in the morning of the D-day. If you are wondering, no, none of our relatives were able to make it.

There was nothing special to cook, no biryanis, no baking involved, but what we think as simple food really took 5 hours to make. But seeing these dishes on the plates, all our guests oohed- and aahed and said that is what they were waiting to savor, a simple home cooked meal. And nothing can beat that compliment.

And that is what I am going to serve for the host Nupur, my fellow runners in this marathon , and our readers for the final day of the recipe marathon before we welcome the new year. Better said, we are welcoming the new year with a feast!

This feast is also for special bloggers who gave me constructive criticism when I started blogging and still keep checking on me from time to time (There, I could see that smile on the corner of the mouth), from awards to advice, thanks for your support. And because of this marathon, I got some blogging buddies and yummy recipes to try out.

Thali

The traditional thali (plate) featured above has:

Rice
Dal
Ghee
Cabbage-Okra Stir fry
Lemon Tomato Rasam
Drumstick Sambar
Carrot Kheer
Mango Pickle
Yogurt
Jeera Applam

Here are the recipes:

Rice: Plain cooked rice, made in a pressure cooker.

Dal- tuvar dal cooked in a pressure cooker and mashed.

Ghee- Home made ghee from butter recipe is here.

cabbage-okra

Cabbage-Okra Stir fry- Caught my eye after Nupur tried it, I just followed the recipe, but added a bit of achar masala for the spice.

Lemon-Rasam

Lemon Rasam- Made it in my lead vessel (eiya sombu), recipe can be found here

drumstick-sambar

Sambar- Recipe can be found here

Carrot Kheer:
Carrots -2- medium size
Sugar- to taste
milk- 1 cup, water- 1 cup, sweetened condensed milk- 1 tbsp
cardamom powder- 1 pinch
saffron – few strands
badam-cashew powder- 1 pinch

Carrot-Kheer

Grate the carrots. Mix together a cup of milk and a cup of water. Boil the grated carrots in this till mushy, and till the milk has reduced down. Add a tablespoon of condensed milk, sugar to taste and badam-cashew power,garnish with cardamom powder and saffron. Serve chilled or warm.

Hope that was a fulfilling meal. Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

I don’t make many resolutions ‘coz I know I have to try hard to keep up 😉

But seems like my resolution of a healthy 2010 is already in the bin and I have hit the sack before New year (Got a flu,been drowning Nyquil for the past few hours).

Couple of ideas if you are planning to be in Houston and not going to go partying :)

The Meenakshi temple at Pearland always has a New year program with food stalls from famous restaurants in Houston. That means everything from Pizza to Chole batura to Pav Bhaji will be available at these stalls. Sometimes, you can also pick up stuff like calendars, decorative materials etc., etc., There would also be cultural programs at the wedding hall.

BAPS- Swami Narayan Mandir had some special programs and fire works for Diwali. That fireworks show was much better and brighter than the one on July 4th!! But BAPS also has an amazing canteen (now you know why I have a food blog) and their chinese food -gobi manchoorian is one of The Best you can have.

Sugar Land is celebrating is 50th Anniversary and there is going to be a party at Sugar Land Town centre with the music and lights and it is separated into party for adults and kids at different timings in the evening.

Houston City centre is also having a band (Blues brothers tribute) and fire works!

Wherever you are, stay safe and enjoy! And do check out this space from time to time.

For folks who can read tamil and have been reading these posts on this marathon, my thank you’s in election style -” Periyorgale, Thaimargalae, Nandri, nandri”.. Meendum varuga..Vanthukitte irrunga :)

If you missed any of the posts during this marathon:

Day 1: December 25 : See the recipes here

Day 2: December 26: Check out what’s cooking here

Day 3: December 27: Still going strong, see the delicious recipes here

Day 4: It is all about Spice

Day 5: Veggies, Grains and more!

Day 6: Colors of Food

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Arachu vitta sambar

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Finally, the recipe that everyone loves and Tamilnadu is famous for. Sambar!! Be it idli sambar, dosa sambar, sambar vada or onion sambar and aloo kari, this is a simple recipe that has captured a special place in millions of  tummies. In fact whenever I say I am from Tamilnadu, my buddies quickly evaluate my culinary skills. Within a minute I would have answered a couple of people for the Q” You can make sambar right?” And we would fix a time and date and we’ll all have a yummy slurpy time immersing into the world of sambar.  And later whenever I am introduced to another friend, it goes like “Yaar, She can make samabar”. I guess I’ve made more pals with my sambar than with  the help of facebook or orkut.

The recipe here  is for arachu-vitta sambar, meaning fresh  ground paste is added to the sambar, instead of using sambar powder. Couple of stuff to keep in mind before making this sambar:

– Do not use sambar powder

– Measure the ingredients, all of them should blend well. The sambar should not  be spicy, salty, tangy or lentily (??)- too much dal

-Let the vegetables simmer in tamarind water. Do not rush to finish the sambar.

-Do not add too much fenugreek seeds. That will turn the sambar bitter.

Ingredients : (Serves -2)

Red onion -1/4 cup

Green Pepper(capsicum)- 1

Cooked tuvar dal- 3/4 cup (same measuring cup)

Tamarind- small lime size ball

Curry leaves- few leaves

Asafoetida- 2 pinches

Salt- to taste

Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp

Mustard seeds- 3/4 tsp

Sesame oil/ Light olive oil- 1 tbsp.

To grind:

Chana dal -(Kadalai paruppu)- 2 tbsp

Coriander seeds- 4 tbsp

Fenugreek seeds (methi seeds) – a pinch

Red chilies- 6

Coconut- 5 tbsp

Method:

Any type of onion can be used depending on availability, whole red onions can be chopped and used or use pearl onions.

Heat about 2 cups of water in a cup and soak the tamarind in the water for 10 minutes. You can also substitute tamarind paste(1/4 tsp). Extract thick tamarind juice (measuring 2 cups).

Fry the ingredients given under the section to “grind”. Toast coriander seeds, red chilies, chana dal, fenugreek seeds together without adding any oil till they turn golden brown color. Transfer to a blender.

Ingredients- Sambar

Add coconut to the hot pan and quickly stir fry for a minute before it turns brown (Look for a golden color). Transfer to the blender. Adding coconut along with other ingredients will toast the coconut quicker and all other ingredients will be raw. So fry coconut at the last minute.

Coconut-Sambar

Let these ingredients cool and grind to a smooth, fine powder in one whole grinding pulse. Do not stop and grind and do not open the lid of the blender as soon as you stop grinding. You’ll be celebrating Holi if you do so :)

Sambar-Powder

This powder can be stored as arachu vitta sambar powder in the fridge for a couple of days. If you add water to this powder and grind it to a paste, then you gotta use the paste the same day. This sambar will be thick as the coconut acts as a thickening agent.

Back to making sambar:

Heat oil in a pot and add asafoetida and mustard seeds.When the seeds splutter, add curry leaves and onions. Stir fry well for 2-3 minutes.  Add chopped green pepper.Add salt and turmeric powder and saute till onions are transparent.

Now pour the tamarind extract into the pot of onions and cover and simmer for atleast 15 minutes. Onions and pepper should be transparent and well cooked.

When the tamarind extract has reduced to atleast 1/2 of its original volume, proceed to adding the dal. Mash the tuvar dal with 1/2 cup of water and add the sambar powder(or paste) to the dal. Add this dal-sambar powder mixture into the pot. Let it simmer for 5-7 minutes or till frothy on top. Switch off.

Enjoy with Idli , Dosa, or Vadais. This was our dinner today. Dosa with sambar!

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