Sambhar – a South Indian lentil-based vegetable stew

If you visit South India, you are bound to find this scrumptious lentil soup everywhere you turn! It’s a speciality that is essential as a side to all South-Indian dishes.

I have asserted many many times the goodness packed in a bowl of plain lentil. This particular soup is even more so because of all the vegetables you can chuck in. This is my ‘one-stop’ solution for abdominal concerns like constipation in kids.

There are many variations of Sambhar. Some are made based on a single vegetable and some are a combination of many vegetables put together. I, however, feel that the Sambhar is incomplete without raddish and beans. And so these two ingredients are always added for that extra bit of flavour. Other common vegetables often added to this are – eggplant, drumstick beans and potatoes. No matter how strong a vegetable may taste on its own, in this soupy lentil it is shielded by the sweet & sour flavours and is much easier for little kids to enjoy. Not to forget the tenderness of these too!

Today with all my motherly pride, I present to you a rich, golden soup that’s guaranteed to warm your little one’ s tummy.

Ingredients: – (serves 4)

• 1 cup arhal dal (also known as toor dal or red gram lentil)
• 2 ½ cup water
• 2 tsp salt
• ¼ tsp haldi or turmeric powder
• 2 tbsp oil
• ¼ tbsp raiee or mustard seeds
• a pinch of hing or asafetida
• 4 dried chilli (optional)
• 10 curry leaves
• 1 tbsp sambhar powder*
• 4 tbsp tamarind paste*
• 2 large tomatoes (cut cubes)
• ½ raddish (cut semi-circular)
• ½ carrot (cut semi-circular)
• ½ cup green beans (chopped )

* Tamarind paste is attained from soaking a thick piece of tamaring in warm water for about 10minutes. The longer you soak, the stronger the flavour.

* Sambhar powder is available in ready packs at an Indian grocery store.

*Almost all vegetables tastes good when added to this dish, so feel free to thrown in some of your favourites.

Recipe: –

1. Put the lentils, turmeric and 1½ cup water in a pressure cooker for about 4-5 whistles. (About 6 mimutes). Turn off heat and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan; add asafetida, mustard seeds, and dried chilli along with the curry leaves. Allow it to crackle for a minute.
3. Then add in the vegetables – tomatoes, raddish, carrot, green beans & any other of your choice. Cook for a minute, stirring.
4. Add salt & sambar masala.
5. Pour in a cup of water and cover with lid for 4-5 minutes.
6. Remove lid. Add tamarind paste. Turn off heat.
7. Pour the contents of the pan into the lentils. Stir to mix.
8. Serve piping hot with rice or as a side to any South-Indian main dish.



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