We had this awesome sambar at a friends place during the Diwali weekend. It was made by my friend’s mother and she had used pumpkin and ladiesfinger/okra for the sambar. The family has it’s roots in Palakkad,a town on the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Being Palakkad Iyers their cuisine is a unique blend of the cooking styles from both the states (Kerala and Tamil Nadu).
I’ve always used the popular ready-made sambar powder to date and had never made the sambar from scratch(roasting and grinding the masalas). I had to get the recipe and it turned out so well that I’ve decided to make sambar the ‘hard-way’ instead of taking the ‘easy way’ out henceforth.
This sambar is typically made with any two of these seasonal vegetables: ladiesfinger/okra, arabi/taro root, pumpkin, capsicum and drumstick.
Here’s the recipe as given by Ms Sarda Ramakrishnan:
Ingredients for Palakkad Sambar: (Serves 8)
- Coriander seeds: 2tbsp
- Fenugreek seeds:1 tbsp
- Channa dal: 1 tbsp
- Dry red chillies: 5
- Tamarind pulp: walnut sized (soak in water and squeeze out the pulp),
- Tur dal: 2 cups (finely mashed)
- Fresh coconut: 1/2 cup grated
- Pumpkin: 1 cup (cut into 1 and 1/2″ pieces)
- Ladiesfinger/Okra: 1 cup (cut into 1 and 1/2″ pieces)
- Hing/asafoetida: 1/2tsp
- Salt: to taste
For the tempering:
- Mustard seeds: 1tsp
- Curry leaves:5-6 nos.
- Oil: 2tsp
- Roast the coriander seeds,fenugreek seeds,channa dal and the red chillies in a pan till the fenugreek and channa dal start turning red.
- Let it cool and then grind to a fine paste along with the grated coconut.
- Cook the pumkin and okra pieces in the tamarind pulp along with salt and enough water till the vegetables are half cooked.
- Add the cooked tur dal and the ground masala paste to the vegetables. Add enough water to bring it to a sambar consistency.
- Bring the sambar to a boil and add the hing powder.
- In a separate pan,heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When it starts to sputter,add the curry leaves.
- Pour this tempering over the sambar.
- Serve hot with rice.