It is a matter of pride to us when the sambar or rasam served to our family meets with complete approval! especially to us Tamilians the sambar must meet the standards. Its like the yard stick to measure our cullinary skills! While we do have a large variety of sambar and kozhambu varieties, none is comparable to the ultimate tiffin sambar or hotel sambar a term coined by hotel goers as they expect the same taste of hotel sambar in our house too, So we strive hard to get it right yet something seems to be missing .
This is an attempt to create that taste after chatting with popular chefs in weddings or small functions where a similar sambar is served for tiffin .
A food blogger simply cannot pass up the chance to enquire more or even possibly sneak into the chefs kitchen to try and wangle out a few secrets in a round about way ! Some are very forthcoming and will rattle off the recipe in a nonchalant manner while I strive to store in my head .
Lets see if the sambar meets with your expectations too…meanwhile am not saying this is the perfect recipe but it rates very high and I will continue to work on this recipe till I get a full 10 !.
|South Indian /Side dish|
- 1 1/2 cup of small onions peeled (shallots)
- 1 medium sized tomato finely chopped
- 1 small gooseberry size tamrind or tamrind paste. slightly lesser than the ball of tamrind. Extract juice and keep aside.
- 1/2 cup of moong dal or a combination of toordal and moong dal…I prefer moong dal only.
- 2 long dry chillies
- 1 tsp methi seeds
- 1 tbsp of any sambar powder you are already using for daily preparation.
- 1 tsp mustard seeds,2 or 3 tbsp of oil,
- Some curry leaves pinch of asafoetida/hing,1 tsp turmeric powder, and coriander leaves for garnishing
To roast and dry grind separately
1 tsp chana dal
1 tsp rice to be roasted with roasting ingredients.
Coconut is optional but tastes great when added .
Tip: If you wish you can add small sliced shallots about 4 samll ones, too to the above while grinding , am told it gives most amazing flavor too.
- First take a spoon of oil or two in a pan and dry roast all the dry ingredients given under to roast and dry grind heading till a fine aroma wafts
- When cooled ,grind in a mixie with little water to get a paste. Keep aside
- In a pan put some oil and let the mustard pop,add the methi seeds,dry red chillies and add the small onions and stir them till the onions turn pink.When they are translucent ,add the chopped tomatoes and then add the tamrind water previously extracted from the ball of tamrind.
- Add the sambar powder given in ingredients list,salt,hing,curry leaves and let boil for sometime til the onions and tomatoes are cooked well and a sambar aroma starts to waft, the mixture will thicken.
- Take the cooked moong dal.mash well and add the ground paste also to the boiling sambar.The whole mixture will thicken .You need to add little water to prevent from too much thickening.
- Let the sambar boil on a low simmer for sometime as the raw smell of the ground paste has to go away.
- After adding the mashed dal and the ground paste you will notice the sambar colour texture changing to a typical hotel style and also the aroma further enhanced as the ingredients in the ground paste blend well with the dal and veggies.
- Remove from stove and garnish with coriander leaves.
- No need for tadka / tempering as it has been tempered previously.
- Some add a bit of jaggery to give a hint of sweetness to sambar but I avoid this.Instead you can add some yellow pumpkin pieces along with tomatoes and onions to get the sweetish taste.
- Some recipes have other vegetables too but tiffin sambar tastes good with only onions and tomatoes.
- Do not overdo the sambar by adding too many vegetables.If you ave noticed the hotel sambar has few vegetables but more gravy.