Araichuvitta Sambhar @ South Indian style Lentil curry/soup is a flavourful mixture of roasted and ground spices, cooked with lentils and vegetables that forms an integral part of a typical Tam Brahm style menu. It is featured as a main course in most of the celebration menus, be it weddings or festivals. This recipe has many variations to it and prepared in different styles in different regions of Southern states.To non-Indians, the familiar term is 'curry'. Be it a recipe with rice or as a side dish for Indian breakfasts (aka tiffin) such as idli, dosai and vadai, the best accompaniment is this sambhar.
- Prep Time0Minutes
- Cooking Time25Minutes
How to make Ghee
- 15-20 cubes of Yellow Pumpkin
- 1/4 cup of water (to cook the pumpkins)
- 1 cup Toor Dhal
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- A few drops of Castor oil
- 2 cups of Tamarind extract (from gooseberry sized tamarind)
- 1 1/2 tbsp Coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp Channa Dhal/ Gram Dhal
- 6 to 7 Red Chillies
- 1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
- 3 to 4 Peppercorns (optional)
- 2 to 3 flakes of Compounded Asafoetida or its powder
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp freshly grated coconut
- 2 tbsp oil
- a pinch of turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
- Crystal Salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp Jaggery
- 2 sprigs of curry leaves
- Fresh Coriander leaves for garnish
- Wash the dal twice in running water. Add 2 to 2.5 cups of water,1/2 tsp of Turmeric powder and a few drops of castor oil to the dal+ water before you start cooking. Pressure cook on medium flame for three whistles or until done.
- In a Kadai, dry roast coriander seeds, chana dhal, red chilies and fenugreek seeds in 1 tbsp of oil.
- Once a nice aroma wafts, transfer it to a plate. Cool and powder it along with the cumin seeds and grated coconut.
- Simultaneously, heat a thick bottomed vessel and cook the yellow pumpkins with 1/4 cup of water and 2-3 crystals of salt and close with a lid. Keep the flame low.
- Meanwhile, soak Tamarind in 2 cups of water for 10-15 mins and gently extract the pulp. We require something with medium tartness. So do not squeeze, set this aside.
- Now go back to the vessel in which the pumpkins are being cooked. Once they are done, drain excess water ( just say half the quantity).
- Add a pinch of turmeric powder and salt along with the Tamarind extract and cook for 5 minutes.Once it begins to boil, add half of the dry sambar masala powder and continue to simmer for a few minutes.
- Now add the dal+ water mixture, jaggery and the remaining sambhar masala paste and bring to a rolling boil.The mixture should have thickened by now to a thick soup.
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil. Add mustard seeds. When they pop, add two sprigs of fresh curry leaves and add this to the Sambhar.
- Finally, add freshly chopped coriander leaves.
- Serve with hot rice, a drop of ghee and your favourite accompaniment.
My Tip: Ensure equal amount of chillis to coriander seeds in proportion. For those preferring spicy ones, add more chillis. The most important step in preparing good Sambhar is to cook the dals right. The moment you churn the cooked dal, it should disintegrate well. At the same time it should not become a paste nor be under cooked. If one of the above happens, your Sambhar is a failure. I always add few drops of castor oil while cooking dhals, as it is efficient in minimizing the impact of anti nutritional factors/ gas causing factors. Never boil Sambhar for a long time. This causes flavour loss. It is best to stay by the stove and finish the steps one after another. Never move around. You may miss out on subtle flavour changes that requires immediate attention. Always use Crystal salt while preparing dishes like Sambhar and Rasam. I have mentioned this in my previous posts but would like to emphasize again. Adding crystal salt enhances the taste and flavour. It takes a while to get a hang on adding crystal salt as it comes by practice. Another factor to test the success of your Sambhar recipe is that you will note a layer of clear water once the Sambhar cools and settles. When you mix it, you will get the soupy consistency (This is my Husband's tip). Though the basic procedure remains the same, using different vegetables yields a characteristic flavour to the recipe. My choice of vegetables is always in this order -Shallots, Yellow pumpkin, White pumpkin, Ladies finger, Drumstick and Brinjals. Other popular choices are radish, potatoes and green pepper.