When you walk through the streets of South India, you can often hear a whistle or two of the pressure cooker going off in most houses in the mornings and the aromas of sambar wafting through the air. Most homes usually prepare Sambar once or twice a week and serve it for breakfast along with Idli, Dosa or Vadas and for lunch along with hot steamed rice with a dollop of ghee, a Thoran or Palaya and Papad on the side. Idli Sambar and Dosa Sambar have become quite popular across India and is hot selling in most restaurants.
Sambar recipe varies in each state and every home in South India. Each home has their own version of a Sambar Powder which is the most important ingredient added to the lentil and vegetable stew to make it flavourful. This aromatic and fragrant spice mix is freshly ground in most homes. It is stored and used in Sambars to Curries. Sambar Powder is a mix made of roasted lentils like toor dal and chana dal, dried whole red chilies, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds and sometimes cumin seeds, peppercorn, asafoetida and curry leaves. Follow Homemade Sambar Powder Recipe-South Indian Curry Powder to make Sambar powder.
In some sambar recipes like the Arachuvitta Sambar Recipe and Kerala Style Varutharacha Sambar Recipe coconut based sambar powder or paste is added.
When it comes to Karnataka style Sambar Recipes the two most famous ones are the Mysore Sambar Recipe and the Udupi Style Sambar Recipes. In these Sambar recipes jaggery is added to balance the tangy and spicy flavours of the Sambar. Follow Udupi Style Huli Podi Recipe to make authentic Udupi sambar powder at home.
To make Sambar, cooked and mashed dal is mixed with cooked vegetables, tamarind water and sambar powder. It is then seasoned with mustard seeds, curry leaves, hing and dried red chillies. The oil used for seasoning varies in different Southern state. In Tamil Nadu, the oil mostly used for seasoning the Sambar is Sesame Oil. In Kerala, the seasoning is done using coconut oil, in Karnataka, Ghee is used for the seasoning and in Andhra, cooking oil or sesame oil is used.
The vegetables added also play a part in the flavour of the sambar. Usually pearl onions or sambar onions are used and Tamil Nadu Style Vengaya Sambar, which is a comforting onion Sambar recipe that goes well with Steamed Rice. Vendakkai Vengaya Sambar Recipe is made using bhindi and sambar onions. Other common vegetables added to the Sambar are small brinjals, carrots, drumsticks, bottle gourd, ash gourd, beans and green leafy vegetables. Most of the time two or three vegetables are mixed to make a comforting mixed vegetable Sambar.
So try these delicious Sambar Recipes from South India and serve it along with a Steamed Rice, Idli or Dosa for a comforting South Indian meal.