Thursday, December 13, 2007
Small onion sambar (Chinna vengayam sambar)
Chinna vengayam sambar... It's a classic with idli. I have to say, it's my all time favorite sambar! It makes me drool. Man, I could eat 2 idlis with 2 buckets of this sambar!
Ok, that really made me laugh... See, eating idlis with tons of sambar runs in my family! My thatha (grandfather) was infamous for doing that. He'd go to a hotel and order idlis, but he'd keep calling the waiter to bring more and more sambar. Soon, he was known in the local hotels as well for his "sambar drinking!" My father and brother also do this. So, Amma knows to make a lot of onion sambar if we're having idli!
By the way, these days we only make sambar with moong dal (paasi paruppu) for dietary reasons, but please feel free to make this with tuvar dal (thuvaram paruppu) as well. Recipe is pretty simple and goes as follows:
Small onions - 2 cups (fresh or frozen), uncut
Moong dal - 1/2 cup
Green chillies - 8-10 or to taste
Jeera powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Tamarind - small key lime size, soak in water and extract juice
Tomatoes - 1 medium, chopped
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp (optional)
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs, plus few extra to add at the end
Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp, chopped, plus little extra to add at the end
Asafoetida/hing/perungayam - pinch
Whole red chillies - 2-3 or to taste
1. Cook moong dal separately with pinch of turmeric powder and pinch of jeera powder. This can be done on stove top or with the pressure cooker (1-2 whistles) since moong dal cooks very quickly. Mash slightly after cooked, if needed.
2. In another pot, do the seasoning with red chillies, mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves, asafoetida. Then, add small onions and fry until the onions are nearly cooked.
3. Now, add green chillies and tomatoes. Fry until tomatoes are little mushy. At this point, add tamarind extract, jeera powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, water(to give enough liquid) and salt to taste. Boil until raw smell is gone.
4. At this point, add the cooked dal and let it simmer for 5 minutes and turn off. Add few curry leaves and small amount of coriander leaves at the very end to enhance the flavor of the sambar. This is optional, but really adds sooo much flavor to the dish.
Enjoy with soft, fluffy idlis and tell me you don't want a bucket or 2 of sambar for yourself!