Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mumbai "Restaurant" Sambar


If you think if all sambars are created equal, think again. Sambar - yes, that delicious lentil stew with veggies from South India - when served in Mumbai restaurants, does have a spoonful or may be even a tablespoonful of sugar!! I don't know about medicine, but this spoonful of sugar does make hot steamy idlies and vadas go down pretty fast!;-)

Many people think that only Gujaratis add sugar/jaggery to their foods. But that's not entirely true. Being a daughter of Maharashtra and a Gujarati daughter-in-law, I can vouch that both Maharashtrians and Gujaratis add sugar to their daals. Now, as we all know any statement doesn't hold entirely true - especially when we are talking about our diverse India. So if you are from Kolhapur - especially from 96 Kuli Maratha community, you will not even think about adding sugar to your food in your wildest nightmare. So addition of sugar business varies from community to community. But Maharashtrians  - probably - Brahmin communities, do add sugar/jaggery to their Aamtis, Koshimbeers, Bhaajis and even chutneys. Actually my aunt believes that when you add a pinch of sugar/jaggery to any savory dish and a pinch of salt to any sweet dish, that smidgen is the secret for deliciousness. Now it's up to you  to add just a smidgen or a dollop!;-)

Mumbai "Restaurant" Sambar
Lentil and Vegetables Stew as served in Mumbai restaurants
1 1/4 cup toor daal, pressure cooked, mashed
1/4 tsp. asafeotida
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder

Roast one after the other
2 tbsp. coconut
1/2 tbsp. coriander seeds
1/4 tsp. fenugreek seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
5 byadgi chilies
1" stick of cinnamon - very small piece
1/2 tsp. asafetida
2 sprigs curry leaves
1 tbsp. urad daal
1 1/2 tbsp. chana daal

Grind roasted spices with
2 tsp. tamarind paste

2 medium potatoes, cut into big chunks
1 zucchini or a small piece of dudhi/bottle gourd or pumpkin, cut into bite sized pieces
6 pieces of drumsticks
1 tomato, chopped

1 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. asafetida
2 sprigs curry leaves
2 red chilies, halved

You will also need
salt to taste
1 tbsp. sugar or jaggery
1 tsp. mild chili powder for color

1. Pressure cook daal adding turmeric powder, asafetida and adequate water. Also pressure cook drumsticks. Mash daal lightly. Set aside
2. Roast all the spices one after the other. Grind with tamarind paste.
3. Place all the vegetables except cooked drumsticks and tomatoes. Add 1/4 cup water and let them cook partially.
4. Add mashed daal and masala paste. Add 2 cups water. Bring to a rapid boil.
5. Add salt, chili powder, sugar or jaggery, drumsticks and tomato.
6. Switch gas to low and let it simmer. As it simmers, the sambar thickens so adjust water as needed
7. In a separate saucepan, heat oil. Add the tempering ingredients. As they sizzle, drizzled the tempered oil over sambar.
8. Cover with the lid. Switch off the gas.
9. Serve hot sambar with idlies or vadas.

Note -
1. Only drumsticks are pressure-cooked because they take too long to cook.

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