Idli-Sambhar is a regular breakfast in a South Indian home, but back at home, Idli-Sambhar and dosa used to be delicacies. Mom used to make the batter once in two months and for 2 days we would be having either Idli-sambhar or dosa-sambhar or uttapam-sambhar for all meals.
For long South Indian cuisine for us north Indians remains synonymous with idli-dosa-sambhar. I didn’t explore the diversity of this cuisine until I moved to Bangalore for work. I recently bought Chandra Padmanabhan’s Dakhin – a collection of vegetarian South Indian recipes. This is the first recipe in the book and the first recipe that I am trying from the book. The book has a lot of other simple recipes and I can’t wait to try them out! 🙂
Preparation Time: 5 mins| Cooking time: 20 mins| Serves 2
½ cup toor/ arhar daal
A pinch of asafoetida
1tsp mustard seeds
1tsp cumin seeds
½tsp fenugreek seeds
1 dry chilli, broken into two
4-5 curry leaves
2tbsps tamarind paste
1 green chilli, slit lengthwise
1 cup mixed vegetables (onions, radish and bottle gourd), chopped
¼tsp turmeric powder
3tsp sambhar masala powder (I used MTR Madras Sambhar masala)
Fresh coriander for garnishing
- Wash and soak toor daal for about half hour in 2 cups of water
- Pressure cook the daal with salt and turmeric for 4 whistles. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a deep wok. Once the oil is hot add asafoetida, mustard, cumin and fenugreek seeds and dried chilli.
- When the seeds begin to sputter, add the slit green chilli and chopped vegetables. Sauté for a couple of minutes.
- While I used only onions, radish and bottle gourd; you can use almost any vegetable such as potato, aubergine, okra etc.
- Add salt, sambhar powder, 1 cup water and tamarind paste. Mix well and cook covered on low heat till the vegetables are tender.
- Add the cooked daal, mix well and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with idlis.
For idlis, you need to soak rice and urad daal overnight, then grind it, add salt and allow it to ferment for at least 8 hours… Since we rarely have it planned so much in advance, I use the homemade batter sold by a Tamil lady in a local grocery store. Every day she brings around 20 packets of ½ litre batter and 10 packets of 1 litre batter and it gets over by evening! J I have a microwave idli maker, all I need to do after buying the batter is to grease the idli moulds, pour spoonful of batter per idli and steam on high for 5 minutes. And it’s time to enjoy Idli-Sambhar! 🙂