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RC: Sambar

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Stuart Yaniger

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RC: Sambar

by Stuart Yaniger » Wed Apr 12, 2006 7:28 pm

1 c masoor dal (peeled orange lentils)
4 c water
3 thick slices ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, sliced into rounds
1 handful green beans, trimmed, parboiled, and refreshed
1 small onion, halved and sliced thinly
1/2 c grated coconut
1-2 tbs tamarind paste
1/4 c chopped clinatro
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbs black mustard seeds
1 lemon
5 or 6 cherry tomatoes
2 or 3 green chilies (serrano or Thai), minced
vegetable oil
salt

Rinse dal in cold water and drain. Add to 4 c boiling water, along with the turmeric, a slice of ginger and about 2/3 of the garlic and onion. Cook over low heat for 1/2 hour or until the lentils have lost their bright color and are falling apart. Run an immersion blender through lightly (the soup doesn't have to be ultra-smooth). Add carrots and coconut, continue cooking for another 10 minutes until the carrots are not quite done. Add the green beans, the remainder of the onion, the coriander, the tamarind paste, the cayenne, and the cumin. Cook until the carrots are tender.

Slice the tomatoes in half, add to the soup. Mince the remaining ginger. In a small fry pan, heat a tablespoon or two of oil. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop. Add the garlic and ginger. While the spices are cooking, toss the cilantro into the soup. When the ginger and garlic begin to brown, pour the pan contents into the soup (it makes a satisfying "Koooosh!" sound). Mix in well, add a teaspoon or two of salt. Check seasoning, adjust salt if necessary, then turn off the fire and squeeze in the juice from half of the lemon. Make slices from the other half for garnish.

Top each bowl of soup with some cilantro leaves and a lemon slice. This soup is particularly good with idlis (steamed farina/coconut dumplings).
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Paul Winalski

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Re: RC: Sambar

by Paul Winalski » Wed Apr 12, 2006 10:04 pm

Stuart,

Thanks for posting this. Iddli served with Sambar is one of my fond memories from the (unfortunately now closed, I hear) Annapurna Indian Restaurant in Worcester, MA. This was a very authentic vegetarian Indian restuarant operated by a family from Udipi in the south of India.

My current recipe for Sambar involves curry leaves in the final tarkari (or chaunk or tempering), but it seems that everyone has a distinct recipe for Sambar. Yours has given me several new ideas to try.

My recipe, and every other that I've seen, uses toor dal (peeled pigeon peas). Any particular reason (aside from availability, or personal taste) for your choice of masoor dal?

-Paul W.
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Re: RC: Sambar

by Stuart Yaniger » Wed Apr 12, 2006 10:23 pm

Curry leaves are great in the tadka, it's just that I have to drive 40 miles to get them!

I like the texture of the masoor dal, my local grocery has them, so...

I wish my reasons were more systematic than, "I hate to get in my damn car and fight the damn traffic to go food shopping at a decent grocery store..."
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Re: RC: Sambar

by Paul Winalski » Wed Apr 12, 2006 10:41 pm

Stuart Yaniger wrote:I wish my reasons were more systematic than, "I hate to get in my damn car and fight the damn traffic to go food shopping at a decent grocery store..."


Hey, that's as good a reason as any! I'm very lucky that there's an Indian grocery store on my way home that stocks toor dal, fresh curry leaves, and also very good homemade iddli and dosa batter. I've had such success with the dosa batter that I've given up trying to make the concoction on my own. Now I just have to master the technique of spreading it thin enough on the griddle before it sets. I get closer with each try, but it's not quite thin enough yet....

Eggplants, especially the small Indian or Thai ones, are good in Sambar, too. The constants seem to be the cooked dal, the tamarind, chiles, and the tadka.

-Paul W.
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Re: RC: Sambar

by Stuart Yaniger » Thu Apr 13, 2006 12:38 am

Coincidently, we snagged some little round purple guys, which we cooked in a tomato-garlic-ginger gravy and served as a third course...

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