Sunday, July 5, 2015

Arachuvita Sambar/Idi Sambar

Sambar or lentil stew is a famous South Indian accompaniment to rice/rice pancakes. The term ’arachuvita’ translates to being freshly ground whereas ’Idi’ means pound and so. On the whole it is a lentil stew made with freshly roasted and ground spices and coconut which gives a complex combination of robust flavors and tantalizing taste. I am a straight right fan of this sambar and I m  sure that this is going to be a keeper in your household too when you try it so here is the recipe. Do try it and let me know how it turned out for you!

Toor dal- 1 & ¼ cups
Drumstick-2, cut into 3 inch pieces
Raw Mango-1, small, cut into 4-5 pieces
Pearl onions/Shallots-1/2 cup, peeled
Tomato-1, roughly chopped
Tamarind- lemon sized, soak in 2 cups of water and extract the juice
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Salt-as needed
Jaggery/Gur/Vellam-1 tbsp
Coriander leaves-2 tbsp, chopped
To Roast & Grind:
Dried red chilies-7-10
Coriander seeds/Dhania- 3 tbsp
Channa dal/Bengal gram dal-2 tbsp
Cumin seeds- ¾ tsp
Black Peppercorns-1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds-1/4 tsp
Coconut-1/2 cup, grated
Heat a tsp of oil in a kadai, add all the ingredients except coconut one by one and fry until they turn golden brown. Switch off the flame and let it cool. Then add all the fried ingredients and coconut to blender and grind to a smooth paste with little water.
To Temper:
Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
Urad dal-1 tsp
Curry leaves-2 sprigs
Asafoetida-1 big pinch
Oil-2 tbsp
How It Happened:
1. Wash and add the toor dal to pressure cooker with 3 cups of water and cook for 2 whistles in medium or cook until the dal turns mushy. Switch off the flame and set aside. When its cool, remove the lid, smash the dal with back of the ladle.

2. Heat oil in a pan, add the ingredients given under the ‘to temper’ list and when they pop, add the peeled whole pearl onions and fry until they turn transparent.
3. Add tomatoes and cook in medium flame until they turn soft and completely mushy. Then add the cut vegetables (mango and drumstick) and mix well.
4. Add turmeric powder and salt and mix once. Then add tamarind extract and 2 cups of water and let it cook in medium flame for 10-15 minutes or until the veggies are cooked.
5. Now add the ground coconut paste to the boiling mixture and mix well.  Let it cook in medium flame and when the mixture froths up add mashed dal and mix well.

6. Let the mixture boil for 5 minutes. Keep stirring else the dal will stick to the bottom of the pan.
7. Add the grated jaggery and mix and let it boil for 2 minutes.
8. Switch off the flame, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice and stir fry.
* I added the drumsticks because the flavors of the veggies compliment the complex flavors of the arachuvita sambar and mangoes too. Other veggies like okra, brinjals can also be used.
* Cubed onions can also be used instead of pearl onions.
* Adjust the tamarind extract, tomatoes and raw mangoes (if adding) to you taste. Raw mangoes will add some sourness so add tamarind extract accordingly.
* Do not boil the mixture for too long after adding coconut paste as they may curdle also the flavors are lost while boiling a lot.

* Do not boil for long after adding jaggery as they may caramelize and sambar may turn bitter.