Boil the vegetables adding the ones that would take longer to cook first. You could cook it in a broad vessel or simply pressure cook in a pressure cooker with little salt and turmeric powder.
Pressure cook the lentil or toor dal till completely soft and easy to mash.
Squeeze the tamarind to extract as much pulp as possible. This does not require long soaking. While cooking the dal and vegetables you could soak up the tamarind. Sambhar is a vegetable chowder or stew, famous in the southern parts of India as an integral dish for cooking. It is believed that tamarind was substituted for kokum to bring out the sour taste.
It's the sambhar powder that makes or breaks a good and bad sambhar recipe. Sambhar is definitely a time-consuming dish. However, the easy availability of ready-made sambar powder and the blessing of pressure cooker has reduced the job to almost half.
Sambhar can be made with just one hero vegetable or several vegetables. It's these vegetables that make it extremely healthy and delicious.
In a heavy-bottom wok add oil and ghee.
Temper all the ingredients mentioned along with garlic and add sugar to caramelize the shallots.
Reduce heat completely and add the seasonings followed by the tamarind juice.
Give a good stir to avoid burning. Add the cooked vegetables and mix well. Finally add the lentil and stir well again.
Let all the ingredients blend well. Simmer for 10 minutes till the seasoning is well incorporated in the vegetables.
Once the lentils start boiling reduce flame and remove.
Serve hot garnished with coriander and a swirl of ghee.
Bawarchi of the Week
Chitra Ramachandran is a very talented home cook who is enthusiastic about South Indian Vegetarian cooking styles.