Sambar is one of the very famous lentil based vegetable stew, served with Rice, Idli, Dosa and many other South Indian dishes. You can use different varieties of vegetables to make Sambar. Here I have used the long tender Drumstick vegetable (Moringa oleifera), which adds a pleasant aroma and taste to the Sambar.
Step 1: Cut the Vegetable
I have harvested fresh Drumstick vegetables from the tree in our backyard. Four pieces of them are enough to make sambar for serving about four to five persons.
- Cut both ends all the way down leaving a small joint and peel of the portion of outer skin with the cut ends.
- Cut the remaining length into 2 inches long pieces same as cut ends and peel off the small portion of outer skin. You need not to remove all the outer skin. removing portions of outer skin will make it cook quickly.
- Place the cut pieces immediately in water.
- Discard the peeled outer skin.
Step 2: Prepare the Ingredients
- Take about 100 grams of shallots and remove the dry skin. Shallots are known in South India as Sambar Onion and used in making Sambar. However, you can use normal big onions also.
- Shuck 4 to 5 garlic cloves and crush lightly
- Take four or five green chilies, remove the stems and split them open. Do not cut into pieces
- Keep all above ingredients in a small plate.
Step 3: Other Ingredients
- Separate a handful of curry leaves from the stems and keep aside
- Cut two tomatoes into pieces and keep aside
- In a small plate take 2 teaspoons of Coriander seed powder, One teaspoon of Cumin seed powder, 3/4th teaspoon of Red chili powder and half a teaspoon of Turmeric powder. Instead of all these you can use 3 to 4 teaspoons of Sambar powder.
- In addition, take about 1/4th teaspoon of Asafoetida powder and keep aside
Please see here how to make Sambar powder posted by my daughter :
Step 4: Measure and Wash Yellow Lentils
Yellow lentils are used to make sambar.
- Take about 200 grams of yellow lentils. We use a measuring cup at home. The lentils measured in this cup weighs approximately 200 grams.
- Wash the lentils three to four times till the water runs clean
Step 5: Cook Lentils With Other Ingredients
- Take about 750 ml of water in a pressure cooker and heat
- Once the water starts to boil, add the cleaned yellow lentils
- Add all other ingredients to the pressure cooker along with the lentils except the cut drumstick vegetable
Step 6: Pressure Cook
- Allow the mix in the pressure cooker to boil. The mix bay start to froth. Stir well with a ladle.
- Once the frothing stops, cover the cooker with lid and pressure cook for about ten minutes.
- After about ten minutes, remove the pressure cooker from the stove and allow it to cool
Step 7: Cook Drumstick Vegetable
All vegetables we use with sambar are cooked separately to prevent overcooking.
- Place the cut drumsticks over medium heat with enough water to submerge the vegetable
- Add about half a teaspoon of turmeric powder and very little amount of salt
- Check to see whether the vegetable is cooked properly. Take one piece from the water and press with your fingers. If it feels soft, then remove from the stove. Do not overcook.
Step 8: Prepare Tamarind Paste
You can prepare the tamarind paste while cooking the other ingredients
- Take about a small lemon sized piece of tamarind and put it in warm water
- After few minutes, tamarind in the water becomes soft, which you can squeeze with fingers and make paste
- Filter out the tamarind paste and discard the remains
Step 9: Mix All Ingredients
- Once the pressure drops down from the pressure cooker, remove the lid and place it over low flame
- Add the cooked drumstick vegetable to the cooker
- Add salt to taste and the tamarind paste. Mix well with a ladle and shut off the flame
Step 10: Tempering
- Chop one medium sized onion into small pieces
- Place a frying pan over medium heat and add about two teaspoons of cooking oil
- Once the oil is heated, add a handful of curry leaves.
- Break one or two dried red chilies into pieces and add to oil
- Add the chopped onion to oil and cook till raw smell disappears
Step 11: Temper and Garnish
- Now transfer the cooked sambar from the pressure cooker to a serving dish.
- Add the fried onion to sambar
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Our Sambar with Drumstick vegetable is ready. You can use it with Rice, Idli, Dosa and other dishes