Sambar secrets 🍅


It’s the end of the week and one of the unpleasant tasks in the To Do list of food prep for the next week is grating coconuts 🥥. Laborious process, but inescapable as we use coconut in practically all the dishes. 

And this is where Sambar scores, it’s a gravy dish that does not require coconut !! It’s toor dal and a choice of vegetables cooked together; drumstick is one must have item for sambar; not to forget the tamarind. Some people like a slightly sweet sambar and add a pinch of jaggery to balance the tamarind.

Sambar made in the pressure cooker

Sambar secrets 🍅

My mil used to add lemon grass in her sambar and the taste and aroma was awesome.

Mom adds Ajwain while doing the tempering and the aroma will make you swoon.

The late Mrs. K M Mathew (author of numerous cookery books) says sambar tastes better if asafoetida is fried in gingelly oil; Green coriander leaves give better taste and flavour to sambar.

She goes on, saying another way to enhance the taste of sambar is to use a mixture of oil and ghee for seasoning. And last, a little grated coconut broiled and ground added gives sambar a special taste.
Sambar with the tempering added

Sambar is an aromatic, spicy, delicieux and immensely satisfying gravy dish; the perfect accompaniment to dosa or idli for breakfast. Speed over to lunch and sambar and lemon rice is a feast (with fish fry, ofcourse) ! And we really don’t mind leftover sambar for dinner too, with chapatti !!

Lemon rice and sambar for lunch, don’t forget the fish fry

Here’s an interesting story on the origins of sambar or sambhar; more interestingly, it’s from a book on wildlife titled “My Husband & Other Animals” by Janaki Lenin; more on the book in another post. The author was curious about a deer species also called Sambhar !

“Sambhaji, Shivaji’s son, was a guest at the court of his cousin, Shahuji I, a Maratha king who ruled Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu in the 18th century. When the host was making amti (a Maharashtrian gravy dish made of toor dal), he ran out of kokum (used for the sourness in the western states) from his homeland and he substituted tamarind. And that’s how sambhar was born and the new dish was named in honour of the guest, Sambhaji.”

–“My Husband & Other Animals” by Janaki Lenin

Till next post, take care !!


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Sunith says:

    thank you for sharing the origin of the versatile Sambhar


    1. Miles and smiles says:

      It was a discovery for me too ! Thanks Sunith.

      Liked by 1 person

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