VENGAYA THAL SAMBAR/ GREEN ONION SAMBAR
Sambar recipes don’t need any introduction. Sambar is the ultimate comfort food to many south Indians. When we plan for get-togethers, some of my friends go for a second helping of sambar with rice rather than any elaborate dishes like briyanis or naans. This is my hubby’s favorite too, he can have this with anything, rice, idlis, or even puris. I remember a funny conversation with my mother-in-law just as soon as I got married. We discussing about her regular cooking and she asked me to prepare just sambar and papads for her son and he’ll be contended with that! So you can imagine how often I will be preparing this :) Coming on to this sambar with scallions, this is my dad’s favorite sambar. The flavor of this sambar is simply awesome. This is my regular sambar recipe with some added scallions. I have used just one bunch of scallions here, so that it does not overpower any other ingredients added in the sambar. May be another ¼ cup of chopped green onions can be added in the end for some color.
1. Toor dhal or red lentils, 1 cup.
2. Small onions, 1 cup.
3. Scallions, 1 bunch.
4. Tomatoes, medium size, 2.
5. Garlic, 2 cloves (optional).
6. Turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon.
7. Tamarind, a small lemon-sized ball or 2 tablespoons of tamarind pulp.
8. Chili powder, 1 teaspoon.
9. Coriander powder, 2 teaspoons.
10. Sambar powder, store brought or homemade, 1 teaspoon.
11. Asafetida, 1 pinch.
12. Salt as per taste.
13. Mustard seeds, ½ teaspoon.
14. Curry leaves, 1 sprig.
15. Chopped cilantro, a handful.
16. Vadakam, 1 teaspoon, (optional). This is a mixture of dried onions, garlic, and a few spices. I use vadakam for seasoning sambar, rasams, and kuzambus. This can be omitted if not available.
Peel the onions and dice the tomatoes finely and slit the green chili into 2. Cut the scallions into small rings. Extract thick juice from the tamarind and keep aside. Wash the toor dhal well and cook the toor dhal along with the turmeric powder, onions, white part of the scallions, tomatoes, and garlic cloves in a pressure cooker for up to 3 whistles. The dhal should be mashed well along with the added veggies. Heat a pan with some oil. When the oil is hot enough, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. When the mustard seeds start to splutter, add the vadakam and fry for a 2 seconds. Then add the tamarind juice, along with the chili powder, coriander powder, sambar powder, and salt along with 3 cups of water and let it boil for 10-15 minutes. Then add the mashed dhal, the remainder of the scallions (the green part) and a pinch of asafetida and let it cook for a few more minutes until the desired consistency is reached. Garnish with curry leaves, chopped cilantro, and scallions and serve hot with rice, idlis, or dosas.
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