Sambar is a lentil stew with lots of vegetables, cooked in tamarind juice and spiced with samabr powder. It is a common preparation in South Indian homes. I was always under the impression that the lentils used in sambar is toor dal or a mixture of toor and moong dal. I was surprised when I saw Sharmi’s tiffin sambar which is prepared with moong dal. On further Google search, most of the tiffin sambar recipes I came across called for moong dal. I make nimmakaya pappu chaaru or pappu khut with moong dal without any vegetables or tamarind in it. Since moong dal is light on the stomach and easy to digest, I wanted to give it try.
I paired it with ven pongal. Most of the tiffin recipes I came across called for potatoes and I was unsure if I would like it in sambar. I skipped the potatoes and used carrots, radish & tomatoes. This sambar is suppose to be on the milder side and not tangy at all. From what I have read, tamarind can even be omitted.
Total Time: 30 – 35 minutes
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 – 25 minutes
Serves: 3 – 5
- ¼ cup Moong Dal
- 1 ½ – 2 Tbsp. Oil
- ¼ tsp, Cumin Seeds
- ¼ Mustard Seeds
- ⅛ – ¼ tsp. Hing ~ Asafoetida
- 4 Pearl Onion (I used frozen and cut each into half as the onions were big)
- 2 Green Chilies
- 6-8 Curry Leaves
- 1 medium sized Carrot, peeled & sliced
- 3 Red Radish, cut into 2-3 slices
- 1 medium sized Tomato, cut into cubes
- ⅛ – ¼ tsp. Turmeric Powder
- 1 ¾ – 2 tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
- ½ – 1 tsp. Tamarind Paste (I used homemade paste)
- Cilantro to garnish
- 2 tsp. Chana Dal
- 1 ½ tsp. Coriander Seeds
- ¼ – ½ tsp. Fenugreek Seeds ~ Methi Seeds
- 2 – 4 Dry Red Chilies (I used 4 and it was spicy)
- Cook Dal – Dry roast moong dal until light brown and let cool.
- Wash and cook dal in pressure cooker with ½ – ¾ cup water until soft and mushy. In pressure cooker it takes 5 whistles on high and couple of minutes on low. I like really mushy, hence cook it little longer than actually required.
- Sambar Powder – Dry roast spices listed under sambar powder. Cool and make a powder.
- Sambar – In pan heat oil, add cumin, mustard seeds and let the seeds splutter.
- Add onion, green chilies, curry leaves, vegetables, salt, turmeric, asafoetida and saute for couple of minutes until tomatoes are soft.
- Add spice powder and stir.
- Add dal, water, tamarind paste and bring to a boil. I forgot to note down water quantity, I think I used approximately 1 – 1 ½ cups water.
- Boil sambar for about 5-7 minutes or until desired consistency is reached.
- Serve hot with ven pongal or idli.
- I did not use jaggery and later, after tasting the sambar I felt something was missing. I added ¼ tsp. sugar and that balanced the flavors.