Varutharacha Sambar (Ernakulam Style)

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Ingredients:-

  1. Toor dal – 1 cup
  2. Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp.
  3. Ghee – 1 tsp.
  4. Coconut oil – 1 tbsp.
  5. Salt to taste
  6. Garlic – 2 big cloves, chopped
  7. Tamarind – a lime sized ball soaked in 1/2 cup of water
  8. Ladiesfinger – 1.5 cup, cut into 1″ pieces
  9. Shallots/Kunjulli – 1/2 cup, peeled ( you don’t have to slice/ chop)
  10. Greenchilly – 2 numbers, slit
  11. Carrot – 1 cup, cut into 2″ pieces
  12. French beans – 1/4 cup, cut into 2″ pieces
  13. Cluster beans/ Sambarpayaru – 1/4 cup, cut into 2″ pieces
  14. Ashguord – 1 cup,cut into 2″ pieces
  15. Drumstick – 1 number, cut into 2″ pieces
  16. Tomato – 1 number, large, cut into 4 pieces
  17. Jaggery – 1.5-2 tsp.
  18. Hing – 1/4 tsp.
  19. Cumin powder – a pinch
  20. Water – as needed

For the sambar masala :-

  1. Grated coconut – 1 cup
  2. Shallots – 2 numbers, thinly sliced
  3. Curryleaves – a few
  4. Coriander powder – 1 tbsp. (level)
  5. Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp. + 1/2 tsp.; divided
  6. Red chilly powder – 3/4- 1 tsp.
  7. Cumin powder – 3/4 level tsp.
  8. Fenugreek powder – 1/4 tsp.
  9. Readymade Sambar Masala powder ( I used Shama brand) – 1 level tsp.
  10. Coconut oil – 2 tbsps.

For tempering:-

  1. Coconut oil – 1 tsp.
  2. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp.
  3. Curryleaves – a few
  4. Dry red chilly – 1 number

Method:-

  1. Soak tamarind in 1/2 cup of warm water, squeeze well and strain the tamarind extract.
  2. Cook toor dal in a pressure cooker adding ¼ tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp. of salt, chopped garlic and  ghee. Simmer for 15 minutes after 1st whistle. The dal should be cooked till it is mushy.
  3. For the sambar masala, heat 2 tbsps. of coconut oil & add the grated coconut, shallots and curryleaves. Fry till the coconut turns golden brown in colour. Add the coriander powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, fenugreek powder, red chilly powder & sambar masala powder. Cook on low heat for 2 minutes. Grind to a smooth paste adding water as needed.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp. of coconut oil in a broad pan. Add the ladiesfinger & fry for 5 minutes on medium heat. Take them out of the oil & keep aside.
  5. To the same pan, add the shallots and greenchillies and fry for a minute. Add the carrots, beans, cluster beans, drumstick, ashguord, 1 cup of water and 3/4 tsp. of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
  6. Add the fried ladiesfinger & cover cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in the tomato pieces & cook further for 5 more minutes.
  8. Add the tamarind extract, cooked toor dal, the ground sambar masala paste, cumin powder, hing, jaggery, enough water (Ernakulam Sambar is watery) & salt to taste. Mix well & bring to a boil.
  9. Lower heat to medium & cook further for 5 minutes. Switch off heat.
  10. In a wok, heat coconut oil and add the mustard seeds. Allow them to splutter. Add the dry red chillies and curry leaves and fry for a minute. Now add the seasoning to the sambar.
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