Friday, August 10, 2007

Sambar!

Once you've got some sambar powder made, you're on your way to a big pot of deliciousness. It's pretty easy to make, but it has a lot of components. You'll definitely need to make a trip to an Indian market to get all the essentials, especially the curry leaves. Most Indian restaurants and cookbooks focus on North Indian dishes, so if you're interested in learning more about Southern Indian cuisine, you'll probably have to do a bit of research. I have four favorite cookbooks I recommend, plus there are websites you can go to for more info--my favorite Indian blog is Mahanandi. My favorites are Dakshin, An Earthly Delight Cookbook Vegetarian Cuisine from South India, by Chandra Padmanabhan, Healthy South Indian Cooking, by Vairavan Marquardt, South Indian Favourites, by Nita Mehta (a cheap and really easy cookbook!), and South Indian Tiffin: Over 120 Varieties of Idlis, Dosas, Sambars and Chutneys, by Vijaya Hiremath.

There are all sorts of ingredients in sambar powder, the recipe I like is in Dakshin and contains: coriander, red chillies, black peppercorns, cumin, fenugreek, mustard seeds, chana dal, coconut, cinnamon, turmeric and curry leaves. Each ingredient is dry roasted separately and then combined to make the powder.

Here are what curry leaves look like, if you want to scope some out. I'm lucky enough to have a small curry plant growing on my patio too. You can purchase them online from web nurseries. I'll post more pictures when I get the sambar going.

xo
kittee

5 comments:

  1. wow!!! I am totally sucked in to this blog!

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  2. Kittee! It's emilyo -- Just a note to say I love your blog!!

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  3. thanks avery and emily!!

    xo
    kittee

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  4. Hi Kittee! You would luv Sagar, my local vegetarian S. Indian curryhouse. So true that S. indian is quite a bit different from northern cuisine...I'm spoiled for choice here in London.

    Question: So in the sambar, you grind up chana dal, meaning the lentils? That's v. innaresting b/c I wouldn't have thought to use it as a spice. I will have to try it!

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  5. hey noelle!
    in south indian cuisine, dal is often used as a spice. it's eaten fried with spices in chutneys and other dishes. in the sambar, a good amount of it is dry roasted and ground into the mix. it adds a really nice roasted element. if you want to try, potato masala is really easy. chop and boil some potatoes till tender. put some oil in a skillet and fry a few tablespoons of chana dal. add in some curry leaves and mustard seeds, and once the mustard pops, add in some onions and ginger (you can add some raw cashews to the chana dal if you want, too). add salt and cook until the onions are soft. stir in the potatoes, some cayenne and turmeric and salt to taste.

    xo
    kittee

    xo
    kittee

    ReplyDelete

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