Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sambar Salivations

I can't stop thinking about the sambar we made yesterday. ETA: and neither can Amy, 'cuz she posted about it today, too. Her pictures are way nicer than mine, so scoot over to her blog so you experience sambar in 3-D.

One of the amazing things about sambar, besides how delicious and nutritious it is, well--you can make it out of whatever veggies you have floating around your produce bins. Especially this time of year, since sambar does particularly well with squash, both Summer and Autumn varieties and other things usually lurking in the kitch'n like carrots, potatoes and onions. Our soup happened to be on the sweeter side, because we used carrot, spaghetti squash, onion and this gorgeous icicle beet. The flavors were so earthy and spicy and good.

So the only hard part about sambar is taking the time to make the sambar powder, although you can make up a big batch, which will last for a long time. In South Indian cooking, dal often does double duty--it may get fried and ground along with spices, and in the same dish. it may also be cooked in water the way you would typically expect.

We took a couple shortcuts with our sambar, the first being frying the spices at one time, instead of individually. Pictured above: coconut, fresh curry leaves, cinnamon, fennugreek, chana dal, peppercorns, red chile, whole coriander, whole cumin and white poppy seeds are fried in a little oil, then ground in a coffee mill to make sambar powder.

To make the sambar, toor dal is cooked in water (our second cheat--we used quicker cooking pink masoor dal) until soft. Meanwhile whatever vegetables you're using are sauted, more spices are fried, then everything, including sambar powder, is mixed together with extra water, tamarind and salt. Since I am a cilantro lover, I topped mine with bits o' it. We ate ours with xgfx pretzels, which were great, but vada would've been super respectable, too.


P.S. Tomorrow I am lending my blog to a secret guest!
P.P.S. The fenugreek has started to germinate!

This post is part of VeganMoFo 2010 - the Vegan Month of Food. Get more MoFo info by checking out VeganMoFo Headquarters Itn'l, where you can subscribe to a bunch of vegan blogs and ohh and ahh to your heart's content.


  1. Kittee, you're making me so hungry!!

  2. kittee, thank you for posting about making your own sambar. we are going to go broke buying it from our local indian joint. i'm going to make misha read all about it; he's the big sambar fan and would live on it if he could.

  3. Amazing! I feel like I'm learning so much. I can't wait to find out who the guest blogger is.

  4. oh my GAWD. I want some sambar so badly now. I love love love sambar. It was one of my favorite parts of India... just think... not much longer and I'll be back there again eating all the dahl and sambar my little tummy desires.

    Btw, I saw this post about gf injera and thought of you:

  5. That last picture is gorgeous! I love sambar so much. It helps me dealing with cold weather.

  6. Awww kittee, that looks (and sounds) wonderful! I've never had sambar, but now I'm inspired to make some!

  7. You sent me homemade sambar powder a couple of years ago and it was the most awesome thing ever! I may have to make some.

  8. That looks so darn good I can almost smell it through the monitor. And DAMN I won't find out who your guest blogger is until Sunday night 'cos I'm not around til then.

  9. I'm on the edge of my seat wondering who your secret guest might be! I don't make Indian food nearly enough. I wonder if the local Indian shop has curry leaves.

  10. I am on a mission to make sambar soon! You're killing me with delicous!


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