Sambar is the best side dish for idli, dosa, pongal and many more dishes. Most of them like the sambar served at the restaurant for its appetizing color and flavour. The flavour and the aroma in the restaurant sambar is achieved by following just one trick, by adding the sambar powder to the oil and then adding to the sambar instead of adding the sambar powder directly to the sambar. Sambar powder when added to the oil and cooked for a minute elevates the flavour of the sambar.
The below recipe is prepared without adding any vegetables but you can use the same recipe by adding the vegetables along with the onion and tomato and pressure cook for 5 whistles.
PREP TIME: 5 Mins
COOKING TIME: 20 Mins
Onion/Shallots – 1 cup
Tomato – ½ cup
Green chilli – 1
Toor dal – ½ cup
Mustard – 1/2 tea spoon
Urad dal – 1/2 tea spoon
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Asafoetida – 1 pinch
Sambar powder – 3 teaspoons
Tamarind water – ½ cup
Cilantro – 3 teaspoons finely chopped
Salt – per taste
Oil – 2 teaspoons
STEP 1: Wash the toor dal and pressure cook the dal for 5 whistles. Mash well and keep it aside.
STEP 2: Chop onion and tomato.
STEP 3: Soak the tamarind in water.
STEP 4: Add onion, tomato and the cooked dal along with some turmeric powder, curry leaves and 1 green chilli to the pressure cooker and cook covered for 10 minutes.
STEP 5: Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and wait till it splutters. Add urad dal, asafoetida and the sambar powder. Mix well. Make sure the color of the sambar powder doesn’t change to brown.
STEP 6: Pour the oil and sambar powder mixture over the sambar.
STEP 7: Add the tamarind water and salt. Mix well and let it cook for 10 minutes on high flame. Turn off the heat and add chopped cilantro.
TIP: This is a simple, no vegetable restaurant style sambar recipe. I have used homemade sambar powder but you can also use store bought sambar powder.