I personally call this the Queen of South Indian Sambhars as it is so yummy, lip smacking and one is tempted to eat more rice just to have the tasty Sambhar. This is the typical Sambhar called hotel style or Tiffin Sambhar served in South Indian restaurants as an accompaniment to Idlis, Dosas and Pongal.
People have been known to ask for extra Sambhar to be served in restaurants as it is indeed to die for and makes one so gluttony!.
Not only is this very flavorful, but also nutritious as it includes dals, spices good for health and loaded with veggies. In hotels you see more of the gravy and less of veggies and they use plenty of shallots for this sambhar.
While I do enjoy making a separate Tiffin Sambhar , I make the Araithavitta ( which literally means ground in Tamil ) by using many vegetables and do not use shallots ,I leave it to your choice to include shallots in this recipe, assure you this will not alter the taste.
This Sambhar is predominantly served in weddings in the Southern states and thus its popularity.
The recipe given below is for a typical Araithavitta sambahr and any vegetable can be used . I have used a mixed veg cup.
If you wish to use shallots only for this sambhar, then you need to saute the peeled small onions with 1 tbsp oil and saute them till they are pink and translucent and the rest of the procedure remains the same.
1 cup of mixed vegetables like pumpkin, turnips, drumsticks, or any of your choice.
1 tomato chopped into pieces or tomato puree.
1 small lime size tamarind. ( soaking in water or warm water helps quick easy extraction of pulp)
3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
1 cup Toor dal ( Red gram ) cooked and mashed well.
To roast and grind
1 tbsp coriander seeds/dhaniya seeds
1 tsp chana dal/Kadala parupu
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds/methi seeds
2-3 red dry chillis. ( either small rounded ones or long red chillis.)
1 tsp rice flour
Generous pinch of asafoetida powder.
1/2 cup of a small coconut ( Freshly grated coconut/dry can also be used but fresh tastes good.)
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp oil ( 1 tbsp of this for roasting the spices )
2 red dry chillis
sprigs of curry leaves
Pressure cook the dal with little water and mash the dal when cooled and keep this aside.
1. Chop all the veggies you plan to use in the sambhar into small cubes. Sambhar can be prepared with one kind of vegetables also like only drumsticks, pumpkins, carrots or only shallots too.
2. Extract tamarind water to make around 1 1/2 cups.
3. Keep the tamarind water to boil by adding turmeric powder, salt and pinch of asafoetida powder.
Add the chopped vegetables including the chopped tomato or tomato puree along with some sprigs of curry leaves to enhance the flavor. Add some chopped coriander leaves also at this stage.
4.Roast all spices except coconut and grind along with coconut when cooled in small mixie jar with little water.Keep the ground paste aside. Rice flour also to be added while grinding the roasted spices , to help thicken the sambhar .
5. When the vegetables seem to be cooked and soft , and when the boiling tamarind mixture with the vegetables starts emanating a good aroma,and seems little reduced in quantity by becoming slightly thick, add the cooked dal and ground paste and keep the flame on a low.
6 If the consistency now appears to be very thick, thin it by adding little water from the dal.. Do not boil for long after adding the ground paste, take it off when the sambhar starts to boil.
7. Prepare the seasoning by heating oil in a tadka pan, crackle mustard seeds, add red chillis, and some more curry leaves and pour this on the prepared hot smabhar.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
This is an excellent sambhar to go with rice, dosas, pongal or idlis.
Serve hot with rice and papad. Truly yum!