Ratna Cafe Tiffîn sambar is most sought after by its loyal patrons who prefer to douse their soft idlis in a plate full of sambar . It is not unheard of for patrons to request for additional cups of sambar rather than more idlis . Such is the craving and there is no denying that people order idlis just to drink that yummy sambar . 

An attempt to recreate that taste at home .

Ratna  cafe tiffîn sambar 


To be roasted and ground to paste 

3 tsp coriander seeds 
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds 
2 tsp Chana dal 

Big pinch of asafoetida powder or crystal 
2 tsp rice 
1  tsp pottukadalai ( fried gram to be added while grinding ) 
3-4 red Kashmiri chilies 
3 -4 tbsp fresh grated coconut 
2 tsp gingelly oil ( sesame oil ) 

To be ground with above roasted ingredients to a paste 

4-5 small shallots
 1 medium ripe tomato 
1 green chilly . 

Other ingredients to prepare sambar 

1/4 cup toor dal 
3 tbsp moong dal ( paasi parup )
Some vegetables like yellow pumpkin , drumsticks etc 
Make sure to add a nice big chunk of pumpkin which should be added mashed to sambar . 
3 medium Size ripe tomatoes finely chopped . 
4-5 shallots 
1 green chilly slit 
 1 small berry size tamrind with tamrind water extracted . 
A pinch of turmeric powder 
1/2 tsp mustard seeds for tempering
1-2 red chillies for tempering
2 tsp oil for tempering 

Some curry leaves and fresh coriander leaves for garnishing 
2 tsp powdered jaggery .   

1. Pressure cook toor dal and moong dal . 
Mash well by adding some water and keep aside . 

2. Roast and grind to paste above mentioned ingredients ( except coconut ) under roast and grind  heading along with shallots , tomato  , green chilly and pottukadalai . ( fried gram ) 

Keep this paste aside . 

Take a pan add some oil and first sautée the green chilly , shallots , curry leaves . 
Add chopped tomatoes , tamrind water , mash lightly while sauteeing , add other vegetables you are planning to add like drumstick , yellow pumpkin . ( don't add too many vegetables as you will have observed that hotel sambar don't have too much vegetables but thick sambar liquid . ) add little water , salt , turmeric powder and let this veggie mixture cook till softened . May take around 4 -6 minutes

Next add the mashed dal mixture to the cooking vegetables and keep stirring with ladle in a light mashing way so that vegetables and dal blend well ,
Next add the ground sambar masala paste by diluting further and keep stirring sambar mixture as now the sambar gets thicker and likely to stick at bottom so you need to dilute till a semi thick sambar consistency is achieved . Adjust salt . 

Don't allow sambar to boil over but simmer gently in a low flame .
Remove and add powdered jaggery to the sambar . 

Temper with mustard seeds and red chilly either in ghee or sesame oil ,
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves . 

This sambar tastes delicious when  served with soft idlis and ghee drizzled on top . 
Makes excellent accompaniment for  Pongal or dosa too .