Sunday, 5 October 2008
Sambar for World Food Day
I posted about the World Food Day Event that my friends Valli and Ivy are hosting together earlier on this blog. I think this is a very noble cause in raising awareness of hunger and deprivation that exists all over the world.
Although I already posted about this, I thought that since the intent is to 'Feed that World' albeit in a virtual manner, the more food brought to this event the better. So in addition to my earlier post, I'm bring along a Sambar.
Sambar is definitely one of my favourite foods. This lentil based dish has many variations and is often considered one of the staple dishes in South Indian cuisine. It is akin to the Dhall in North Indian cooking. It is also very Malaysians since Malaysian food is so darned varied and includes Malay, Chinese and Indian Cuisine not to mention a whole host of other ethnic cuisines. This is my own homemade version of Sambar and since I am as Malaysian as can be, I reckon this qualifies as a National food!
Sambar is great in that it can be a meal all on its own, eaten with rice. Although usually vegetarian, there are some variants that add meat into it as well.
When I was a student, I used to cook this dish rather frequently. It was great comfort food and was relatively cheap as well while at the same time providing lots of protein. In fact, many friends from my Uni days, still remember my ‘legendary’ Sambar that we all used to tuck into and enjoy. Coupled with a fiery curry, this was just pure heaven on cold wintry nights!
This is what I do:
300g Lentils (yellow or orange lentils)
1 Large onion
2 slices ginger
2 tsp turmeric
Handful curry leaves
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp fenugreek
1 tbsp oil
3 cups water
3 dried chillies
Wash lentils and let soak for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, Pare potatoes and carrots and cut each potato into medium sized pieces and the carrot into longish slices. Do the same for the eggplant and quarter the tomatoes. Set vegetables aside.
Slice onion, chop garlic and cut chillies into large piece. Heat oil and fry onion, garlic, chillies, curry leaves, black pepper, cloves and fenugreek till fragrant. Add the curry powder and turmeric and fry lightly. Add the vegetables and fry lightly. Add in the water and lentils. Cover and let simmer till lentils are soft. You may need to add some water from time to time. Season with salt
You can add more water to make a thin Sambar or let it simmer longer for a thicker version. There are just so many possibilities! Sometimes, to add a little more flavour and ‘richness’, a little ghee (clarified butter) is poured over the Sambar and mixed with rice. I sometimes like to add ladysfingers (Okra) to the Sambar as well.
Sambar is just perfect eaten with rice or even flatbreads. A delicious and very nutritious food, it goes a long way and is the perfect food to serve for a lot of people.
So please lay this dish together with all the other ones to get "A conga line of international dishes to feed the world!!!!