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 tomatoes
2 potatoes
2 eggplants
2 carrots
2 tsp turmeric
Handful curry leaves
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsp Black Pepper
3 cloves
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!!!!


Meeta K. Wolff said...

I love sambar too. It's an easy to make and such a comforting dish wih simple rice. Now you got me craving for this, even though I just finished eating the DB challenge! ;-)

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

This is wonderful Dharm. You make an excelelnt ambassador for your country. You now have one dish for each member of your family to bring to the conga line. This is very exciting. We will see you, Lovely wife and the two kidlets in the conga line:D

glamah16 said...

I have to try this. Ima always looking for hearty, spicy, yummy, yet healthy non alternatives for CS and I to vary our diet with.

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

This is really nice. I would eat that.

Anonymous said...

I am trying this one...first chilly day....
sigh..that should be sometime in..oh...December?

maybelle's mom said...

Oh, I love sambar too. it is so delicious with papad.

Anonymous said...

Yummy! Simple and delicious! Is there anything you can't cook, Dharm??

Pat said...

Hey Dharm,

Such a lovely place you have here! And so full of the delicious things you make. What a lucky family you have!

I have only had the time to just look at pictures, and read a bit of this post on sambar. I must try it! My husband and I love it, but sadly, we don't know how to make it :(

I may be indian, but my cooking skills are strictly chinese and western! Don't ask! I also bake, and I need to see if your brownies or chocolate cake is anything like mine....

We've an empty nest now - both our children are far away. My girl in Canada, and my boy doing his final year in chef school! So yah, we're a very-the-like-eating family! Hahahaha.

I'm coming back to visit summore soon.



giz said...

Another great submission Dharm - this dish looks not only satisfying but also generous enough to feed many many people.

Kavs said...

Comfort food!!! :-) Sure brings back memories of grandma's kitchen!

Don't suppose you have a good vegetable or lime achar recipe up your sleeve too?


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