Tiffin Sambar – Saravana Bhavan Mini idli style

I am a huge fan of Saravana Bhavan’s mini idlis as are everyone in my family. This is such a delightfully tasty, absolutely lip-smacking tiffen – fluffy white mini idlis dunked in hot flavour bursting sambar, drizzled with ghee. Perfect! Unlike the sambar we make at home, this tiffen sambar is not tangy, is thick and full bodied and has mild sweet undertones. Tiffen sambar is the best accompaniment for idli, dosai or pongal. I have to thank Mythreyi of Myerecipecorner. I picked up this recipe from her blog. Her blog has so many amazing recipes, you’ll have to check it out. It is true to its name and tastes just like the hotel tiffen sambar (though not exactly like Rathna Café Sambar which tastes different from all other hotel sambars). I followed her recipe as is and it turned out great. Everybody in the family agreed that it tasted just like hotel tiffen sambar. Every week we cycle through various chutneys, kormas, sundakkai sojji and sometimes vadakari for the idli/dosai that we make every day. We try to underplay the idli/dosai monotony by changing up the side dishes. This tiffen sambar was a refreshing change and I’d strongly recommend anyone stumped for a side-dish to try it out. I cut up regular sized idlis and dunked them in sambar. You could serve it on the side as well. old picture Preparation time: 15 minsCooking time: 30 minsServes: 5-6 Ingredients Toor dal – 1 cupSambar onions/Shallots – 15 peeled and halvedTomato – 1 choppedCarrot – 1 choppedDrumstick – 1Curry leaves – 1 stemsMustard seeds – 1 tspTurmeric powder – ½ tspJaggery powdered – 1 tbspSalt to tasteCoriander leaves – a handful for garnishingOil – 1 tbsp Masala Paste Coriander seeds – 3 tbspBengal gram/kadala paruppu – 2 tbspWhole dry red chillies – 12Cumin – 1/2 tspFenugreek/Methi seeds – 1 tspGrated coconut – 1/2 a coconut Method 1.      Pressure cook the toor dal till soft. Mash well and set aside. 2.      Dry roast all the ingredients under “Masala paste” except grated coconut till fragrant and the Bengal gram starts colouring. Grind the roasted ingredients along with coconut and a  water to a thick, nearly smooth paste. 3.      In a vessel/kadai, add oil and when hot, drop in the mustard seeds. When they splutter, throw in the sambar onions and curry leaves and fry till the onions turn translucent. 4.     Add the tomatoes and fry...

Drumstick Sambar – Traditional Tamil style

Drumstick Sambar Sambar is to South India, what noodles is to china, Thai Red/green curry is to Thailand an over-commercialized symbol of the region, especially with the new age sambar masalas that bring grandma’s touch (why not cook’s or uncle’s or even better – mother-in-law’s touch? don’t want to antagonize the daughters-in-law?) to your sambar. I am not against sambar or sambar masalas, stupid stereotyping and gross generalizations make me cringe. Now that I’ve got the negative chi off my chest, let’s create some positive chi, some aromatic, flavour packed heavy duty sambar. The best sambars are perfectly balanced neither too tangy nor too hot. The secret to that lies in the amount of tamarind you use. So master the tamarind and you’ve got sambar covered. There are dozens of different Sambars, some with coconut, some with jaggery, with/without garlic, some without tamarind. Each household will have its own version. What I am posting today is one such version with tamarind and garlic. This Drumstick sambar is rich and full-bodied and is best had with hot steamed rice, a dollop of ghee, appalam, and potato roast or seppankezhangu roast (coming soon). Preparation time: 15 minsCooking time: 20-25 minsServes: 6-7  Ingredients Toor dal – 1 cupSambar onions/shallots – 10 + 10 peeled and choppedTomatoes – 2 choppedDrumstick – 2 cut into 2 inch piecesRed chilli powder – 2 tspAsafoetida – a pinchTurmeric powder – ½ tsp + ½ tspTamarind extract – small lemon sized Salt to tasteGarlic – 6-7 Coriander leaves chopped – a handful for garnishing For tempering Dry red chillies – 2 wholeGarlic – 6-7 pods unpeeledGreen chillies – 2Cumin – 1 tspMustard seeds – 1 tspCurry leaves – 1 stem  Method 1.      Pressure cook the dal with 2 cups water, half of the sambar onions (10), tomatoes, garlic, ½ tsp turmeric powder and a pinch of asafoetida for 15 mins or till well cooked. Mash up the dal mixture and set aside. 2.      Soak the tamarind along with salt in water for 10 minutes. Start with just enough water to immerse the tamarind. Extract the juices and again add water and extract. Repeat till you’re left with the dry pulp. You’ll get around 2 cups of tamarind extract. Set aside. 3.      Grind together the unpeeled garlic and green chillies without adding water to a coarse mixture, just a few seconds in the mixer. Set aside. 4.      In a pot/kadai,...
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