Sunday, November 23, 2008

saare saare sambhar ee!!

In 2007 December during a trip to Spain, me and my friend checked in at an authentic spanish restaurant in Seville... We ordered a full fledged lunch which was on offer…The menu said…soup…starter…main course and dessert , the description though were written in spanish.

After making ourselves comfortable and with excellent wine to help, we were enjoying the ambience and looking forward to the siesta which we badly wanted after the long tourist walks. In a few minutes the waiter served us the soup which looked dark orangish in color. One sip and glancing at each other we knew what we were gonna say….

“dei...ithu nammalude sambhar alle”

The waiter was bewildered how both of us told exactly the same comment in the same tone on the so called exotic Spanish soup which he served with so much élan.…Well the Spanish sambhar was our naadan sambhar , a lil less spicy though…Later when the waiter had gone back to get us the main course, it did cross our mind that the Spanish amigo who ran the restaurant probably might be a malayalee who branded the sambhar along famous names like the Paella. So strikingly same was it that we even tried to figure out any resemblance the waiter had with Columbus or Vasco da Gama…

Well we actually enjoyed “drinking” the sambhar as a soup and infact under circumstances (that heavenly wine ;-P) we did not find it odd at all.

Sambhar is an easy quick fix curry for anyone and it will go with practically anything from rice, idli, dosa and even chapatti.(seriously its awesome).. Since my old roommate was a Tamilian I learned their style of cooking sambhar... The recipe has been written based on how I do it which means it may not be the easiest way coz in the kitchen am more a perfectionist planner. Anyways the ingredients would be:-

1 cup dal
3-4 cups of vegetables (I normally use potato, cauliflower carrot, beans and Brinjal)
1 big onion
2 small tomatoes
Curry leaves
2 red chilies
3 green chilies
Jeeera and mustard
Sambhar powder (2.5 tbsp)
Chilly powder
Salt to taste
Tamarind paste (1 tbsp)

1) Pressure cook the dal with sufficient water for 3-4 whistles.
2) Meanwhile peel and slice potatoes, rest of the veggies and cook em(60%) in a microwave with sufficient water.(6-8 min)
3) Slice onions, green chilies, tomatoes and keep em aside.

Once they are ready.

1) Sauté the onions and green chilies in oil until they are transparent, following which add sliced tomatoes.
2) After 3-4 minutes add the sambhar powder along with half teaspoon red chili powder and mix them in low flame.
3) Meanwhile transfer the partially cooked veggies and cook this mix in little water with sufficient salt.
4) Once the raw smell of masala goes, add the cooked dal and water if necessary and allow it to cook.
5) After 2-3 minutes add the tamarind water and mix well.
6) In a separate pan sauté the chilies and curry leaves and transfer the content to the sambhar.
7) Serve it with rice or idlis.

And guys offer it to Salma Hayek or any Spanish beauty around...]
She might actually like the “soup”. ;-P