Serving
(click to enlarge)

Sambar with Cauliflower
India, South

Serves:
Effort:
Time:

DoAhead:  
4+ main  
**
1-1/2 hr  
Yes
Sambars appear in most meals in Southern India. They are a stew of toor dal with vegetables and spicing, and are delicious. Finish with a "tadka", a sort of aromatic garnish that gets swirled in. At the table a quantity of rice is taken, some warm ghee (clarified butter) is spooned over the rice and the sambar is stirred in, Personally I skip the ghee, set the rice and sambar side by side and mix them as I eat - but then I'm not of Indian ancestry.



1
1/2
2
12
1-1/2
1/2
2
tt
6
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1
1
1/2
2
1/8
2
1
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2
1
1
Few
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#
c
c
oz
t
t
t

oz
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t
t
t
t
t
T
T
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t
t


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Cauliflower
Toor Dal (1)
Water
Tomatoes
Sambar Powder (2)  
Turmeric
Rice Flour
Salt
Coconut Milk
-- Seasoning Paste
Oil
Coriander seeds
Black Peppercorns
Urad Dal (3)
Asafoetida (4)
Coconut dry
Water
-- Tadka (tempering)
Oil (orig ghee)
Mustard seeds
Red Chili dry
Curry Leaves (5)
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PREP   -   (1 hr - 25 min work)
  1. Break CAULIFLOWER into moderate size florettes
  2. Wash TOOR DAL in several changes of water (the washing reduces foaming). Put in a sauce pan with 2 cups Water and bring to a boil uncovered (to prevent it from foaming over). Turn to a very low simmer, cover and simmer for 45 min (or longer if you want it very smooth as they do in India - I like a bit more texture). Simmer uncovered a bit if necessary - there should be almost no free water.
  3. Scald TOMATOES 1 minute in boiling water, quench in cold water, peel and cut into about 3/4 inch chunks, mix with Sambar Powder and Turmeric.
  4. Stir enough water into Rice Flour to suspend it as you would with corn starch.
  5. Make the seasoning paste:   Put Oil in a small frying pan and bring it up hot. Fry Coriander, Peppercorns and Urad Dal until Urad starts to color. Take the pan off the heat and immediately stir in Asafoetida and cool. Put in a heavy mortar with COCONUT and about 1 T Water. Pound to a fine paste.
  6. Mix Tadka:   Split the RED CHILI lengthwise and mix with Mustard Seeds and Curry Leaves (if you have them). Have this all ready for the last moment before serving.
RUN   -   (16 min)
  1. Put Cauliflower in a sauce pan with enough water to about 1/3 cover. Stir in Tomato Mix and bring to a simmer until Cauliflower is nearly done (about 10 minutes).
  2. Stir in Spice Paste, Rice Flour and Cooked Dal. Stir in Salt to taste and simmer a few minutes to blend.
  3. Add Coconut Milk and adjust liquid as needed - Sambars should be fairly liquid. Bring back to a simmer.
  4. Tadka: heat Oil in a small pan. Fry Mustard Seed Mix stirring until mustard seeds are popping well (just a few seconds). Pour over the sambar and give it a swirl.
  5. Serve with plenty of steamed long grain rice.
NOTES:
  1. Toor Dal:   This is peeled and split Pigeon Peas, also called Tuvar Dal. For a lighter flavor you could use Moong Dal- peeled and split Mung Beans. Both these are available at any market serving an Indian community.
  2. Sambar Powder:   This is an important masala in southern India. It can be purchased, but is better made at home. Here is our Sambar Powder recipe.
  3. Urad Dal:   This tiny white dal is split and peeled urad beans (black gram). It is easily available in any market serving an Indian community. If you don't have it, leaving it out will not make a lot of difference.
  4. Asafoetida - Hing:   This is the resin of a giant fennel plant, used in India by sects forbidden to eat onions or garlic.   Caution: there are two forms: Pure Hing (asafoetida beads or ground) and the more common "Hing Powder". The "powder" is heavily cut with rice flour. The amount given here is for pure asafoetida. Use about 3 times as much if what you have is the "powder" form. For details see our Asafoetida page.
  5. Curry Leaves:   These are essential for the flavors of southern India, but if you don't have them, leave them out - there is no acceptable substitute. For details see our Curry Leaf page.
  6. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste

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