Bowl of Fuzzy Melon Sambar
(click to enlarge)

Sambar with Fuzzy Melon
India, South

Serves:
Effort:
Time:
DoAhead:  
5+ w/rice  
***
3-1/2 hr  
Yes
Sambars appear in most meals in Southern India. They are a stew of toor dal (usually) with vegetables and spicing. They are delicious. While preparation takes some time, it can all be done even a day ahead. This dish reheats well. See Note-9 for serving details.



14
3/4
2
3
7
2
------
12
1
1/2
1
2/3
------
1
1
1/2
2
1/8
2
1
------
1/2
1/4
1/4
2
6
------
2
1
oz
c
c
T
oz
cl
---
oz
t
t
t
t
---
t
t
t
t
t
T
T
---
t
t
t


---
t
c
Fuzzy Melon (1)
Toor Dal (2)
Water
Tamarind (3)
Shallots
Garlic
-- Tomato mix
Tomatoes
Sambar Powder (4)  
Turmeric
Chili Powder (5)
Salt
-- Seasoning Paste
Oil
Coriander seeds
Black Peppercorns
Urad Dal (6)
Asafoetida (7)
Coconut, dry grated
Water
-- Tempering
Mustard seeds
Cumin Seeds
Fenugreek seeds
Red Chili dry
Curry Leaves (5)
-----------
Oil or Ghee
Water
PREP   -   (3 hr - 55 min work)
  1. Soak TOOR DAL in Water to cover for 20 minutes. Drain and rinse 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 until it has the consistency you want. In India they like it very smooth, but I like a bit more texture. It can take 1 to 3 hours depending how old the Toor Dal is and the desired texture. There should be little free water when it is done.
  2. Prepare Tamarind as needed (see Note-3);
  3. Wipe the prickly fuzz off FUZZY MELON. Scrape off green peel and cut into 3/4 inch cubes.
  4. Peel Shallots and chop fine. Crush Garlic and chop fine. Mix.
  5. Scald TOMATOES 1 minute in boiling water, quench in cold water, peel and cut into about 1/2 inch chunks. Mix all Tomato mix items.
  6. 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, then let it cool. Add Coconut and about 1 T Water. Pound to a fine paste in a heavy mortar.
  7. Mix all Tempering items
RUN   -   (25 min)
  1. In a coverable 3-1/2 quart sauté pan or similar, heat 2 t Oil. Stir in Tempering mix. When Curry Leaves have sputtered out and Mustard Seeds start to pop (chilis should be darkened but not blackened), stir in Shallot mix. Fry stirring until they soften, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in Tomato mix, Fuzzy Melon, Tamarind and 1 c Water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer slowly for about 15 minutes or until Fuzzy Melon is fairly tender.
  3. Stir in Toor Dal and Seasoning Paste. Bring back to a simmer and simmer for about 4 minutes or until Fuzzy Melon is tender enough.
  4. Adjust liquid as needed. Sambars should be fairly liquid to go well with rice.
  5. Serve with plenty of steamed long grain rice.
NOTES:
  1. Fuzzy Melon:   [Mo Qua] Actually a gourd, this is the immature form of the giant Ash Gourd or Winter Melon. For details see our Fuzzy Melon page.
  2. Toor Dal:   This is peeled and split Pigeon Peas, also called Tuvar Dal or Red Gram (for the flower color). It is always available in markets serving an Indian community. Caution: - it must be fresh. If it's more than 6 months old it probably won't cook tender.
  3. Tamarind:   If your Tamarind is concentrate in a jar, use 3 T. If it's block form use about 3 T, soak 1/2 hour in 3/4 cup warm water and press through a strainer (use all the liquid). If you don't have tamarind use 3 t lemon juice - not the same, but it's something. For details see our Tamarind page.
  4. 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.
  5. Chili Powder:   Indian Reshampatti is appropriate. It is fairly hot and has good flavor. 1 t makes this Sambar "satisfyingly hot" by Southern California standards. If in doubt, use half as much, or use Kashmir powder. For details see our Chili page.
  6. 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.
  7. Asafoetida - Hing:   This is the resin of a giant fennel plant, used in India by sects forbidden to eat onions or garlic (but sometimes used with them).   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.
  8. 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.
  9. Serving:   In India, rice would be anointed with Ghee, and then the Sambar would be mixed in. It would be served with several other dishes, all used in modest portions with the rice. On the Western table the Sambar would likely be served beside the rice on a plate, and in a larger amount to serve as a vegetarian main dish. There would probably be at most one other dish, perhaps a chicken or meat dish.
  10. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste

imp_sambfuzm1 160731 var   -   www.clovegarden.com
©Andrew Grygus - agryg@aaxnet.com - Linking to and non-commercial use of this page is permitted.