for cooking dal:
¼ cup arhar dal/tuvar dal/pigeon pea lentils
1 cup water for pressure cooking dal
veggies and spices:
½ cup diced brinjals, about 3 to 4 medium brinjals
⅓ to ½ cup chopped potatoes, 1 medium potato
⅓ cup chopped carrots, 1 medium carrot
⅓ cup chopped french beans, 8 to 10 french beans, chopped
¼ to ⅓ cup thickly sliced shallots or small onions or sambhar onions
½ cup diced tomatoes, 1 medium tomato
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1.5 cups water for cooking veggies
½ to 1 tsp jaggery or add as per taste
salt as required
for tamarind pulp:
½ tbsp tightly packed seedless tamarind
¼ cup hot water
for sambar masala paste:
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
10 to 12 methi seeds
5 to 6 byadagi chilies or any less hot dry red chilies, halved or broken and deseeded
8 to 10 whole black peppers
¼ cup tightly packed grated coconut
1 or 2 garlic, chopped
½ cup water for grinding
1 tsp mustard seeds
4 to 5 garlic, crushed lightly with their peels on
a generous pinch of asafoetida/hing
1 to 2 dry red chilies, halved or broken and deseeded
1 sprig curry leaves or 8 to 10 curry leaves
2 tbsp oil
preparing the freshly ground sambar masala:
heat a tawa or a small frying pan and dry roast the following spices on a low flame – 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 10 to 12 methi seeds, 5 to 6 byadagi chilies or any less hot dry red chilies (halved or broken and deseeded), 8 to 10 whole black peppers.
roast these spices till they become fragrant.
now add these spices in a grinder jar. add 1 or 2 garlic (chopped) and ¼ cup tightly packed grated coconut.
add ½ cup water and grind to a smooth paste. add more water if required while grinding. keep aside covered.
rinse tuvar dal a couple of time in water. the pressure cook tuvar dal with 1 cup of water for 4 to 5 whistles or till the lentils become mushy and soft. mash the dal and keep aside. you can also cook the dal in a pan. if cooking in a pan, then cover and cook till the lentils are done. add more water if required.
preparing tamarind pulp:
soak ½ tbsp tightly packed seedless tamarind in ¼ cup hot water for 20 to 30 minutes.
later squeeze the pulp from the tamarind directly in the water. strain and keep aside.
rinse, peel and dice all the veggies. add them in a pan. i used a mix of brinjals, carrots, french beans, potatoes, tomatoes and pearl onions.
now add 1.5 cups water. add ¼ tsp turmeric powder and stir well. cover the pan and cook the veggies on a low to medium flame.
cook till the veggies become tender and are almost cooked. now add the mashed dal and stir very well.
then add the tamarind pulp. add the ground sambar masala paste. mix and stir very well. simmer for 8 to 9 minutes.
season with salt as per taste. add ½ to 1 tsp jaggery. add the jaggery as per taste.
continue to simmer for 7 to 8 minutes on a low to medium flame. do stir at intervals. if the sambar looks thick, then you can add some more water. once the sambar is done, cover and keep aside.
tempering for veg sambar:
heat 2 tbsp oil. then add 1 tsp mustard seeds and crackle them.
next add 4 to 5 garlic, crushed lightly with their peels on. stir and saute for some seconds.
add a generous pinch of asafoetida/hing, 1 to 2 dry red chilies (halved or broken & deseeded), 1 sprig curry leaves.
saute till the red chilies change color and the curry leaves become crisp. this takes just some seconds.
then pour the whole tempering mixture into the veg sambar. cover for 5 minutes and let the tempering flavors infuse with the sambar.
you can garnish with a few coriander leaves and serve veg sambar hot with steamed rice.