Saturday, November 7, 2009

Udupi Sambar / Lentils with Vegetables

Udupi cuisine strictly includes vegetarian recipes as it is part of temple cuisine. The cuisine in this part of the region revolves around fresh vegetables, leaves, pulses and fruits. The rich soil and abundant rainfall in the region helps to support variety of vegetables, grains and fruit crops. The commonly grown vegetables include beans, pumpkin, gourds, ivy gourds, raw bananas, raw jackfruit. Different leaves used are Valli (Malabar Spinach), colocasia, turmeric leaves, banana leaves, curry leaves, coriander leaves, brahmi leaves and many others. Variety of fruits like mango, pineapple, jackfruit, grapes and banana are used to prepare desserts like halwas and main course dishes like sassam. The vegetable is used to its fullest--even skins of ridge gourds, bottle gourds are used to prepare chutney and the skin of raw banana is used to prepare "Upkari" or sabzi. Coconut is used in abundance to prepare chutneys, curries, sweets and in salads like koshimbiris. Mangalorean and Konkani cuisine is also derives lot from Udipi cuisine, but it also includes seafood and meat dishes which contain onion and garlic and are a strict no-no in Udupi cuisine.
Udupi sambar is another kind of sambar which we make at home. I use Madras onions or shallots in this recipe. Onions can be skipped if it is not desired in the sambar. This recipe calls for making the sambar masala from scratch. It has a very different taste and texture than the other sambar recipe which I posted earlier. It goes well with rice, dosa or idli. I am reposting this recipe for the WYF:Specialty food event.

1/2 cup toor dal
1/2 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
1 green chili
1 tomato
1 cup chopped vegetables (potato (is a must at my home), lady's finger (okra), eggplant (brinjal), drumstick, cauliflower, ivy gourd (tendli), carrot, beans, pumpkin (squash), ash gourd, bottle gourd, peas -- use just one vegetable or combination of which ever vegetable is available on hand )
15-20 shallots or small red onions (washed and peeled)
1 teaspoon jaggery
3 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves

Ground Paste:
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 1/2 teaspoon urad dal
1 teaspoon chana dal
1 teaspoon fenugreek or methi seeds
3 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon tuemeric powder
1/4 teaspoon jeera or cumin seeds
7-8 byadgi red chilies or as per taste
3-4 pepper corns

1 teaspoon mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida
around 15 curry leaves
coconut oil or any other oil
salt for taste

Fry methi seeds till it is pink. Then fry tor dal and chana dal till it is crisp and light pink in color. Then fry coriander seeds, cumin, pepper corns and red chilies. Add 6 curry leaves and fry till they are crisp. Add the grated coconut and fry on low flame till crisp. Fry all the ingredients on a low or medium flame so that they don't burn. Cool the ingredients and then grind them with little water into a smooth paste.
Boil the toor dal, mash it and keep it aside.
Add 2 tablespoon oil in a pan and add slit green chili. Fry for a minute and then add the onions. Fry for 5-6 minutes and add chopped tomato and vegetables. Fry for 5 minutes and add the tamarind concentrate and jaggery. Add 2 cups of water and cook the vegetables till soft.
Mix the toor dal, the masala paste and the vegetables in a vessel and add desired quantity of water. Salt it as per taste. Get the sambar to a boil. Season the sambar with oil, mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice, dosa or idli.