- Any one of the following vegetables, cleaned and chopped - Drumsticks (murungaikai), Radish , Ridged gourd, small brinjals, winter melon - 2 cups
- Tur dal - 2/3 cup or about 4 handful, pressure cooked with 1/4 tsp turmeric powder AND 1 tsp of edible castor oil (castor oil helps the tur dal cook very smoothly)
- Sambar powder - 1 tbsp (Click on link for home made recipe or use store bought one)
- Tamarind pulp - extracted from tamarind, the size of a small marble
- Onions - one cup, chopped
- Green chillies - 2
- Tomatoes - 1/2 cup, chopped
- Oil - 2 tbsp (preferably sesame seed oil)
- mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp, cummin seeds - 1/2 tsp, fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp, asafoetida - a pinch
- curry leaves - 2 sprigs
- Salt to taste and coriander to garnish
Heat oil and add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the cummin seeds and asafoetida. Add the fenugreek seeds and when they turn slightly golden, add the onions, green chillies and curry leaves and saute well. Add the tomatoes and saute till they are cooked. Add the vegetables and after saute-ing for a few mins, add the sambar powder. It is very crucial to add the sambar powder now, before the water is added, for bringing out the best flavors. It should get roasted in the oil, slightly, but be careful not to burn the powder. After 2 mins, add the cooked dal and let it come to a boil. Now add in the tamarind pulp and cover the pan. After 10-15 mins, when the vegetables are cooked and when sambar has come to desired consistency, add the salt. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice.
Note: You can omit the 2 cups of vegetables and increase the amount of onions used if you are making this sambar to go with Idlis or Dosas. These days, I watch the salt content in my food, so I usually add it in the end. I've seen that by this way, I can get by using a small amount of salt and still get the same taste.