Mungarai Keerai Sambar | Drumstick Leaves Sambar

Occasionally the local Asian shop has Drumstick Leaves (also known as Moringa, Mungarai Keerai and Murungai Keerai) and we are always excited to bring a bunch home. One of our favourite ways to use them is to make a Drumstick Leaf Sambar. It is a standard sambar with an onion tadka, into which the cooked leaves are stirred. The flavours are allowed to develop and the sambar is served with rice.

The leaves, unless very tender, are quite tough to digest, so make sure you cook them well.

This recipe can also be made with the various types of Amaranth leaves.

Similar recipes include Sundakkai Sambar, and Classic Sambar.

Browse our Sambar recipes, and Drumstick Leaves dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.
Continue reading “Mungarai Keerai Sambar | Drumstick Leaves Sambar”

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Onion Sambar

Onion Sambar is a very popular South Indian and Sri Lankan sambar. It goes well with rice, idli, dosa, vada, pongal, upma and most other South Indian breakfast dishes.

This dish can be made with small onions (pearl onions or pickling onions) or with chopped, big onions. It will taste wonderful whatever onion you use. I like to use golden shallots as well – they add a slight sweetness to the dish.

Are you interested in other Sambar recipes? Why not try a Classic Seasoned Sambar? Or Moru Sambar. And read about whether Sambar should be Sour, Salty or Hot.

You can see all of our Sambar recipes here, and our collection of Indian recipes here. Specifically, out South Indian dishes are here and Sri Lankan are here. Perhaps you want Onion Recipes. Or try our collection of easy Mid Summer recipes.

Continue reading “Onion Sambar”

Sundakkai Sambar | Fresh Turkey Berry Sambar

Who isn’t a fan of Sundakkai, those little bursts of crunch and flavour, also known as the Pea Eggplant. Pea-sized they are, but pack a punch in the flavour department. They are also called Turkey Berry, Devil’s Fig, Prickly Nightshade, Shoo-shoo Bush, and Wild Eggplant.

Fresh Sundakkai are used in dishes such as Sambar, Kuzhambu, Poritha Kuzhambu and Kootu. They are also sun-dried, a salty, slightly bitter vathal that can be used in Rasam, Sambar and Kuzhambu. I also like to powder the dried ones, after sauteing, and use quite untraditionally as a sprinkle over non-Indian salads and other dishes.

This dish is a Sambar made with the sundakkai. You will find it delicious with wonderful flavours. The Turkey Berries first need to be picked from their stems. This is the sort of job that is similar to shelling peas or peeling broad beans – best done while watching your favourite show on TV or sitting outside in the sunshine. Then rinse them well in cold water.

Some reading for you first.

For how to cook vegetables for sambar, read On cooking Vegetables for Sambar. For making sambar powders, go to Sambar Powders and a Simple Sambar. Finally this one will also help –  Sambar – hot, sour or salty?. A lot of info for a simple dish:)

Are you after other Sundakkai dishes? Try Sundakkai Kuzhambu (scheduled to be published in July 2018), and Sundakkai Vathal Podi.

Would you like other Sambar dishes? Try Onion Sambar, Drumstick Sambar, Seasoned Sambar, another version of Seasoned Sambar, and Moru Sambar.

Browse all of our Sundakkai dishes, all of our Sambar recipes and all of our Indian recipes. Or take some relaxing time to explore all of our Late Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Sundakkai Sambar | Fresh Turkey Berry Sambar”

Should Sambar be Sour, Salty or Hot? And Other Sambar Hints.

Advice for perfecting sambar

Meenakshi Ammal in her books Cook and See, talks about Sambar tastes, which she says are personal preference.

Sour, Salty, Hot?

Some prefer their sambar a little sour, some a little hot and some more salty. Sometimes, some varieties of tamarind are more sour than others, some chillies are hotter than other chillies. Experience, personal taste and discretion should determine the amount, the number and the quality.

Green chillies are not compulsory and may be substituted by red ones.

Continue reading “Should Sambar be Sour, Salty or Hot? And Other Sambar Hints.”

How to Cook Vegetables for Sambar

Removing the confusion around cooking vegetables for Sambar

Once you are experienced at cooking sambar, it is quite easy. However, while mastering the skill it can be confusing. Here is some advice on making sambar, and particularly on cooking the vegetables for sambar.

The advice is based on my experience and the writings of S. Meenakshi Ammal who wrote the Cook and See series of books on traditional South Indian cooking.

Browse all of our sambar recipes here. and Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes here.

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Moru Sambar | Buttermilk Sambar | Two Recipes

Delicious and easy to make

This wonderful, refreshing, soothing sambar is made with buttermilk. It is utterly delicious and very easy to make. Called Moru Sambar, Moar Sambar or More Sambar, it can be made with either buttermilk or yoghurt.

Are you wondering what defines a sambar? You might like to read this post that answers that question. If you like to explore sambars, you could browse all sambar recipes, kuzhambu recipes. This sambar is different to the classical, seasoned sambars, being made of yoghurt or buttermilk.

For how to cook vegetables for sambar, read On cooking Vegetables for Sambar. For making sambar powders, go to Sambar Powders and a Simple Sambar. Finally this one will also help –  Sambar – hot, sour or salty?. A lot of info for a simple dish:)

Continue reading “Moru Sambar | Buttermilk Sambar | Two Recipes”

Classic Seasoned Sambar, Method Four

This is the fourth of four methods that Ms Ammal presents for her basic sambars.

Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See Part 1 has four methods for cooking basic, classic seasoned sambar. This is the fourth method that she describes for that dish.

There are other types of sambar – Yoghurt and Buttermilk sambars, kuzhambu and others that are variations on the classic sambar.

Are you wondering what defines a sambar? You might like to read this post that answers that question.

For how to cook vegetables for sambar, read On cooking Vegetables for Sambar. For making sambar powders, go to Sambar Powders and a Simple Sambar. Finally this one will also help –  Sambar – hot, sour or salty? A lot of info for a simple dish:)

The other methods of cooking a basic, classic Sambar are here – Sambar, Method One, Method Three, and Method Four.

Similar recipes include Onion Sambar, Drumstick Sambar, and Sundakkai Sambar.

Browse all Sambar recipes, Kuzhambu recipes, and all of our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or take some relaxing time to explore all of our Mid Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Classic Seasoned Sambar, Method Four”

Classic Seasoned Sambar, Method Three

This is the third of four main ways of cooking sambar.

We have four main methods of cooking Sambar, and this one is the third. The difference in this method  from previous ones is that a delicious paste of chillies, coriander and channa dal is made, instead of using dry spices.

Are you wondering what defines a sambar? You might like to read this post that answers that question. If you like to explore sambars, you can browse these helpful posts – Sambar Method One, Method Two, and Method Four, and then all sambar recipes and kuzhambu recipes.

A lot of info for a simple dish:)

This recipe is different to Methods One and Two in that it introduces a lovely paste as a part substitute for individual spices.

Are you looking for other Sambar recipes? Try Sundakkai Sambar, and Moru Sambar.

Browse all of our Sambar and Kuzhambu dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Or eat seasonally and explore our collection of Early Spring dishes.

Continue reading “Classic Seasoned Sambar, Method Three”

A Classic Seasoned Sambar, Method Two

I adore sambar. There are no two ways around it. It is a dish of choice, and when I visit my most favourite Indian restaurants, I will always order a dish of sambar and idli. As homely as it is, it is comforting, flavoursome, awesome.

This is a second method of cooking Sambar as described by Meenakshi Ammal, that classical Indian author of cookbooks. It introduces the use of Sambar Powder as a replacement for some of the individual spices.

Are you wondering what defines a sambar? You might like to read this post that answers that question. If you like to explore sambars, you could browse these helpful posts – Sambar, Method One, Method Three, and Method Four, and then all sambar recipes and kuzhambu recipes.

A lot of info for a simple dish 🙂

Continue reading “A Classic Seasoned Sambar, Method Two”

Seasoned Sambar, Method One

A classic, traditional Sambar, from Meenakshi Ammal.

A treat that you can give yourself is a wonderful South Indian Sambar, a South Indian soupy spicy dish, generally served over rice or with dosa.

This recipe is interpreted from the doyenne of South Indian cooking, S. Meenakshi Ammal. Her books, Cook and See (in four parts) are a goldmine of traditional South Indian cooking. Sometimes hard to interpret for the novice non-Indian cook, her recipes take a bit of detective work, planning, thinking, rewriting, and discussing. But if you are serious about real and traditional Indian food, these books are a treasure.

You can read more about Sambars and their characteristics here.

Are you looking for other Sambar recipes? Try Sundakkai Sambar, and Moru Sambar.

For Meenakshi Ammal’s other Sambars, try her different ways of making this dish – Method Two, Method Three and Method Four. Each is delicious!

Browse all of our Sambar and Kuzhambu dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Or eat seasonally and explore our collection of Early Spring dishes.

Continue reading “Seasoned Sambar, Method One”

How to Make Sambar Powder and Paste

Making spice powders at home is simple

Sambars are those beautiful unctuous creamy soupy dishes quintessentially South Indian. A sambar consists of pureed toor dal lentils cooked with fresh vegetables, tamarind and spices. Eaten daily, the spice mixes used vary in content and flavour from house to house. Everyone claims to have the best recipe, and of course they are right. It is a very important dish to all South Indians, and vada sambar and idli sambar are popular breakfast foods.

Sambar Powder is a fairly warming masala or mix of spices blended to particularly suit Sambar, an addictive dish that usually consists of toor dal and vegetables. I say usually, because there are variations.

Sambar powder can also be used in place of Rasam Powder when making Rasam.

Similar recipes include Sundakkai PodiRasam Powder, Malaysian Curry Powder and Sri Lankan Thuna Paha.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

You can find all of our Sambar Recipes here and Sambar information here. Browse our other Spice Mix recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes. If you are looking for information on spices, our spice articles are here.

Continue reading “How to Make Sambar Powder and Paste”