Some days are just about comfort food and today is one such day. I don’t know if there is a better comfort food than a good Sambar for us South Indians. What’s better, the same when it is made from fresh ground sambar masala. Arachuvitta Sambar is made from fresh ground spices, adding a lot of flavor and aroma to this Sambar.
My Amma has quite a reputation among our family for her Sambar, especially Arachuvita Sambar. For someone who was not native to Tamilnadu, it is like the highest compliment – to be able to make these dishes to perfection. For as long as I can remember, Saturday was a Pongal & Sambar day and it was this Arachuvitta Sambar every single time. I think the secret ingredient in my mom’s best Sambar was the pumpkin which added such a flavor to the sambar. So for posterity purposes, here I am with my mom’s Poosanikai Murungakkai Arachuvitta Sambar.
To make Arachuvitta Sambar
What I used –
For the Sambar Masala –
- Chana Dal, 1 tbsp
- Coriander Seeds, 1½ tbsp
- Red Chillies, 4-5
For the Sambar –
- Toor Dal/Split Pigeon Peas, ¼ cup
- Moringa Pod/Drumstick, 1
- Yellow Pumpkin, a small chunk
- Onion, 1 large
- Tamarind Paste, ½ tsp
- Turmeric Powder, ½ tsp
- Water, as needed
- Salt, as needed
- Fresh Coriander Leaves, a few
For the Tempering –
- Oil/Ghee, 1 tsp
- Mustard Seeds, ½ tsp
- Cumin Seeds, ½ tsp
- Dried Red Chillies, 1
- Asafoetida, ¼ tsp
- Fresh Curry Leaves, a few
Prep Work –
1. Pressure cook Toor Dal with enough water for 3-4 whistles, let the pressure drop before opening the lid.
2. Chop onion length wise, drumstick into finger sized pieces and pumpkin into small cubes.
3. Mix tamarind paste with some water and set it aside.
How I made –
1. In a pan, dry roast all the ingredients under “For the Sambar Masala” until golden and roasted. Let it cool down completely and then grind into a smooth powder.
2. In a pot, add chopped onion, drumsticks and pumpkin cubes along with water (to cover the vegetables) and turmeric powder. Boil this until the veggies are cooked 3/4th.
3. Add cooked toor dal and boil for a couple of mins. Add freshly made sambar powder and salt required. Boil on medium flame for 4-5 mins. Add tamarin water and cook for another 4-5 mins. Meanwhile, in a small pan, heat oil/ghee. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and torn red chilli. As mustard & cumin seeds splutter, add fresh curry leaves and asafoetida. Add this to the boiling sambar. Add roughly torn coriander leaves. Remove from heat.
4. Serve hot with rice or any South Indian breakfast.
- Instead of cooking the toor dal in pressure cooker, soak the dal for 30 mins in warm water and cook it directly on stove top. The taste is much better but takes a lot of time.
- Instead of using onions, shallots or madras onions can be used in this recipe. Otherwise onions can be completely skipped too.
- I used ready to use tamarind paste but of using fresh tamarind, soak one small marble sized ball in warm water and extract the juice. Use it in the place of tamarind extract.
- It is important not to cut the coriander leaves but tear them with hand before adding to the sambar. Makes Sambar so much more flavorful this way.
- Adjust spices as per preference.