I am very far away from my home now. When I think about my home, the picture I get in my mind is this: the house painted in pista green, mud in front of the house wet from the rains, me sleepwalking and lying down in the swing for another short nap, mom calling out my name from the kitchen to get my name, the smell of sambar cooking, the filter coffee, the damp floor at the backyard, the rain drops on the leaves in the plants, etc. Food is an important element in my family. We all want our food tasty and on time. A proper meal would be ready, with rice, a gravy, and a vegetable, by 8 am every day. My dad gets frustrated (and angry??) when he doesn’t get food on time. I think I have inherited those genes too 😛
I have been craving for my mom’s sambar for a couple of days. It’s a bit longer process; I have been lazy to make it and finally decided to make it today. I couldn’t be more happier because it turned out to be really good! I have not even in my dreams thought that I could do it. While growing up, I have thought that my parents would always be with me (or that I would always be with my parents). I hate to admit, but I was taking them for granted a little too much. Even now, I get jealous of my brother for three things: he gets to eat the food cooked by my mom daily; he doesn’t have to cook; he gets to stay with my parents.
I don’t get tired of eating rice twice or even thrice a day. So, I decided to cook rice to eat with sambar. Now, for the side dish, I had spinach and ivy gourd. I will add the recipes for each of these here:
Vegetables: Potatoes, Ladies finger (Okra), Drumsticks, Tomato, Taro Root
Tamarind concentrate: 2-3 tbsp (according to taste)
Toor Dal: 3/4 cup
Ground turmeric: 1/2 tsp
Water: 2.5 cups
To Roast and Grind
Corriander seeds: 2tbsp
Chana dal: 1/2 tbsp
Mehti seeds: 8-10 number
Red chillies: 4
Grated coconut: 3/4 cup
Water: 1/2 cup (or as required)
Coconut oil: 1/2 tsp
Coconut oil (1/2 tsp), Mustard seeds, 1 red chilly, curry leaves, and corriander leaves
1. Cook toor dal by adding the 2.5 cups of water and ground turmeric. (I pressure cooked it. It saves a lot of time.) Once it is cooked, mash it well.
2. Heat 1/2 tsp coconut oil; Add coriander seeds and chana dal. Once they start turning brown, add mehti seeds, red chillies, and hing. In 5 -7 seconds, transfer them to a plate. (After adding mehti, do not heat it for more than 5-6 seconds since it will turn very bitter.) Once it cools down, grind this along with grated coconut and water.
3. Boil all the veggies until they are fork tender. If adding capsicum or ladies finger, I fry them first so that the raw flavour of capsicum is gone and the ladies finger doesn’t turn mushy.
4. In the pot with boiled vegetables, add the fried ladies finger and capsicum, and add tamarind concentrate. Let it boil for 3-4 minutes.
5. Keeping the heat in low, add the cooked dal and the ground mixture. Adjust salt, hotness, and sourness.
7. Let it boil for 3-4 minutes in low heat.
8. Heat coconut oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and red chilly; add this seasoning to the sambar
9. Garnish with curry leaves and corriander leaves.
Ivy Gourd Fry
Ivy gourd, Salt, Water, ground turmeric, red chilli powder (1/2 tsp), ground corriander (2 tsp), mustard seeds, coconut oil
1. Boil ivy gourd by adding salt and turmeric.
2. Strain the water once it is cooked until tender.
3. Heat coconut oil in a pan, and add mustard seeds.
4. When the mustard seeds splutter, add red chilli powder and ground coriander.
5. Add the cooked ivy gourd immediately and keep sautéing until it is fried.
Spinach fry (thorn)
Spinach, 2 tbsp of coconut oil, mustard seeds, ground turmeric, salt, 1 green chilly, and half cup of grated coconut
1. Wash the spinach.
2. Heat coconut oil in a pan, and add mustard seeds.
3. When the mustard seeds splutter, add spinach.
4. Add salt and ground turmeric.
5. Keep sautéing it until all of the water is evaporated.
6. Mince green chillies and mix it with grated coconut. (I used only half green chilly because I didn’t want it to be very spicy. You can add one chilly if you want it hot. I grated the chilli and mixed it with the coconut.)
7. Fry them well for another 4-5 minutes.