Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ash gourd sambar

Sambar is a very versatile dish - made in different ways across homes of south india. The sambar that I most like is one with loads of dal, thick and mushy. That with crumbled fresh idlies is a delicacy in itself. Pras told me one morning that I was not a good wife in that I was not giving him idli samabar, dosa, etcetera for breakfast. Basically he was fed up with the quick IT breakfast of oats, cornflakes, bread butter, sandwiches, etcetera. We all have but one life to live and if I did not cook all the variety of dishes there are out there NOW I would always regret it later on, if one exists. So I decided to make Idli and Sambar with a coconut chutney for breakfast this morning. Here goes the recipe for the ash gourd sambar.

Ingredients :
250 gms ash gourd/white pumpkin - chopped into pieces. I retain the skin. You could remove it too.
1/4 cup toor dal/sambar dal
a tiny handful of skinless masoor dal - optional
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon ghee
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 pinches of hing
1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1 twig of curry leaves
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 1/2 tbsp MTR Sambar powder
1 small-medium sized onion
1 tomato
1 tiny lemon sized tamarind ball dipped in water
1tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish

How I made it :
1. In a pressure cooker, add the sambar dal, masoor dal, garlic, turmeric powder, hing and ghee. Give one whistle on high and 3 on low.Ensure that you have sufficient water in the cooker. I usually soak the dal for sometime to reduce cooking time and making it more efficient. So I soak the dals for about 15 minutes. I add water such that the dals are covered and are 1 inch above dal level.
2. In a pan, heat oil.
3. Drop in mustard seeds into hot oil. Once they splutter, put in the curry leaves.
4. Then add the onion - chopped into cubes. Once they begin to turn translucent, add the ash gourd pieces. Fry for 2 minutes.
5. Add 1/4 cup water and cover and cook on low for about 5 minutes.
6. Add the red chilli powder and coriander powder. Fry for a minute or so.
7. Add the choppped tomato.
8. Fry till tomato is soft and easily gets smashed.
9. Add the boiled dal.
10. Add sambar powder, tamarind water and adjust salt as per taste. Boil for 15 minutes. You could give it a whistle or two in the cooker instead.
11. Add coriander leaves and serve hot.

Note : You could use any other vegetable of your choice too. Remember that Sambar is a versatile dish :)

I served it with idli. You could serve this with rice or loon-mirch paratha (Salt-Chilli paratha) too.
I follow Nag's Murugan Idli Shop recipe for the idli batter. I make enough to get one batch of idlies for two and two batches of dosas. We've stopped buying readymade batter and this one is always a success. Pras loves his dosas and he loves the way the ones made from this batter turn out.