Thursday, May 29, 2008

Soaked - My entry for the Click Event

I cropped the picture of the soaked Channa in tea water, before pressure cooking it.

Microwave Milk Peda, A Dessert -- and Off to Seattle.......

This is a very simple recipe, and for peda lovers like me, it is a gift!
I got this recipe from here!
You need
Milk Powder -- 2 Cups
Condensed Milk -- 1 14oz can
Butter - 1 stick
a Microwave!
---> Melt the butter in a microwave safe dish
--->Add the condensed milk, and the milk powder and mix well
---> Keep in Microwave for 1 minute and take out it stir well
--->again Keep in microwave for another minute and take it out and stir well
---> repeat, the above step one more time(microwave for a minute and stir well)

After the 3rd minute, the mixture should pull together well, kind of like mysorepak(when you are about to take it out, frothy and at the same time, sticking together)
--->keep in fridge for about 10 minutes and take it out and see if you can handle the heat
--->Take a melon ball or a tablespoon to scoopout exactly the same size, and start by making desired shapes
(Note to self ---- I need a Peda Mould for my kitchen!)
--->My husband made the star?? on top of the pedas using the lemon juicer
--->Store in fridge to let thicken
You could make it on stove top also but make sure you keep stirring until you reach the correct consistency.
I did not use any raisins or nuts or saffron in mine. Just plain and simple Peda!

I am off to Seattle to visit my sister. Will be there for 3 weeks!

I will try and post some recipes from her kitchen .....

Pav Bhaji, Mixed Vegetable Curry

One of the easiest dishes, when you are running out of vegetables or have a bunch of vegetables which you want to finish before running off to the market.

You need
Oil - 3 Teaspoons
Butter - 2 Tablespoons
Pav Bhaji Masala - 1 Teaspoon
Coriander Seed Powder - 1 Teaspoon
Chili Powder - 1 Teaspoon
Cumin - 1 Teaspoon
Cilantro - a handful, chopped
Salt- as needed
a Potato Masher

Any type of Veggies

I used
1/2 of a big Radish
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Red Bell Pepper
1/2 Cauliflower
3 Potatoes
1 cup of Frozen peas
1 and 1/2 Onions - Chopped
3 to 4 Tomatoes depening on their size (I used canned organic ones)- chopped
--->Pressure Cook all vegetables with 1/2 cup water except the Onions and Frozen Peas.
If you dont have a pressure cooker, steam all the veggies in a microwave or a steamer until it can be crushed with a finger!
---> Add the oil, and add the cumin, and once it starts to roast, add the chopped onions, and start to saute, until the onions start to become brown
--->Add the peas, and saute till the peas have cooked
--->Add all the powders along with the salt
--->Add the pressure cooked vegetables,and add the chopped tomatoes
and the important part
MASH it all (not too mushy though) with your Potato Masher.
--->Let it all come to a boil, add the butter and the Chopped Cilantro and
--->Eat hot with Pav Bread or any Bread or Rotis!

Brinjal / Eggplant Vethakuzhambu/ Spicy Gravy

This is another version of the vethakuzhambu made with Green Brinjals! Follow the same proceedure as the Onion Vethakuzhambu, execept replace onions with green Brinjals.
Even the purple one can be used to make this.

My mom would say the expression "then il iruntha pala cholai" meaning, the brinjals taste as good as a jackfuit soaked in Honey! whenever she made this.
I have made this in a Kal Chetti. This is a vessel carved out of a single stone.It is made of a stone called soap stone We used to play with this stone, by using it like a chalk. This has to be cured before using. This particular one I made the gravy is my mom's/
Here is my collection of this utensil

You can read more about this or buy some modern versions here.

As you can see, I have to cure the last two, but the three on the left side,are well used.
Food prepared in this stays hot for a long time. Vetha Kuzhambu, Spinach Kootu, Any Kootu tastes exceptional.

I have some storage jars, in which I store some fresh pickles....

Pole Beans Paruppu Usili - Lentil Dry Curry

A traditional dish. It is usually paired with morkuzhambu or vethakuzhambu. Since the gravies dont have any lentils in them, this is for the protein content that you will need in your diet!
To make 6 to 8 servings
You need
To soak
Toor Dal (split Pigeon peas) - 1 and 1/2 cups
Channa Dal (split Chick peas) - 1/2 cup
Green Chili-1
Red chili-2
Soak the above ingredients in water for atleast 2 hours, water should cover the dals.
To Cook
Pole Beans - chopped finely about 4 cups (Steam the beans as we did for the pole beans curry.)
Oil- 4 teaspoons
Mustard - 1/2 teaspoons
Curry leaves - 1 strand
Hing or Asafoetida - 2 pinches
--->After 2 hours, take out the water, and grind the lentils, along with the chillies and some salt, to a coarse consistency. Use as less water as possible.
--->In a pan, add the oil and the mustard seeds (medium fire)
--->Once the seeds start sputtering, add the hing and curry leaves, add the ground dal, slowly mix it
---> Keep the flame on medium and keep stirring occasionally
--->In 10 minutes, you will see the dal will start to get hard, at theat time, pound it as you would mash Pav Bhaji so it will not form clumps.
--->In the next 10 minutes, the dal should be cooked and get seperated as a result of your pounding! and now add the beans and keep the fire to a low and cover and let it blend
Make sure, the fore is low, so it will not get burnt.
--->Garnish with fresh curry leaves.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I usually make decent idlis and wanted to share it with everyone.
You will need a wet grinder for this.
Soak 3 cups of Idli Rice and 1 cup of Whole skinned Urad Dal seperately from 5 to 8 hours.
I buy the swad Dakshin brand of Idli rice.
Grind the Dal first to a ball like consistency. (For 1 cup of dal, it takes anywhere from an hour to an hour and half)
Grind the Rice next, (this will take 1 hour for 3 cups of rice)
Add the rice mixture slowly to the dal and add the salt and mix slightly.
Leave out in the open if you have good weather or in the oven with the light on or put a green chili to the dough to help rise faster.

Once the dough is risen, you can use your idli moulds to make soft fluffy idli's
I found this recipe for Whole Grain Idlis at Jai and Bee's Jugalbandi here. It is a nice read. So if the oven light thing does not work for you, there are other methods too..
Luckily for me it does!

Even though Idli , Sambar, Chutney is a heavenly combination, this is the way I like to eat my idlis! My podi is slightly?? more?? spicier than other podi's I will share the recipe soon...

When we travel in India, by trains, my grandmas (both sides) used to pack these and White dosas ( before it ferments) doused generously in Milagai podi and Gingelly (Sesame) Oil and pack in banana leaves and newspaper, and we usually would finish eating this as soon as we get on the train...
Yum Yum............................. :)

---> Another way to enjoy this is is to make a batch of Mini Idlies. This is my Aunt Mrs.R.Sugantha's  recipe.
In  a pan, on a medium flame, add some oil. When it heats, add the mustard, let it sputter. Add some Curry leaves, and hing and when the leaves are crispy, reduce the flame and add some dosai milagai powder to the pan and then switch the stove off. Add the idlies to the pan and toss them and mix well. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on top if necessary. This makes a great appetizer too.

Pindi Chole

I have this book called, Taste of Punjab by Nita Mehta. I use this recipe for making this chole, and every time I have made it, I have received rave reviews! My friend Priya, who grew up in Delhi, has told me that it has the same exact taste of the chole available on the street side shops of Delhi!

Here goes,

Items you need ( 6 to 8 servings)
To Pressure Cook
Channa Dal (Chick peas or Garbanzo Peas) Soaked 6 to 8 hrs - 2 Cups
Split Channa Dal - 4 tablespoons
Big Cardamom - 4
Cinnamon - 2 inch Stick
Tea water - made with 2 cups of water with 2 teaspoons of tea
Oil - 4 Tablespoons
Onions- 2 (chopped Finely)
Pomegranate Seed Powder - 3 teaspoons
Big Tomato - 2 (Chopped finely)
Ginger - 2 inch piece (Chopped finely)
Garam Masala - 1 Teaspoon
Dhania (Coriander Seed, or Cilantro Seed) Powder - 2 Teaspoons
Channa Masala - 1 Teaspoon
Salt and Red Chili powder to taste
Fresh coriander or Cilantro for Garnish
-->Soak Channa and Channa Dal overnight or 6 to 8 hours.
--> Wash Channas with fresh water and add the tea water, Big Cardoamoms, Cinnamon Sticks and enough water to make sure channas are covered fully.
--->Pressure Cook to give one whistle and after the first whistle and keep on low flame for about 20 to 25 minutes. (The first two pictures are the before and after pressure cooking.)
---> Heat the oil in a big kadai, add the onions and saute till transparent
--->Add the Anardana powder, cook till onions turn dark brown.
--->Add the chopped tomatoes, Ginger and Green Chili. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes.
--->Add Dhania powder, Chili Powder and Garam Masala. Mash and Stir Fry tomatoes occaionally till they turn brownish in color and oil seperates.
--->Now add the pressure cooked channa along with the all the water in the pressure cooker. Mix well, add salt and Channa Masala powder.
--->Cook for 15-20 minutes on medium heat till the liquid dries up a little.
--->Serve garnished with onion rings, green chillies and Tomato wedges

** I added Javantri to the onions and the flavor was extraordinary!

I made Bhature with this recipe. It came out pretty good.....

Arusuvai Friendship Chain!! Now I am part of it........

I was very happy when I received this from Kamala of Mom's recipes. It was nice package with a neatly written letter, a spice called Javantri and two hershey milk chocolates. The Two Chocolates were promptly devoured by my children so that is why they are missing in the picture.

I am part of this chain now!! Now I must find two bloggers to send out a surprise ingredient! How exciting!!

Even though I received it almost 3 weeks ago, I was busy with so many other things, so that is why the delay in posting this.

I am planning to make Pindi Chole with this. Thanks Kamala for including me in the friendship chain. I really enjoyed receiving this :))

Javentri is the flower which is like a cover for the nutmeg. you can read more about it here. It is used in the preparation of Garam Masala. I have not used it before in its raw form. It added a distict favor to my Pindi Chole.
Usually 1 flower is enough for any preparation for a family of 4. It lasts forever in your cabinet.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Banana Flower and Lentil Gravy (Vazhai Poo Kootu)

Banana Flower (Vazhai Poo in Tamil)

This is a vegetable ignored by so many, simply because it is laborious! Wow, I used the word Laborious! Hmm, when ever I buy this, and make a kootu or a curry with this, I hear these comments
"Oh Who has the patience to cut this?"
"I don't have the time to cut this"
I do agree that this vegetable takes a little more time to prepare than others, but that is simply no reason to shun this awesome vegetable. And also while you might have had a taste of this in Inida, then you have to make it for your kids too. This is available in most of the korean store called HMart or in your local farmers market.

Method of cutting a Banana flower
Pluck this whole bunch with your right hand and rub on your left palm (or the other way round if you are a left hand)
The thief is the one which is taller than others, pull that one out.
--->First you have to take all the flowers from it.

--->You have to take the thief (Kallan in Tamil) out of each of the flower.

--->If you just take the bunch of flowers with your right hand and rub it on the keft palm, the tips will open a little and you will be able to fish the theif out.

--->This is imperative, because, if you are lazy and don't take him out, it will spoil your wonderful creation by giving it an odd taste. The thief will look different from the others and you will be able to identify it.

--->Also you dont have to go all the way, once the outside of the banana flower is completely white, you can cut the whole thing up and add it in what ever you are making. In the picture first I have taken out all the flowers and in the next picture, the thieves have been removed and is ready for chopping.

You can do this over the weekend, to store put in a vessel, and fill water and add 3 tablspoons of buttermilk, or Milk and then add the chopped Banana flower. This stays good for atleast a week, in my fridge, I usually finish it by then.

I hope I have given clear instructions :)
There are a lot of ways to prepare this, here I have made Poricha Kootu
Poricha Kootu is nothing but Lentils mixed with any vegetable of your choice, but with a powdered seasoning of well roasted (Urad Dal+Red Chili + Black Pepper+ Cumin) .

You can create your own mixture to this and have many different variations. Coconut is an optional add in to the above.
So the Items you need to make it
Cut Banana Flower -- 1 medium sized banana flower
Toor Dal (Split Pigeon Peas) - 1 Cup
Mung Dal (Split)- 1/3 Cup
Water - 3 Cups
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 Teaspoon
Salt - 1 ad 1/2 Teaspoon
Oil - 1 and 1/2 teaspoon
Curry Leaves and Coriander Leaves
Red Chili - 1
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
For the seasoning
Urad Dal - 1 and 1/2 Teaspoons
Cumin - 2 Teaspoons
Black Peper - 1/2 teaspoons
Red chili - 2 (more or less depending on your spice level)
Grated Coconut - 1 handful (Optional)
Roast the above with a teaspoon of oil till it becomes light red and make a fine powder
---> Start by add the water to the pan you are going to use.
---> Add the salt and Turmeric powder
---> Wash the dals once and add them to the pan
---> Once the dals are close to half cooked, add the chopped Banana Flower
---> Once the Banana flower and the dal is cooked, add the seasoning.
---> Take 1/2 teaspoon oil, and when the oil starts to get hot, add the mustard seeds and let it sputter, add one red chili and some curry leaves to this and pour over your Creation!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Adai (Lentil Crepe)

This is one of the most traditional Adai recipes. When ever I make this I usually add some unusual items in it, making my husband go crazy. He would say, please, please do not call this adai..... :)
So this time, I decided to make it the traditional way..

You need
Rice - (any type) 1 cup
Split Channa Dal (Split Bengal Gram) - 1/3 cup
Tuvar Dal (Split Pigeon Peas) - 1/3 cup
Urad Dal (Split Black Gram Dal) - 1/3 cup
Salt - 1 and 1/2 teaspoons
Green Chili - 1 (Optional)
Red Chili - 2 (more if you want it spicy)
Coconut - a handful cut in tooth shaped pieces (optional)
Curry leaves - 2 strands

Soak the Rice and Dal together, atleast 2 to 4 hrs ahead.
Remove the water and grind in food processor. Add the chillies while it is grinding.
Add the salt and the coconut and the curry leaves and bring to a pancake dough consistency.
Make thin crepes and add a little oil to help it cook

Tips :
--->This takes a little longer than a dosai to cook. Wait for it to become crispy and light red in color before you turn.
---> Make sure the pan is hot and spread a little oil before you make your first one
---> the fire is on a medium through out
---> Add some finel chopped onions to the batter and you can have onion adai
---> If you have fresh spinach (any kind) lying around, chop some and you can have spinach adai
---> Add some coriander for some flavor

The sky is the limit, keep trying until you crave for the traditional adai like my husband! :)

Traditionally this is eaten with jaggery.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Palak Paneer, Spinach with Cottage Cheese

All children like Palak Paneer, even if they dont like spinach by itself.
Items you need
Spinach - 3 bunches ( 1 lb each, triple washed, i dont cut the stems)
Onions - 1 1/2 large (Sliced finely)
Garlic - 6 or 7 cloves
Ginger - Thick 1 inch piece (peeled)
Tomatoes - 5 medium ones (diced)
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Corainder powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - 1 1/2 teaspoon
Oil- 2 or 3 teaspoons
-->Cut the spinach at the very end and wash very well. You don't need to really pluck the leaves If you are using frozen spinach, go to the next step. You should place the spinach in big bowl and fill water and transfer the spinach to a drainer, you will be able to see the mud in the water. This process has to be reapeated atleast 3 times before you start cooking the spinach.
-->Steam the spinach, in a pan, Do not add any water or salt to this. It will let out water.
--> Just take the spinach and reserve this water, You will use it later. Blend the spinach in a food processor to chop it.
-->In a different pan, on a medium flame, add the oil, once it is hot, add the cumin, one it starts to sizzle, add the garlic and ginger.
-->Once they start to get brown add the onions
--> Once they start to get brown add the tomatoes
--> Once the tomatoes start to stick to the pan, add the water you drained off the spinach and let it all cook together.
--> Once the tomatoes are mashed, blend this in a food processor
-->Mix the two together (the onions tomato puree with the spinach)
-->Add the Coriander powder and turmeric powder and salt to this and let it all simmer together for 10 minutes.
For the paneer, you may buy storebought ones or make it yourself. I will write another post on how to make paneer yourself. When you buy store bought one, make sure it has only 2 to 3 ingredients on the packet, which are milk, vinegar or citric acid. sometimes i see more ingredients on the paneer packet than necessary!
Cut the paneer in little squares and take a pan and add little oil and slightly toast the paneer on it and add to your spinach.
Palak Paneer is ready, eat with hot rotis!

Rajma (Red Kidney Beans in Gravy)

This can me made either with the dark red kidney beans or light red kidney beans. I used 2 cups of each. This recipe feeds 10 to 12 people.
Items you need
Beans 4 Cups
Tomatoes - 5 (medium in size, finely chopped)
Garlic - 8 cloves
Ginger- 2 inch Thick piece
Onions - 2 (Large in size, diced)
Oil - 5 Teaspoons
Cumin - 1 teaspoon
Chili powder- 1 teaspoon
Garam Masala - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
--->Wash and Soak the beans overnight (Atleast 10 hours). If you are planning to use cans, you may use 4 or 5, 32oz cans of beans for this measurement.
--->Pressure cook the beans with the same water and add salt to it.
--->In a food processor or blender, puree the Onions, Garlic and Ginger
--->In a pan, on a medium flame, add oil, after the oil gets hot, add the cumin, once it starts sizzling, add the puree of onions, ginger and garlic
---> Once this starts to get thick, add the finely chopped tomatoes to this, add the chili powder, garam masala and turmeric powder and let it all simmer together for 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes get mashed.
--->By now, your beans will be ready, add them to the pan and let it all come to a boil
--->Garnish with coriander leaves
Serve hot with Basmati Rice or Rotis!! Yumm!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Rotis made with Tofu, Flat Bread with Tofu

Since the Vegetarian Diet does not have much protien, I started making Rotis with Tofu. I make Rotis twice a week about 20 each time approximately, once with Tofu and once without Tofu.
I buy the high fiber Whole Wheat Four
Items You need
Nasoya Silken Tofu (any brand will work) -- 1 Packet
Whole Wheat Flour -- 3 cups
Salt -- 1 Teaspoon
Oil -- ½ Teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - ½ Teaspoon
Water -- 3 Tablespoons
-->In a Basin, cut the package and drain all water and just take the slab of tofu and mash well with a fork.
--> Add 3 cups of Wheat flour to this, and start kneading, do not add any water since the tofu is already very moist
--> Add the water slowly if you need to, and make a ball
--> Slather the dough with the oil and cover itwith oil on all sides and keep it under a plastic wrap or a wet cloth for atleast 15 minutes
--> Make equal sized balls, with this measurement about 20 big rotis can be made.
--> Go on to roll the dough as you would make a regular Roti, flat and even on all sides
--> Put this on a hot tawa ( I maintain the tawa on a even medium flame )
--> When one side is cooked turn it over
--> After a few seconds, lift the tawa and put the Roti over the open flame
--> After Roti fluffs up, eat hot or store it like how I store the Rotis
Storing The Rotis
I lay out an aluminum foil sheet and fold it in two. I open it and lay a tissue on the base and start putting the rotis one by one and when I make the last one, i add one more tissue. This absorbs all moisture. Also after the rotis fluff up, I break the fluff and take out all the air. Keep the foil closed in between so the rotis don't dry out.
After you have made all the rotis, add another foil to cover the open sides and put it in a freezer Ziploc bag and store it in the fridge. This stays good for up to a week. But we finish it in 2 to 3 days.
You could use soft tofu also, but you have to run that through the food processor otherwise there will be lumps and the rotis will not fluff up.
You can add flax seed powder to this and make it even healthier.

I am going to send this to the Roti Mela organized by Cooking 4 all seasons.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pole Beans Curry

You can make this with French Beans or Pole Beans or Cabbage (cut like cole slaw).

Pole Beans are high in fiber. Also when you cut beans, do not cut the end of it (the one which tapers) since all the vitamins are there.

This makes 5 to 6 Servings.
Beans - Cut about 3 cups
Oil - 1 Tea Spoon
Salt - 1 Tea Spoon
Sugar 1 pinch
Turmeric powder - ½ Tea Spoon
Mustard Seeds - ½ Tea Spoon
Urad Dal - 2 Tea Spoon
Red Chili - 1
Curry leaves and Corainder
-->Cut the beans and add them in a pan, add very little water, add the salt and sugar and turmeric powder and cover and keep the stove in a medium flame.
Adding the sugar to the beans, retains the green color.
--> Check the beans every 5 mins to make sure they dont get burnt and add some water if you need to. Steam till the beans are soft.
-->Once the beans are cooked, in a seperate pan, add the oil, and once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, and once they start to sputter, add the urad dal to it and saute till they get golden brown.
-->Garnish with Curry leaves and Coriander Leaves

You can add fresh ground coconut to this also.

Mung Dal Ladoo (Power Ball!)

My Paternal Grandmother (Late Mrs Jayalakshmi Sundaresa Iyer) always made this ladoo when she made Ghee. This is made from the "Kasandu" leftover fat of the ghee which stays behind after you filter the ghee.
This measurement is for the leftovers from 4 sticks of butter.
After you filter the ghee, scrape the vessel and bring all the Kasandu out, add ¾th cup of Mung Dal flour (I had Mung flour with skin, got it from the indian store), Start by sauteing the flour in the same vessel until the raw smell of the flour goes away.
Roast the flour till it becomes slightly red.
Add ½ cup of powdered sugar, (confectioners sugar)
Transfer the contents to a basin.Add some raisins and or cashew nuts to the vessel and fry and then add them to the basin.
Mix with a spoon and make ladoos when you can handle the heat.
Try and make them while they are still warm so it will catch on more quickly.
When my kids were small, my husband used to give these sweets different names so they will become intrigued, so these were called "Power Balls" They still go by that name in our house, It gives an instant burst of energy.
My sister Vanitha made the small plate on which I have displayed the Power Balls.

Making Ghee (Clarified Butter)

I make my own ghee rather than buying it. It is one of the easiest things.
Use Unsalted butter sticks for this. any brand will do. 4 sticks of butter make about 1½ cups of ghee.
Start with adding the butter to the pan.
Keep the stove in medium flame.
Once it all melts, keep a wooden spoon in it so it does not over flow.
You can hear the butter boiling, it makes a sound.
After some time (approx 15 mins) the butter becomes clear. and magically, the sound slowly comes to a stop.
If you dont watch it, it will burn and become brown and it will start smelling.
When the butter is a clear golden color liquid, it is done and may be filtered and stored.

I store my butter outside (not in the fridge) in a stainless steel

It stays good for atleast 1 month.

Leftover part (the fat which is in the bottomof the pan )of the butter can be used to make Mung Dal Ladoo (Powerball)

Shallot Sambar / Chinna Vengaya Sambar (Shallots in Lentil Gravy)

When ever I make Onion Sambar, I am reminded of this; It was about a year ago, my daughter fell down on the tennis court while reaching for the ball and hit her face and head very badly. We rushed her to the emergency room, since her head was hurting and she was feeling giddy, The doctor checked her and found that she chipped a tooth (it was a baby tooth) and said if she faints or anything like that bring her back, but make sure she is speaks coherently etc. (With a head injury you have to watch the child.)
So any way we come back home, I had made Mini Idlis and Shallot Sambar for lunch. My husband thought she can have the idlis with sugar since her mouth was swollen, and asked her if she wants idlis with sugar or sambar,
she asked "What sambar have you made?"
I replied, "Shallot sambar"
She said "I will have idli and sambar"
My husband heaved a sigh of releif, and exclaimed "Everything is fine with her!!"

Back to our recipe

When you want to make Onion Sambar, you have got to use shallots. Do not use pearl onions since they really do not have any extraordinary taste, except being tiny and hard to peel. You could also make this sambar with big Onions (sliced big onions), even though they may not taste better than Shallots.

This measurement will feed approximately 8 people or twice for a family of 4!
Items you need
First Soak a plum tomato sized tamarind piece in 1½ cups of water
Oil -- 3 Teaspoons
Shallots --Approximately 15 (Peeled, and cut in halves or fours)
Shallots are Small Onions or (Vengayam means Onions in Tamil) (Chinna means Small)
Toor Dal (Split Pigeon peas)-- ¾ th cup
Tomato --1 medium (cut in pieces) Optional
Sambar powder -- 1 ½ teaspoon
Turmeric powder-- ½ teaspoon
Asafoetida --½ teaspoon
Salt -- 1½ teaspoon
Mustard ½ teaspoon
Dry Red Chili - 2
Curry leaves and Corainder for Garnish
--> Cook the toor Dal in the pressure cooker. Please wash the dal under running water and fill the container with 1½cups of water, add ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder and give it about 3 whistles or until the Dal is soft and easy to mash with a fork. If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can cook this in a electric rice cooker. I have not tried this before, but some of my friends did.
-->Squeeze the juice out of the tamarind pulp and filter the tamarind out.
-->In a pan, add 2 teaspoons oil, add one red chili and the curry leaves, once the oil is hot and the leaves start to sizzle, add the shallots, saute them till light brown and not really dark brown, make sure the fire is in medium high

-->Once the shallots are all loose, slowly add the sambhar powder, turmeric powder, and the tamarind water and let it come to a boil.
Add 1 cup of water to this if you feel the mixture is too thick. It should of tomato soup consistency
-->By this time your dal should be ready, lightly mash it with a fork and add this to the Pan.
After you add the dal, it should come to cream of Tomato soup consistency.
-->In a separate pan, add the remaining oil, add mustard seeds and Red chili, once the seeds start sputtering, add the hing and pour over the boiling sambar, garnish with coriander leaves.
I added one tomato to the onions while I was sauteing them .
You can make this with any vegetable of your choice.
To make this even tastier, I removed about a handful of the onions while sauteing and grind them to a pulp and add them back to pan, I find this makes the sambar more richer than usual.
You can eat this with hot rice (white or brown), Idlis or Dosas