Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spicy, Snappy, Buttermilk Sambar. Lunch In One Hour!

   This has been an insane week around our house. We've been updating all our computer equipment and everything that that entails... don't ask. What with all of the shopping for HDMI cables at online places in Paramus New Jersey and Rancho Cucumonga (if only there were a Frys nearby) I haven't spent much time in the kitchen. In other words I haven't been cooking. We've had several dinner invitations at friends' houses (I love when people cook for me) and it all was topped off by a Valentines Day feast at our favorite date-night restaurant in Sonoma The Girl and The Fig. So finally, after all this bacchanal of cables and Divers scallops, it was time to step behind the range again and flip on all my burners.
   The idea for this Kerala sambar was built around the fact that I brought home a doggy bag from last nights' dinner. So did Alan. Okay, entree in place, all I needed to add was a veg and something to fill out the meal. That's  where the sambar comes in, a warming, nourishing soup, chock full of vegetables, that whips up in an hour or less. The perfect partner for a left overs kind of day.

Buttermilk Sambar

Here's what to do:
  In a heavy skillet put 2 Tbs of vegetable oil. When the oil is hot toss in:
1 and 1/4 tsp of fenugreek seeds
1 tsp of coriander seeds
1 and 1/2 Tbs of Toor dal
1 and 1/4 tsp of Urad dal
6 dried red chilies
Saute it all around for about 2 minutes or so until the dal and chilies and spices darken a bit.
When the spices are cooked, put them into a spice grinder or blender along with:
4 Tbs of dried grated coconut
A chopped 1 inch piece of peeled fresh ginger
And a bit of water to make it all go round. Grind it into a paste.
In a bowl mix:
2 cups of plain yogurt
1/4 tsp of turmeric
Whip it all together and set it aside.
Meanwhile chop some zucchini (I used grey zucchini) into 1/2 inch pieces until you get 3/4 of a cup.
Set them aside.

Now to put it all together:
 In a large skillet or kadhai, heat 2 tsp of vegetable oil. When the oil is hot toss in:
 1 tsp of brown mustard seeds
 1/2 tsp of fenugreek seeds
 1 tsp of cumin seeds
 1 dried red chili broken in half
 About 6 curry leaves
 When the mustard seeds start to pop, add in the chopped squash.
 Stir it up and saute it a bit then add enough water to the skillet to cover the squash.
Put a lid on the pan, turn down the heat a bit and simmer it all for about 30 minutes or so until the squash is tender.
Finally, add in the yogurt paste mixture.
Stir it all together and keep stirring it warming it carefully (no curdling allowed) until it's warmed through. When it looks like it's about to boil, take it off the heat and serve it up.
 Hot and spicy with chilies and lovely vegetables, it's goes perfectly with any leftover. In fact tomorrow, I'm turning it into the leftover when I serve it with Basmati rice and a totally different entree. Coming next, a non boring, fast meal in about an hour and experiments with high fiber, low carb, gluten free coconut flour courtesy of my friends at Tropical Traditions


  1. Wow! I've honestly never heard of Sambar but was seriously intrigued by the title. Like a good stew, this seems like the type of thing which would we very comforting on a cold spring evening. I have to figure out where to find dal in my neighborhood.

  2. I've never heard of this either, but it has all of the ingredients I LOVE. I would probably love this!!

  3. @ @ Brian ,
    It's great. Spicy hot and if you don't like things too too warmt, just trim back on the peppers a bit, however served with rice it's just right. I'm serving it tomorrow with rice and a Chettinad chicken dish

  4. oh wow! this could work as a nice marinate for meats as well.

  5. Looks very nice, Kathy! Love the photos too.

  6. lovely sambar recipe, zuccini and squash adds the twist to sambar.

  7. I love exploring wonderful blogs like yours, Kathy...dishes and ingredients I've never heard of before...that look marvelous! I may never get around to making this, but I'm happy to know about it! And it IS making me hungry!!!!



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