Saturday, September 19, 2009

Achamma's sambar - the ultimate homemade sambar

I would like to thank all my readers for wishing me well when I was ill. I've recovered now. Thank you so much.
Most of you may think that it's a good day for me today. But, no. It's quite the opposite. A very sad day for me. Why? Read on.

I love my grandma. She was a small statured, plump woman and the cutest, sweetest and the most warm-hearted little person I have ever known. I loved her cooking. She was a great cook and I don't know how she really did it. It was like as if she had some magic potion which she used in all her dishes to create those wonderful, aromatic and delightful dishes. Anything she cooked tasted like heaven.

She never had recipe books nor did she ever have to measure ingredients. Everything was in her little silver-haired head and the magic at her finger-tips.

Today, sadly, is her first death anniversary and the following recipe,I, fondly, share in memory of the sweetest and most lovable grandma in the world.

This sambar recipe is a bombshell and it comes from her and She didn't forget to hand it down. So, today my mom still makes it for all at home and when we (my siblings and me) got engaged to be married, my mom handed it down to us. It's always been compliments galore for me, when I make this sambar.

I wish my gramma were here today.I miss her ever-so-much.
"Achamma this post is in memory of you. Sure, you are looking down on me now."

I have made this sambar using Okra( Ladies finger). Some alternatives for okra are drumsticks, white pumpkin( winter melon), brinjal( aubergine) or shallots. My favorite is shallot sambar but could not find any this time.

Ingredients: (serves 3-4)

  • Toor dal - 1/2 cup
  • Tomato - 2 (cut into quaters)
  • Ladies finger (cut into 1 inch long pieces)
  • Tamarind - size of a bing cherry
  • Turmeric powder - 1/8 tspn
  • Asafoetida( Hing) - 2 pinches
  • Fenugreek seeds - 1 tspn
  • Grated coconut - 1/3 cup
  • Curry leaves - 7-8 large leaves ( plus more for tempering)
  • Chopped onions - 1/4 cup
  • Coriander powder- 4 tbspns
  • Chilli powder - 1 tspn( or to taste)
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tspn
  • Dried red chillies- 2
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 2 tbspns
  • Wash the dal. Pressure cook it with tomatoes and 1-1/2 cups of water. ( 2 whistles will be sufficient)
  • In the mean time, take 1/2 tbspn of oil in a pan and saute the okra till the slime disappears. Set aside (If using drumsticks or the other alternatives, avoid this step)
  • Add 1/2 cup of water to the tamarind and extract tamarind juice from it and discard the pulp. Set aside.
  • In another pan, add another 1/2 tbspn of oil and add Hing.
  • Then add fenugreek seeds. When it turns light brown and splutters, add coconut, curry leaves and onions and fry.When the coconut turns a golden brown and a wonderful aroma arises, add coriander powder and chilli powder. Toast well. Stir constantly. ( abt 5-6 mins on medium-low flame) . Then grind this to a fine paste and set aside.
  • When the dal is cooked, add the vegetable to the dal and cook along with salt, turmeric powder, tamarind extract and the ground coconut mixture. cook for about 5-6 mins.
  • If the sambar is too thick, add as much water as required to make a consistency that satisfies you.
  • Finally, temper mustard, curry leaves and red chillies in 1 tbspn of oil and add it to the sambar.
  • Serve with rice, idly, dosa or methu vadas.
Luv 'n' luc'


  1. I made a post in memory of my grandma too..on monday..:)..I am a sambar fanatic ,but have never tried with roasted coconut..have been seeing it at many places..ini enthayalum udane try cheyyum..:) sure ur achamma is quite proud f u..:)

  2. Wow.. lovely delicious sambar!!

  3. I love varatharacha sambhar! And grandma's always have magic at their finger tips!

  4. I love sambar of all types. It looks like Kerala & Mangalore food are so very similar. We also prepare a similar sambar. However I roast coriander seeds & red chillies & prepare the sambar :)

  5. The sambar looks delicious and special too...grandma's always have their touch to dishes like these...we can come close to it but cannot beat the original grandma dish taste :)

  6. Hi yummy sambar collect your awards from my blog..

  7. achammas are always the bestest and so are their dishes...i can never ever match up to them , even with she standing beside me and instructing...still they never come out like the way he dishes taste!!

  8. now thats what i call truly magical and divine!!

  9. Heyy...I too have such fond memories of my ammoomma, though I've never actually lived with her, just about a month or so each year. Will never forget her smile, the soothing hair massages, her wise cracks:) and of course her food. Her fish curry, ulli thiyal, aviyal...tasted divine. She too passed away last year and I miss her so much.
    Ur achammas sambar sounds yumm, she'll be so proud of u.

  10. Nothing can beat sambar mad elike this, i remember mom used to make them like this. Alas I seem to use sambar powder, the easy way. I wouls love to have this sambar for my dinner with rice.

  11. Hey Smitha!!!
    Your Grandmom Would dfntly be looking down on u!!!
    Grandmom's food has always a magical taste to it..,So as this Sambar!!!

  12. Round of applause for grandma...

    Grandma ki jai... grandma ki jaaai....


    I also love my grandmother and she too cooks really delicious. I think all grandmother cook delicious.

    It should be better called as "kaipuniyam", their skill to change a dish to a perfect delicious eatable.

    I often visit my grandmothers home to have the food prepared by her.

    Your sambaar looks good.. but the recipe lacks "kasnangal". I think if you could add some more vegetables it would be a thick.... mm.. jabardast sambhar...

    Also nice to see you recovered and back... Happy blogging

  13. Smitha, your grand mom wouldn't just be happy but proud because you let the world know about the most delicious sambar. It looks lovely :)

  14. What a touching post. It's nice to know that you've recovered and that you're back.

    About grandmother, I can understand your feelings. My greatest regret is that I never took the trouble to learn my grandmother's recipes. Whatever she cooked was magical and using the simplest ingredients. You are so blessed that you learned from your grandmother. My heartfelt tribute to her memory.

  15. Grandmas can be the most wonderful, loving people on earth. My condolences on her passing ... I know this first death anniversary can't be easy on you & the rest of the family. My own special Mumma (mom's mom) passed away a couple of years ago, and I'll always miss her. Yours is definitely looking down on u & is proud of u, no doubt!

  16. hai Smithaa...great to knw dat ur health is good nw.. i make sambar in the same way..recipe of amma's...varutharacha sambarinte manam thanne oru prathyeka suhamanu.. :)

  17. U got a lovely blog smita...Nice recipes....

  18. Grandma's are very special!Mine passed away just last week,so I know how it feels. That's a great way to pay a tribute to your gran :)

  19. I love arachuvitta sambar!!

    A great tribute to your Achamma by posting her best recipes..grandmoms always have a way of making all dishes taste so special. Im sure shes looking down at you and is really proud of you, girl!!

  20. nice to stopping by your blog after a long time.sambar is simply yummy...

  21. hey! are you still ill?

    Not seen any new article.


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