Thursday, March 31, 2011


Mullangi (Radish) Sambar

Sambar is one such recipe that is prepared at least 2-3 times a week at every Tamil Home.
I came to know from a TV History news that Sambar came to existence during the period of a Tanjore King called Shahji. I checked with wikipedia and found to be correct.
Coming to the history, Shahji was fond of a dish called Amti which could not be prepared as some of the ingredients were out of stock. So he experimented with Tamarind, Vegetables and Pulses available here. It was also served to his cousin, Sambaji who visited him. Everyone enjoyed and named it Sambar after the Guest, Sambaji.
Vegetables ¾ cup (350ml cup)
Ripe Tomato (Medium) 2
Toor Dhal ¾ cup (200ml cup)
Sambar Powder 2 tbsp or to taste
Turmeric Powder  ¼  tsp
Asafoetida crystal  1 / Asafoetida Powder 2 Pinch
Water 4-5 tbsp (for Tamarind Juice)
Tamarind  ‘Gooseberry or Nellikkai’ (small) size
Salt 1 ¾ tsp or to taste
Water 5 cups (approx) (350ml cup)

For Seasoning:
Mustard Seeds 1 tsp
Split Urad Dhal ½ tsp
Pearl Onions 5
Curry Leaves 4
Coriander Few
Sesame Oil


Cut Tomato into halves.
Cut vegetables into pieces.
Soak Tamarind in 4 tbsp of water only for 2 mins. Extract Juice.
Chop Pearl Onions and Coriander.


Cook Toor Dhal till it turns to a paste.

Heat Pan or Kadai. Add Vegetables and Sambar Powder. Fry without oil for 2-5 mins on a low flame. Add cooked Toor Dhal. Squeeze Juice from Tomato. Add it along with its skin. Add enough Water, Turmeric Powder, Asafoetida , Salt and stir well.
Boil till Vegetables & Tomatoes are cooked and the raw smell goes off. Add the Strained Tamarind Juice. Boil for five more minutes.


Heat Oil in a Pan. When hot, add Mustard seeds. When popped, reduce flame and add Urad Dhal. Few seconds later, add Pearl Onions and Curry Leaves.
When onions turn translucent, switch off flame and add Coriander. Mix well. Add this seasoning to Cooked Sambar.

Serves : 4
Serve with Rice and any Poriyal/Dry Curry.


Toor Dhal can be soaked for 30-45 minutes to make it cook well and faster. It is necessary to soak Toor Dhal if water used for cooking is hard water.
Tamarind Juice should not be thick as we add Tomato too. So do not extract more Juice from Tamarind or do not soak for longer time.
Also Sambar should be little watery and not very thick.

Sambar can also be made only with Pearl Onions and without vegetables. This is called as Vengaya Sambar (Onion Sambar) and this goes well with Idli, Pongal or Dosa rather than with Rice.

Suggestions for Vegetables that can be used in Sambar:
Brinjal (Kathirikkai Sambar)
Chayote (Chow Chow Sambar)
Drumstick (Murungakkai Sambar)
Drumstick Leaves (Murungai Ilai or Murungai Keerai Sambar) (Do not add leaves initially; add them later as they cook faster).
Hyacinth/Indian Beans (Avaraikkai Sambar)
Ivy Gourd (Kovakkai Sambar)
Okra / Ladys Finger (Vendakkai Sambar)
Radish  (Mullangi Sambar)
Raw Mango (Mangai Sambar)
White Pumpkin (Vellai Poosanikkai Sambar)

Beans and Carrot
Drumstick and Brinjal
Drumstick and Hyacinth/Indian Beans
Drumstick and Raw Mango (Use only one Tomato)
Drumstick and Radish
Drumstick, Raw Mango and Jackfruit Seeds (Use only one Tomato)
Drumstick and Jackfruit Seeds
Drumstick and White Pumpkin. You can also try Yellow Pumpkin (Manjal Poosanikkai). But it gives a sweet taste.

While preparing Sambar with Raw Mango, do not add them initially add them later when sambar boils well and other vegetables are almost cooked (if added). Also cut Raw Mango into larger pieces.

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