Though the South Indian Sambhar is associtated with toordal / lentils, other beans can be substituted to prepare this spicy side dish. Of course, using different beans means bringing their signature flavors and own oomphs to a dish. In this recipe, the star is the nutritious chana with an earthly flavor. I have gone with the kala chana - the dark complexioned sister of Kabuli chana (Garbanzo beans) for this wholesome, spicy dish.
Ingredients to serve 4 - 6:
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped
1/2 cup kalachana
1.5 tsp salt
Thick tamarind puree - 2 tbsp
Powdered jaggery - 1 to 2 Tbsp
1/4 cup fresh coconut (dry coconut / copra can be substituted)
Ingredients to fry:
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 one inch cinnamon pieces
2 small petals of raathi puvvu / stone flower / daagad phool (optional. I happen to use them while preparing all spice powders) 10 red chillies
Ingredients for tadka:
2 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, a pinch of asafoetida, curry leaves
- Soak the kalachana over night or for at least 6 hours. They will swell and you would have about a cup of chana. Pressure cook the chana. Though they can be cooked on stovetop, it would take longer. Put the cooked chana in a colander and rinse them with fresh water.
- Fry all those ingredients mentioned in the list and keep aside.
- Take half of the cooked chana, fried ingredients, coconut and grind into a paste using water.
- Mean while, heat oil in a kadai / pan and add tadka ingredients in the order mentioned. When mustard seeds start to pop, add onions and fry till they turn translucent. Then add tomatoes and saute them till they turn mush. Then add chana, ground paste, tamarind, jaggery and salt to the onion- tomato mixture. Next add water. Adjust the quantity of water to get a consistency of sambhar. Also keep in mind that it thickens a little after cooking. Taste and adjust the quantities of salt, jaggery and tamarind if needed.
- Simmer the sambhar for about 10 minutes and turn off the stove.
- Serve hot with rice and a little ghee.
Recipe Source : Smt. Rajya Lakshmi, my beloved mother-in-law.