Quick Fiery Sambar (Red Bell Pepper)
Sambar is one of the favorite and default items in our menu when guests come over – as well as at least once a week for us … There are several ways that sambar is made.
Our faves are onion sambar and red bell pepper sambar, in no particular order. Red pepper gives a unique flavor, fragrance, and taste to the sambar that is divine! Not to mention the fiery red color – so the name of my entry – though the spice level can be varied by adjusting the sambar powder.
My version is as usual a twist on the traditional method of grinding coconut. This one is J aunt’s way of making sambar – I learnt it from DH.
This one has coconut as well as sambar powder – DH swears by Ambika Sambar Podi! You can try it out with a sambar powder of your choice.
This one is an entry to Pooja’s VoW-JFI “Bell Peppers”.
Red bell peppers: 3
Tuvar dal (Yellow pigeon peas split): ½ cup
Asafoetida powder: ¼ teaspoon
Turmeric powder: ¼ teaspoon
Sambar powder: 2½ teaspoons (We use Ambika Sambar Powder)
Tamarind: about 1 large lemon (or about equivalent tamarind paste)
Rice Flour: 2 teaspoons
Grated coconut: 2 tablespoons or to your taste
Fenugreek (Methi) Seeds: ¼ teaspoon
Curry leaves: 3-4 torn
Mustard seeds: ½ teaspoon
Dry red chillies: 2 split in halves
Oil: 2 teaspoons
Salt to taste
- In a pressure cooker, cook the tuvar dal with 2.5-3 cups of water for about 4-5 whistles (or till well-cooked and mushy).
- Wait for the steam to be released from the cooker. Once the steam is released from the cooker, mash the dal slightly with the back of a ladle.
- In the meanwhile, soak the tamarind in water and heat in a microwave for about a minute. When cooled, extract all the pulp and discard the skins. You may use additional water to extract the pulp – a total of about 4 cups.
- Chop the red bell peppers into ½ inch pieces.
- In a heavy-bottomed vessel/pan, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds, dry red chillies, and methi seeds.
- When they pop, add the curry leaves and grated coconut. Fry for about 30 seconds.
- Add the tamarind pulp to the tempering and include the red bell peppers. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the tamarind pulp and peppers.
- When cooked for about 10 minutes, add the sambar, turmeric, and asafoetida powders. Cook further for a total of about 20 minutes or till the peppers are cooked.
- Then, mix in the mashed tuvar dal.
- Cook for a couple of minutes so that the flavors blend.
- In the meanwhile, make a paste of the rice flour in about 2-3 tablespoons of water – ensure no lumps.
- Mix in this rice flour paste in the sambar and stir well to blend well.
- Cook for 7-10 minutes till the rice flour is cooked and the sambar thickens.
- Finally, add salt to taste and check the spice and salt levels – adjust if required.
- Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat.
- Serve hot with rice, idli, dosa, adai, or such varieties.
Note: Sambar thickens as it cools down and if refrigerated. Also, the flavors set in better over a few hours.