Recipe for Bengaluru darshini hotel style sweet sambar. Karnataka restaurant style sambar with step by step pictures.
1/2 cup toor dal (thuvaram paruppu)
2 drumsticks, cut into two inch pieces
2 teaspoon peanut oil (1 tsp + 1 tsp)
5–6 small onions (Indian Shallots)
1/2 inch piece cinnamon
4 dried regular red chillies (guntur variety)
3 byadagi red chillies
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon chana dal
half a lime size tamarind
1/4 cup fresh coconut
Final cooking of Sambar
1 teaspoon peanut oil
10 small onions (Indian Shallots)
1.5 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon jaggery
2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon ghee
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 green chillies, slit
2 sprig curry leaves
a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
Wash and soak half a cup of toor dal in 1.5 cups of water for 20 minutes. Pressure cook the dal with the water for 6 whistles. Remove from heat and wait for the pressure in the cooker to release naturally. Use the back of the tumbler to mash the dal. Set the dal aside to a bowl. Add in the drumsticks. Add one cup of water. Cook for 2-3 whistles. Remove from heat and wait for the pressure in the cooker to release naturally. Set aside. Dal and drumsticks are done.
Heat a teaspoon of peanut oil in a pan and add in the chana dal, coriander seeds and the cinnamon. When the dal is slightly brown, add in both the varieties of chillies. Saute for a few seconds. Remove the fried ingredients and set aside on a plate to cool.
In the same pan, add in a teaspoon of peanut oil. Add in the shallots (small onions) and the chopped tomatoes. Saute for a few minutes till the tomatoes are cooked and soft.
Now grind all the fried ingredients together in a mixie with half a cup of water to a smooth paste. Set aside.
Soak half a lime size tamarind in a cup of water for 20 minutes. Once the tamarind has been soaked, squeeze it between the fingers to release all the juices. Strain the juice and set aside. Discard the pith and seeds.
Grind quarter cup of fresh coconut with half a cup of water to a paste. Set aside. One can also use dessicated coconut if you dont have fresh coconut. But fresh coconut is a first choice.
For the main Sambar
Heat peanut oil in a pan and add in the sliced small onions (Indian shallots). Saute for 2-3 minutes till the onions are soft. Add in the tamarind extract.
Add in the salt, turmeric powder, sugar and jaggery. Don’t ask me why two kinds of sugar. While jaggery gives the earthy note, the sugar amps up the sweetness without overpowering.
Add in the ground masala paste. Wash the mixie with a cup of water and add it to the pan. Always wash the mixie and add it to the pan so you are not wasting any of the masala that is stuck in the mixie. It is an untold rule when you are cooking Indian food. Let the sambar simmer for 10 minutes. While simmering, if you feel that the consistency is too thick or the masalas are scorching at the bottom, feel free to add a little more water.
Add in the cooked dal, drumsticks and the ground coconut paste. Simmer for around 2-3 minutes. Switch off the flame.
Final tempering for the darshini style sweet sambar
Heat ghee in a small kadai. When the ghee is hot, add in the mustard seeds, slit green chillies, and curry leaves. Let the mustard seeds crackle. Add in a pinch of asafoetida. Add in the tempering to the sambar.
Serve with idli. As they famously say here, do it “idli-dippu” style which means idlies dipped in a generous amount of sambar.