Dals/OzhichuKootaan/Saaru, Kerala Recipes, Main Dish, South Indian

Sambar

Sambar is a versatile dal curry. It tastes good with almost everything. You can have it with rice, dosa, idli, even chapathi!

There are various types of sambar and different styles of making it. This is a simpler version, which can be made even if you do not have whole ingredients or a ready-made sambar powder but turns out equally tasty. Try it!

Ingredients:

Toor dal – 1 cup
Drumstick – 2
Malabar cucumber/ash gourd – 100 gms
Potatoes – 2
Tomatoes – 2
Lady’s finger – 6-8
Tamarind – a lime-sized ball
Curry leaves – 2 stalks
Coriander leaves – 1 tbsp chopped
Salt to taste
Water – 3-4 cups

For seasoning:

Coriander powder – 2 table spoons
Asafetida – 1/4 tea spoon
Red chilly powder – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tea spoon
Methi(fenugreek) seeds – 1/4 tea spoon
Oil – 1 tsp

Preparation Time: 15 mins.

Cooking Time: 20 mins.

Method:

Wash toor dal and add some turmeric powder and pressure cook it. Mash the dal and keep it aside.

Soak the tamarind in warm water and extract the juice.

Wash, peel, and cut the vegetables in 1/2 inch sized cubes. Put all the vegetables except tomato in a vessel. Add enough water to cover all the vegetables and a pinch of turmeric powder and cook. When the vegetables are cooked, add the tamarind paste and add tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the cooked dal to this mixture. Add salt and mix boil for 2 minutes. Add more water if needed.

Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard and methi seeds. When they crackle, add coriander powder, red chilly powder, asofetida. Take care to not burn the powders. Add half a glass of water and cook this mixture for 2 minutes. Instead of adding these powders, you can buy sambar powder from the market and add 2 tbsps of that. Add this to the vegetables. Add curry leaves and chopped coriander leaves and garnish. Hot sambhar is ready.

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Festival Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, Side Dishes, South Indian

Avial

A healthy concoction of vegetables in mildly flavored coconut gravy, a stew of sorts, a must-have for feasts.

Avial

vegetablesIngredients:
Assorted vegetables cut in 1-1-/2 inch size – 500 gm
Water – 1/2 cup
Curd* – 1 cup
Curry Leaves – 2 stalks
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp

* In case any of these ingredients are unavailable, check the alternate ingredients section for other options.

To grindTo grind:
Grated coconut – one cup
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Green chilies – 3 or 4
Shallots – 1-2 (optional)

*Alternatives:
You can add tamarind pulp instead of curd.

VegetablesMethod:
You can use any vegetable for avial. Avial itself means an assortment/mixture of various things. Yet, the traditional avial uses only native Kerala vegetables and does not use vegetables like potato, capsicum etc. So try to use ‘traditional vegetables’ to get the conventional taste. Traditionally used vegetables for avial are ash gourd, malabar cucumber, drum sticks, elephant yam, carrot, raw banana, pumpkin, long beans, snake gourd, bottle gourd. Wash, peel, and then cut the vegetables of same length of 1 to 1-½ inch pieces.

In a wok add ½ cup of water and add the cut vegetables. Ensure that the water is just enough for the vegetables to get cooked, not too much and not less. Add a pinch of turmeric powder. Close with a lid and cook in medium flame until all the vegetables are cooked. Stir occasionally. Add salt.

While the vegetables are cooking, in a mixer, grind the grated coconut, green chilies, cumin seeds, and shallots. Grind coarsely. Add the ground paste to the cooked vegetables and let it simmer for 2 minutes.

Add curry leaves. Turn off the fire. Beat the curd and add it to the cooked vegetables. Mix well and add 1 tbsp coconut oil mix. Avial is ready to be served.

Notes:
Avial can be eaten along with rice and sambar. It is a wholesome dish and can be eaten as a salad also.

Trivia:
Here is an interesting story about the origin of avial. Bheema, the strongest of the of Pandava brothers, worked as a cook in the Virata kingdom during the one year that Pandavas spent in disguise. The king of Virata did not like wasting a thing. Once, during one of his trips to the royal kitchen, the king noticed that there were small bits and pieces of various vegetables lying around even after all the cooking was complete. The king ordered that these vegetables should not be wasted and should be put to better use. Bheema then cooked all the leftover vegetables together and added some leftover coconut, curd and the rest is history! The inevitable item of every good sadya was thus born in the royal kitchen. It is a much loved dish and is commonly found in restaurants. But seldom will you find the original taste of avial there. Try an authentic sadya avial and then you will know.

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