Sambar is a very popular dish of Southern India.
It is a brownish curry made with a mix of vegetables and lentil. A hint of sourness elevates it from the level of blandness to a legendary plane where it is an indispensable must with Dosa, Idli and Thali. In this part of the world, you will see many sambar lovers who are happy to have their rice with sambar alone.
Rice, along with an array of dishes, make Sadya, the traditional South Indian banquet. Usually eight or sixteen, the number of dishes could be thirty-two or even sixty-four. South Indian Thali, is just a simple version of Sadya.
During Sadya or Thali, all the dishes are served on the side
while Sambar alone is poured directly on to the rice. It is served in greater
Sambar is a healthy dish thanks to the mix of fresh
vegetables added to it. Lentils dissolved to it is a good source of protein.
When it comes to adding some Moong Daal for extra health benefits, the choice
If the kitchen is running out of vegetables, you can make a simple Sambar with just onions and tomatoes. And it will taste right.
However, to take it to a level where it should be, vegetables should be added in their right proportions. Carrots, egg plants, okras, green bananas, potatoes, beans, drumsticks (moringa) are the members of standard sambar mix. No need to have them all, you can add what is available and skip the rest. Add them evenly so that one flavour doesn’t take over.
Nowadays, you can buy Sambar mix vegetables in supermarkets.
Credit is due where it is due. In this case, it is for the tamarind added to the sambar. The standout quality of good Sambar is its mild sourness, caused by the black sticky paste that is tamarind. Oh, I am not ignoring the aroma of Sambar. The unique aroma, is a collective effort, not the contribution of a single ingredient.
Slight variations exist in the way Sambar is made in different South Indian States.