Saturday, January 10, 2009

Day 4: GIANT vats of Sambaar and Garbanzo Beans

This is Sambaar, a staple of the traditional South Indian diet. It can be made form a variety of lentils, including the common brown lentil found in regular supermarkets here in the states. The use of Tamarind, a tangy fruit pulp, and asafoetida, a pungent dry spice balance the usually hot (as in spicy hot) Sambaar powder. In my version, Thoor Dhal, or red lentils, were cooked till mushy (I used a pressure cooker to speed things up) and then added to a can of crushed tomatoes (I also ran these through the food processor because my particular can of crushed tomatoes had quite large chunks...)

To this, I added a pot of boiled mixed veggies-- what I had on hand: turnips, potatoes, radishes, and carrots.

and then the tamarind juice. This tamarind actually came from my father's family tamarind tree in India. To remove the juice, the tamarind goo (this can be found in an Indian store..also I have seen fresh tamarind pods in the DC are Korean Market) is mixed with a bit of water, and then squeezed till the water turns brown. The water is then added to whatever dish (ex Sambaar) and the rest of the tamarind fruit rind is thrown away. It should look something like this:

To finish off the Sambaar, heat oil in a small frying pan. Add a few pieces of fenugreek and about a tsp of mustard seeds, until the mustard seeds pop. Then add urad dhal and onions (and curry leaves if you are using them). Cook until the onions are soft, and then add to the sambaar. Its done! Sambaar is great with several dishes, including plain rice and Dosa and Idly (you'll see a post about these soon).

The next meal I did was Garbanzo bean curry and chappatis. Chappatis are a whole wheat flat bread that is pan fried. They are simple to make, but time consuming.. I use the food processor to mix wheat flour and water till it forms a dough ball that isnt very sticky (I usually go back and forth, adding a little bit of water alternately with a little bit more flour till its just right). I then take this dough ball and form 1 inch or 1.5 inch balls. On a little mound of flour, each dough ball is rolled into a flat circle about the thickness of a flour tortilla. I take this flat dough and pan fry one side pretty well, and then put the un-done side on top of a burner set to "high" on a suspended cooling rack (See the picture to get a description). This wouldnt be needed if I had a gas stove.. but since mine is electric this is an alternative method to make it poof.

I could have sworn I took a picture of the garbanzo bean curry, but I guess I didnt. Ahh well, Those will have to come later.

1 comment:

  1. Wow your sambaar looks really good, I think I will try running my crushed tomatoes through a food processor, too. mmMMMmMM when are you gonna make me some dosa?