Thursday, August 6, 2015

Thanjavur iyer Sambar

It never occured to me that i must blog about Sambar, it is a staple in our home and when a friend recently asked me how we make it, i decided to blog about it. There are two types of sambar, the one with podi( sambar powder) and the other where the spice ingredients are ground with coconut. ( araichivitta sambar). which is generally made on ocassions and on leisure days like holidays. That said sambar has variations from region to region and state to state  and what i will be sharing is the typical sambar of the Thanjavur iyer homes.

This is generally an accompaniment for rice, but it goes well with idli, dosa, uttappam, vada and even in my home with idiappam(string hoppers). It is most popular with rice though. This is ideal to be packed in tiffin boxes also, while some take rice and sambar in separate containers. I prefer it in mixed form (like bisibele bath).

When my mom would be  away to relatives wedding or other functions, my dad would pack my tiffin box. He would mash and mix the rice with sambar and ghee and it would smell heavenly. It so happened once, when i was at work , i had to travel to DRDO and was late for lunch. I came and opened my tiffin box to see it empty. My colleague said, since you were late, i thought you would have lunch outside and the aroma from your tiffin box was irresistable and so I ate the ghee laden carrot sambar rice, while i had to eat the two puffs he brought from the nearby bakery. Ofcourse, the secret of a tasty sambar depends on the sambar powder one uses and we make the sambar powder at home. I have already blogged about the sambar powder recipe. Now, the ingredients and method for sambar.


Toor dal ( boiled and mashed) - 1 cup
tamarind juice extracted from soaking a golf ball size tamarind
sambar powder - 1 1/2 tablespoon
crystal salt - to taste( i use crystal salt, we can substitute it with table salt too)
hing - a small piece or equivalent to 1/2 teaspoon hing powder
haldi - a tea spoon
curry leaf - a sprig
mustard for seasoning
oil for seasoning( i use gingelly oil)
Vegetables  - 1/2 cup of our choice( generally any of these or you can mix them also. pumpkin, raddish, drumstick, onions/shallots, even potatoes,brinjals,capsicum, ladies finger , beans or even tomatoes  can be used). Sometimes, the taste of sambar depends on the veggies added also.


Boil the veggies along with tamarind water and haldi.
When the rawness of tamarind is not smelt add salt and sambar powder. Let it boil for a few minutes till you smell the aroma of sambar powder. Once the rawness of sambar powder vanishes. Add the boiled dal and simmer it till all the ingredients blend and you smell the aroma of sambar. Switch off and temper.

For tempering: take a tablespoon of til oil, add mustard, when it splutters. Switch off. Now add the hing and curry leaf to the heated oil and pour the tempered oil over the sambar. The sambar will sizzle and absord the tempering.

Serve it with rice or any tiffin of your choice.

                                                 Kathrikai Sambar ( Brinjal)

Some tips:
When making sambar with brinjals, onions, ladies is better to stir fry them in oil before boiling.
Pumpkin, beans, drumstick, raddish can be  par boiled with little water and haldi before adding tamarind juice.
potatoes, carrots can be pressure cooked and added to the tamarind water.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Beach sundal ( a lentil stirfry sold in beach)

Lentil stirfries are called 'Sundal' in tamil. This  protein packed dish is famously made at home with different lentils on the 9 days of  Navaratri. They are made with moong dal, channa dal, chick peas etc each one on different days of the  9 days  but the most famous sundal outside home is on the Beaches of  Madras. and this is called Maanga Battani Sundal.


soaked and boiled green peas - 1 cup
finely Chopped mangoes( totapuri) -- 1/4 cup
grated coconut - 1 tablespoon
grated carrot  - 2 table spoons
grated ginger - 1 tea spoon
green chillies finely chopped /ground from 2 nos
( or you can use chilli powder too to suit your taste)
salt to taste
coriander for garnishing

For tempering;

oil  - 1 table spoon
mustard - 1 tea spoon 
a pinch of asafoetida


Heat a pan, add a table spoon of oil.
add mustard and allow it to splutter in the heat. Add, hing, green chillies, ginger  and stir fry.
now add the boiled peas( drain excess water)  and stir fry till the mixture is dry. Add salt to taste and mix well.
( if you are using dry chillli it now)

Switch off stove and mix in the remaining ingredients like chopped mangoes, grated carrot, and coconut. Garnish it with coriander and some raw ginger,   tastes  best when served in paper cones like in beach:)  I love the tangy taste of mango and the zing of raw ginger with every bite of soft peas.

                               garnished with home grown organic coriander

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Hayagriva maddi

This is a traditional sweet from the temple town of Udupi and is served in most functions of the "Madhwa" community in Karnataka. I first tasted this in my cousin's son's first birthday function. She is married to a Madhwa and so this sweet dish was served along with another traditional sweet Chandrahaara. But this sweet has a very lovely story behind why it is served in the traditional Mutt of Sri Krishna temple at Udupi.

According to the legend, nothing grew on the land of a small village called matti some many years ago. The villagers lamented this to the wandering Saint Vadiraja theerhta. He gave them a bundle of seeds to grow and the people in turn showed their gratitude by offering channa daal and Jaggery. These, it is believed were eaten by lord Krishna who took the form of hayagreeva or horse. From then on hayagreeva maddis is the preffered prasadam in the Udupi temple. The seeds that vadiraja theertha gifted is the famous gulla brinjals, a pale green variety unique to this region which is produced even today and is available in other towns and cities of Karnataka in Mangalore stores .

Now after the story, over to the recipe of  Hayagreeva maddi.

  • Channa dal --- 1 cup
  •  Jaggery    ----- 3/4 cup ( i used powdered palm jaggery) 
  • Dry coconut---- 2 table spoons
  •  Roasted poppy seeds ( gasgase) - 1 table spoon
  • dash of cardamom powder to flavour
  •  Dry grapes and Cashew for garnishing
  • Ghee

Method -

Cook the channa dal in  a cooker to 3 whistles or till it boils to a mushy consistency.

On the other side ....make a jaggery syrup  by adding little water to the jaggery. Filter the jaggery mixture to remove impurities.

Now, take the filtered jaggery mixture and heat it in a kadai, to this add the mushy paste of Channa dal and cook till it blends.

Simmer the  stove  for a minute and mix in the , elaichi powder and dry copra and mix well with 3 table spoons of ghee .

Switch off the stove and sprinkle roasted poppy seeds all over. 

Grease a bowl and scoop the maddi to a bowl and  garnish with roasted cashews,  and fried raisins . 

You can add more ghee to make it taste better.