Monday, July 13, 2009

Vegan/Vegetarian South Indian Stew

This South Indian vegetarian (Vegan) stew is inspired by the recipe Vengaaya Sambhar by Viji Varadarajan


1/2 cup

Red Gram/Thuvaram Paruppu/Thuvar Dhal (Toor Dhal)


Asafoetida/ Hing powder

1 1/2 cups

Water- soak a golf ball sized piece of tamarind in this water.

3 tablespoons


¼ teaspoon

Mustard seeds/kadugu/rai

1/2 cup

Red diced onions


curry leaves/Karuveppalai/Kari Patha torn or crushed

¼ teaspoon

Black gram/ulutham paruppu/urad dhal (optional)

¼ teaspoon

Fenugreek seeds/Methi/mendhiyam

A few

Curry leaves/Karuveppalai/Kari Patha torn

2 cups

Vegetable of your choice (okra/bindi, eggplant/brinjal, drumstick, etc.)

4 teaspoons

Sambar powder

1. In separate small saucepan, on medium heat boil toor dhal. Wash first and add 1 1/2 cup water and a pinch of Asafoetida. Continue to boil until dhal is mushy.
2. Soak the tamarind in 1 1/2 cups warm water for about 10 minutes.
3. In a separate bowl, keep the diced onions, curry leaves, Fenugreek seeds/Methi/mendhiyam, and urad dhal.
4. Heat a deep vessel (pan that can hold about 6 cups of food). Put oil in the bottom. When it heats, add mustard seeds. When they pop add the contents of the bowl in step 3. Stir for about 1 minute or until a nice aroma comes. (Note some people will add only spices and not onions to this seasoning, I find that the curry leaves brown too quickly, and the urad dhal blackens and hardens slightly. To combat this, I place all these items in together.)
5. Add 2 cups water.
6. Add sambar powder and vegetables, stir well.
7. Keep on medium heat until it boils. Let boil for about 10 minutes. This will thicken it slightly.
8. Keep checking dhal throughout. More water may need to be added if it starts to evaporate and dhal has not become mushy yet. When dhal is mushy, try to mush some with spoon in pot. Add this dhal into the sambar.
9. Strain the tamarind from the water by squeezing the tamarind pieces to retain the juice. To strain remaining small pieces, use a tea strainer or similar device while pouring the water into the pan.
10. Now the heat on sambar should be on simmer. When dhal is done and mushy, add to sambar.
11. Taste for salt and add little at time to get to your preferred salt level. I usually add by sight and taste until it’s to our salt level. I think I added about 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons.

When all steps are completed, turn off flame after it has been on low heat about 15 minutes. Let sit off flame for about thirty minutes or so before eating. Serve hot with plain rice and if desired, ghee, and side dish curries of your choice. Some may also prefer to mix the sambar and rice with papard (Indian Chips) or American potato chips for a crunchy effect.

Related Posts/Sites:
Sambar Varieties - Recipes
Vathhal Kozhumbu
Besan (Chick pea flour) Sambar
Savory Sambar
Mysore Sambar
Homemade Sambar Powder
Eggplant Sambar

Related Posts/Sites:
Join Viji's Fan Page on Facebook
Insights and Inspirations of Viji Varadarajan
Viji’s website- Viji Samayal
Brahmin Recipes by Viji Varadarajan on Magic Chef Hat, October 2008
Fusion in the Kitchen – The Hindu, March 2009
The tradition continues – Harmony Magazine, September 2007

tags : "cookbook authors", "south indian food", "tamil brahmin", "tamil food", "vegetarian samayal", traditional cookery "indian cooking" vegetarian "Indian vegetarian cooking" "pure vegetarian cookery' sambar stew vegan vegetarian gravy


Mythreyi Dilip said...

Nice to meet u Jennifer, you have a great blog!

Jen Kumar said...

Thank you, Mythreyi.