Idli being a staple breakfast and dinner at home we never get tired of it (do I kid myself? every other day I complain) but not really on the idlis but on the side dish we make. The usual ones are the coconut chutney, tomato chutney, onion chutney or the humble idli milagai podi. Some time this very simple podi too can spike the more so plain idlis.
Occassionally atleast once in a week or two I make this arachuvita sambar to make idlis a celebration. I have not done justice regarding the photos as posting the sambar without idlis are totally bad. But will promise that I will update once I make it again. But the mini idlis or pieces of idli floating in a bowl full of this sambar and a drizzle of ghee is a definite treat that too for a Sunday morning.
After bathing and feeding the two kids and my late morning bath on a Sunday I would settle with this bowl full in the balcony with my favorite Tamil weekly. And that calls for a perfect weekend 😉
The primary ingredient of this is the sambar onions or shallots and hence if that is not available please please do not substitute with the large onions. Wait till you get the little ones and make this. I can never give my word for the taste front if there is a substitution !
Toor dal cooked – 1 Cup (If you have the water cooked along with it reserve it)
Tamarind – 1 small lime sized (soak it in 1 Cup of water)
Sambar onions/ shallots – 20 nos (peeled and washed)
Sambar powder – 1.5 teaspoon
Tomato chopped – 3/4 cup
Peanut oil – 3 T spoon
Coriander leaves for garnishing – 1 handful
For the paste :
Coriander seeds – 1 teaspoon
Coconut – Freshly grated 1/4 cup
Red chilly – 3 nos
How to make it ?
In a thick bottomed wide skillet heat 1.5 T spoon of peanut oil. Once it is smoking lower the flame to medium and add the shallots (don’t chop them unless they were more than of 1 inch size). Fry till the outer layer starts wilting and about to peel off. Now add the chopped toamtoes and saute till they become soft. Add the Sambar powder, cooked toor dal and enough water to make it to a desired consistency. It should be like a thick soup. Add salt to taste and cover and let it boil for 7-10 minutes. In the mean time squeeze the tamarind with the water and extract the pulp. Filter it using a colander and reserve the extract. When the dal mix was boiled for the said time add this extract and let it boil for another 5 minutes. In the mean time in a separate thick bottomed vessel heat the remaining peanut oil and when hot add the coriander seeds and fry till you get a nice aroma. Add the chilies and fry till they turn crisp. Add the coconut and fry till the coconut starts browning. Switch off the stove and let this cool. Take it in a stone grinder or a mixie and grind it to a coarse paste with very little water. Add spoon by spoon by listening to our mixie’s sounds.
When the sambar is boiled after adding the tamarind extract for 5 mins. add this round paste and mix well. Let this boil for 2-3 mins and add a handful of chopped coriander leaves and switch off the stove. Cover vessel immediately.
Laddle the sambar in a large soup bowl. Float mini idlis or pieces of idlis. Drizzle a spoon of melted ghee and enjoy with a spoon ! Slurp 😉
This amount serves 3 very hungry people but at home where people drink a bowl full of sambar for just two idlis it would be enough for 2 persons having 4 idlis each 😉