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for cooking the lentils:
  • ½ cup tuvar dal
  • ½ cup masoor dal
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2.5 to 3 cups for water for pressure cooking
for sambar and tempering:
  • 9 to 10 small brinjals, 100 gms
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 large onion or 4 to 5 shallots, 90 to 100 gms
  • 3 medium to large tomatoes, 220 to 230 gms
  • 1 tbsp tamarind soaked in ¼ to ½ cup warm water
  • 1.5 cups water added later or add as required
  • salt as required
  • tempering:
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 4 to 5 curry leaves
  • ½ tsp asafoetida powder/hing – if you have a strong asafoetida, then add ¼ tsp
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds/rai or sarson
  • 1 tsp urad dal/husked and split black lentil
for the sambar masala:
  • 5 byadagi/bedgi chilies or 4 to 5 dry red chilies (reduce depending upon the heat in the chilies)
  • 11- 12 large curry leaves or 16-18 small curry leaves
  • 1.5 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp chana dal/split & husked bengal gram
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp whole black pepper
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tsp oil
INSTRUCTIONS
cooking the lentils:
  1. rinse both the lentils well and then add them to the pressure cooker with 2.5 to 3 cups water and ¼ tsp turmeric powder.
  2. pressure cook the lentils for 8 to 8 whistles or more, till they are soft and well cooked. mash the lentils and keep aside.
preparing the sambar masala:
  1. in a small frying pan, heat 2 tsp oil. first fry the mustard till they crackle. then add the coriander, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, black pepper, chana dal (bengal gram), curry leaves and dry red chilies. stir and saute till the spices become aromatic. keep aside to cool. don’t burn the spices. saute the spices on a low flame.
  2. once the spices cool, grind them to a powder in a dry grinder or coffee grinder. keep aside.
preparing the sambar:
  1. soak the tamarind in warm water for 25 to 30 mins.
  2. later squeeze the tamarind pulp. strain and keep aside.
  3. chop all the vegetables. quarter the onions. peel and dice the carrots and potatoes.
  4. dice the brinjals and add them in water to prevent discoloration. chop the tomatoes in small pieces.
  5. in a pot, heat oil first. add the mustard and urad dal. let the mustard crackle and the urad dal turn into a maroonish color.
  6. add quartered onions or shallots, curry leaves and asafoetida. stir and and saute for 2 minutes.
  7. then add the veggies and saute for 4 to 5 minutes.
  8. add the tomatoes, salt and continue to saute for 6 to 7 minutes more.
  9. pour water. then add the strained tamarind pulp and stir well.
  10. simmer until the raw aroma of the tamarind goes away. about 8 to 9 minutes.
  11. if the vegetables are not cooked, then continue to simmer till they get cooked.
  12. now add the ground sambar masala which we have already prepared. stir.
  13. add the mashed lentils. stir and simmer sambar for about 6 to 7 minutes. add hot water if required depending on the consistency you want. the sambar which is served in the hotels is on the thinner side.
  14. check the taste and add more salt if required.
  15. garnish with coriander leaves and serve the tiffin sambar hot with idli, medu vada or dosa.
NOTES
you can add your choice of vegetables.

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