1 cup Toor Dal
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 1/2 cups water for pressure cooking
2 T. sesame oil (or sunflower, peanut)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon urad dal
4-5 curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder
1 large onion (or 10-12 pearl onions)
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium carrot, sliced
6-7 green beans, chopped into 1" pieces
1 medium potato, chopped
4-5 okra, sliced (*optional)
1 small eggplant, chopped into small squares (*optional)
1 bell pepper, chopped (*optional)
1-2 drumsticks (moringa) chopped in 2-3 inch pieces (I find that the frozen moringa works well in this recipe)
salt to taste
1 T. tamarind paste (lemon juice will work here too)
4 T. sambar powder (*order on website or purchase from your local indian store)
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped for garnish
For cooking lentils
Tempering for Sambar
For cooking vegetables
Cooking the lentils
Rinse lentils and add them to a pressure cooker with turmeric and water.
Pressure cook lentils for 7-8 minutes or until the lentils are softened and well cooked.
Once the pressure cooker releases all it's pressure, open the lid and mash the lentils, keep aside.
Cooking the vegetables
In a pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds until they crackle. Add the urad dal until lightly browned.
Add chopped onion (or pearl onions), curry leaves and asafoetida and stir until onions are soft.
Add the tomatoes, garlic and salt and continue to saute for 4-5 minutes on medium.
Add the vegetables that take longer to cook (carrots, potato, green beans, etc) and saute for another 4-5 minutes.
Add remaining quick-cooking vegetables (okra, eggplant), stir and mix.
Add tamarind pulp (or lemon juice) and add 1 1/4 cups water. You want your vegetables to be almost covered with water.
Once your vegetables are almost cooked add the ground sambar powder and mix well.
Add the mashed lentils and stir to combine. The lentils with thicken your soup. Add 1 cup water or as required depending on the consistency you want.
For idli you can keep it on the thinner side. If serving with rice, you can keep it a little thicker.
Stir sambar without the lid until it comes to a boil. Taste for salt and add more if required.
Serve with idli or rice and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. You can also drizzle ghee on top .