Monday, January 30, 2017



In many households in South India, the consumption of rice is considerable as it is the staple food. Hence, sambar, the versatile accompanying gravy/curry made of lentils and vegetables is equally popular. It is used with rice as also with items like idli, dosa, vada, etc.

There are different types of sambar. For example, elsewhere in this blog, you will find recipes for Mixed Vegetables Sambar, Radish Sambar, and Thakkali Kulambu.

The name for today's sambar comes from fresh fenugreek leaves being called Vendhaya Keerai in Tamil. This recipe has been adapted from Methi Sambar/ Vendhaya Keerai Sambar from the well-known blog, Subbu's Kitchen.

It tasted delicious and I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did.

  • Fenugreek Leaves, (Vendhaya Keerai), 1 cup
  • Baby Onions, 15-20
  • Toor Dal ( Split Pigeon Peas), 1/2 cup
  • Tamarind, lemon sized, 1
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Curry Leaves, a few
  • Oil, 2 tsp
Grind Together:
  • Byadgi Red Chillies, 8
  • Coriander Seeds, 1 tbsp
  • Channa Dal, ( Bengal Gram), 1 tbsp
  • Coconut Gratings, 2 tbsp
  • Baby Onions, 3
  • Oil, 2 tsp

Pluck the fenugreek leaves from their stems and wash thoroughly. Roughly chop them and keep aside.
Wash and cook the toor dal in a pressure cooker for 2-3 whistles or till the dal is cooked.
Once the cooker cools, remove the cooked dal and mash it immediately, and keep aside
Soak tamarind in warm water for about 10 minutes and extract the juice. Keep aside
Heat oil in a small pan, and when it gets hot, on medium flame, add red chillies, coriander seeds and channa dal
Fry till the dal turns golden brown and the chillies become crisp
Allow this to cool and transfer to a small mixer jar
Grind the above roasted ingredients along with coconut gratings and 3 baby onions to a smooth paste using just the required amount of water. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan and when it gets hot add the mustard seeds
When they splutter add curry leaves and fry for a few seconds
Now add the 15-20 baby onions and fry for a couple of minutes
Add a little water and cook the onions on medium/low flame for about 2 minutes
When the onions are half-done, add the roughly chopped fenugreek leaves and a little salt. Mix well
Sprinkle some water and cook the fenugreek leaves and onions completely 
When they are cooked, add the tamarind extract, turmeric powder, and salt (remember you have already added a little salt earlier)
Mix well and boil the mixture till the raw smell of the tamarind goes
Then add the mashed toor dal and stir well
Add the ground paste which you have prepared (of chillies, dal, coconut gratings and baby onions) and mix well
Lastly, boil the sambar and simmer for 2-3 minutes on medium flame
The vendhaya keerai sambar is ready to be served

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