Way back in 2000, I was looking for an authentic recipe for Bisi bele baath and found one very interesting on Mr. Hemant Trivedi's cookery corner. I printed a copy of the same and have been using it ever since. It turned out so well that I keep his recipe of sambhar powder handy at all times. My mother goes one step ahead. She has also kept the special masala readymade by dry roasting the ingredients. Lately, I read in one of the blogs that the authentic BBB does not include shallots. So, I dropped the BBB title and simply call it Sambhar saadham.
This recipe features on our dining table whenever, I need to empty my fridge before a visit to the green grocer.Depending on the type of veggie I have left over, the menu transforms as pulav, avial, kootu etc.
I have stuck to Mr. Trivedi's recipe mostly, only the quantity of rice, dhal and veggies vary.
Rice - 1 cup
Thuvar dhal - 1/3 cup
Mixed vegetables (cut in big pieces) - 1/2 cup
Shallots -1/4 cup
Tamarind -1 medium lemon size ball.
Salt to taste
Sambhar powder (recipe below) - 2 teaspoons
Masala powder (recipe below) - 1/2 teaspoon
Grated copra - 3 tablespoons
Ghee - 3 tablespoons
Turmeric powder -1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds -2 teaspoons
Curry leaves, Coriander leaves - for garnish
Peel the Madras onions and retain in full pieces.
Extract pulp from tamarind to make about 1/2 cup of extract.
Cook vegetables separately according to their cooking time and mix them.
Cook dhal in a pressure cooker until tender but retains form.
Cook the rice a bit longer than regular. (as for curd rice or pongal).
Roast the grated copra until very bright red and flavoursome.
In a pan heat the ghee. Put in the mustard seeds and let them crackle.
Add shallots and saute them until they are brown. Pour the tamarind extract, add turmeric powder, salt and sambhar powder.
On medium heat let the tamarind extract simmer and reduce in volume.
Meantime add the cooked vegetables to the same and let it simmer.
After about 10 minutes add the cooked dhal and let it boil.
Now carefully transfer the rice and mix well not allowing it to stick to the pan. Stirring occassionally, let the rice and sambhar mix well.
Add the copra and the masala powder. Mix thoroughly. Take off the heat and garnish with curry and coriander leaves.
A very delectable one dish meal is ready to be served hot with anything from roasted potatoes to just crisps.
Redchillies -1 cup
Dhania -3/4 cup
Urad dhal -1/2 tablespoon
Channa dhal - 1/2 tablespoon
Thuvar dhal - 1/2 table spoon
Black pepper -1/2 tablespoon
Turmeric powder -1 teaspoon
Asafoetida -1 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 3-4 sprigs
Fenugreek -1/4 teaspoon
Mustard -1/4 teaspoon
Cumin seeds ( optional) -2 teaspoons
Dry roast all the above ingredients individually. Then mix them in the still warm kadai. Close with a lid while it has cooled down slightly (so that no water condenses) and let it stand so for about an hour. Powder them coarsely. Store in airtight bottles. ( Mr. Trivedi says this will serve only for 3 or 4 times as he is not in favour of storing these powders for long lest they lose aroma.)
( But I store them. They keep well in our fridge for atleast two months.)
2"X 4 pieces cinnamon
7 numbers cloves
25 grams Maratta moggu.(A unique spice.) if you don't find them, I guess it is okay. I use less than 25 grams.
10 pieces red chillies if they are spicy or slightly more.
In a pan, put some ghee (I dry roast this also), and add the maratta moggu on medium fire until it cracks open slightly.
Immediately remove and keep aside.
In the same pan, roast the redchillies and other ingredients on very low flame for exactly a minute and a half.
Add to the maratta moggu, let them cool. then powder not so fine, but coarse to touch.