It makes me feel home sick whenever I make this aromatic and delicious sambar. At home we call it as Dosa Sambar or ‘Dhikida Sambhar in sourashtra’. This sambar is little unusual as it is not made with lentils instead it is made with a ground paste of 6 aromatic spices, bengal gram and coconut. I was assuming that it is an unique sourashtra delicacy until I ate a similar version of this at my ex-neighbor’s in new york who hail from the Naattukotai Chettiar background. They refer it as Vengaya Kosu and it is a famous chettinad delicacy too. Both of our recipes are similar with some variations to it.
Roasted Bengal gram/Pottu kadalai – 1 3/4 tbsp
Khus Khus/Gasa Gasa/Poppy Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Fennel Seeds/Sombu/Saunf – 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon Stick/Pattai – 1 1/4 inch
Cloves/Kirambu/Lavang – 2
Garlic/Poondu – 1 pod
Ginger/Inji – small piece (1/2 the size of garlic)
Coconut – 6 pieces (2.5 x 2.5 cm)
Onion – 1/2 (small) sliced
Tomato – 1/2 (small) diced
Green Chili – 6
Chili Powder/Milagai thul – 1/4 tsp
Coriander/Dhaniya Powder/Malli podi – 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Hing/Asafoetida – sprinkle
Water – 2 cup
Oil – 1/2 tbsp
Mustard Seeds – 1/4 tsp
Cumin Seeds – pinch
Curry Leaves – 5 -6
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Potato – 1 (small), chopped into small chunks [optional]
1. In a mixie/blender add roasted bengal gram, khus khus, fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick, ginger, garlic and grind it.
2. When it is 80% done, add coconut to the ground spices and grind it coarsely adding few tbsp of water. It shouldn’t be like a smooth paste nor too coconutish…i.e, the coconut should be ground 95%.
(you can also slightly dry roast the ingredients in step 1 before grinding)
For the Curry:
In a kadai, add oil. When it is hot add mustard seeds and let it splutter, then add cumin seeds and curry leaves.
If you are using potato, add it to the seasoned oil and saute. I don’t like potatoes in this sambar so I chose not to add. But back home Amma adds potatoes because dad likes it and even the original recipe requires potatoes.
Then add onions, green chili, turmeric powder and saute. After 2-3 min when onion turns translucent, add tomato and saute for 1 min.
Then add the ground paste and mix it with onion and tomato. Keep stiring it as it might stick to the kadai.
After 1 min, add water, chili powder, dhaniya powder, salt, hing and stir it well. If required add another 1/4 cup of water (only if it is too thick).
Bring it to boil, reduce the flame (low) and let it cook for 2 minutes.
(If you are adding potatoes, you might want it to cook little longer, alternatively you can add boiled tomatoes as well)
Serve it with hot dosas or idlis. My friend likes to eat it with rice too. So you can try serving it with rice as well.
The curry might thicken soon due to the presence of coconut and roasted bengal gram.
I prefer to eat it fresh, you can also refrigerate and serve it next day. But do remember to add few tbsp of water and heat it before serving.
I will recommend the use of fresh coconut.
In the chettinad recipe, the ingredients are ground to a smooth paste.