I was planning to make kara kuzhambu (a spicy-hot gravy for rice) but ended up with kara sambar using cooked thuvar dal. I must have cooked the thuvar dal with the intention of making something using it, forgot about it and decided to make kara kuzhambu instead. Then when the kuzhambu was almost ready, I (re)discovered the cooked thuvar dal. Since I didnt want to freeze it to use another day, I decided to dump it in the kara kuzhambu - and thus kara sambar came about. It made for great sambar with a somewhat different taste than when I make sambar the regular way.
I had the kara sambar with dosa and molagapodi made Indira's way, and enjoyed every last bit of it! I will probably end up making this kara sambar more often... out of choice, not by accident.
Recipe for: Kara sambar
For the sambar:
1 cup cooked and mashed tuvar dal
1 cup shallots, chopped into thirds (If you dont have shallots, onions are ok to use)
1/2 cup garlic, chopped into chunks
2 cups tomatoes, chopped fine
1 tsp tamarind paste, dissolved in 4 cups water
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tst each of urad dal, fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds
3-4 tbsp oil
1 tbsp fresh chopped coriander leaves for garnishing
4-5 curry leaves (optional)
Salt to taste
For the dry masala powder:
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp channa dal
1 tsp urad dal
5-6 dry red chillies
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
Dry-roast these without oil and grind to a fine powder. Reserve.
1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard, cumin, urad dal and fenugreek seeds and the curry leaves, if using.
2. Cover the pan and let the seeds pop (about 30 seconds).
3. Add the chopped shallots and garlic and fry for a few minutes till they turn soft.
4. Then put in the chopped tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are soft and mushy.
5. Mix in the chilli powder and turmeric, then add the tamarind water and stir.
6. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it bubble briskly for about 7 minutes, then add the dry masala powder and mix.
7. Let this simmer for five minutes before stirring in the cooked thuvar dal and salt to taste.
8. Boil for 3-4 minutes, turn off the heat. The mixture should be quite thick, but still pourable. If not, thicken it with a little cornflour and boil for another minute or so. Garnish with coriander leaves.
9. Serve over rice or as an accompaniment with dosa or idli.