Sunday, November 13, 2005

Kara sambar with shallots and garlic

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.


Anonymous said...

You made a well for ghee. How cute:)

It's morning 8.45 here.My food cravings started already because of your gorgeous dosa photo.:)

Shammi said...

I always liked making a well :) When i was a kid, I would wait for the oil/ghee to overflow, and only then mix it with the podi :)

Thanks for the nice remark about the photo, Indira - very complimentary coming from somebody who takes such professional photos!! :)

Mika said...

Great and different kuzhambu/sambar, Shammi. Without adding dal, is it supposed to be like vathal kuzhambu in terms of thickness? I would love to make it both ways.

Anonymous said...

Hi shyamala,

I am a regular vistor of Mahanandhi, came to know your webiste through her in Idly karma podi. I tried your Kara Sambhar. It came out very well and it had a different taste from the normal sambhar. I had with pesarattu dosa. Can you give the receipe for kara kulumbu and vatha kulumbu recipe when you get time. I am just waiting for this recipe to be blogged by someone. I visit saravana Bhavan hotel in sanjose, california just for these kulumbu. It is so yum.....

Anonymous said...

Hi, Nice to know the kara sambar came out well for you too - it IS different from the normal sambar, isnt it? Makes a change! I'll post recipes for kara kuzhambu and vatha kuzhambu soon. Thanks for dropping by!

Raaga said...


so if I omit the tuvar dal, will it become kara kuzhambu?? Have been hunting for that recipe.

jillu iyer said...

Dish Name :- Stuffed Eggplant vethakuzambhu
There are 2 parts of this receipe ....
1) Masala for eggplant
2) Vethakuzumbhu

I will give receipe one after the other

Ingredients for Masala for eggplant :-
1 cup chana dal
1/2 cup dhaniya Full seeds
7-8 Red chillies
2 pinches of asefoitida
salt to taste

How to make :-
1. Take a kadhai and fry without oil the chanadal dhaniya ...fry till raw smell goes off ....
2.Keep aside in a dish and fry the red chillies for 1 minute.
3. Grind it coarsely all the ingredients (Chanadaal, dhaniya, red chillies ,salt and asafoetida)

Preparation for eggplant :-
4.Take 4-5 small sized eggplant .
5.Hold the eggplant straight and cut like cross till 3/4 lenght of the eggplant.
6.Stuff the grinded coarse powder in the eggplant . Left over grinded powder can be kept in a airtight container and can be used for all sabji's .
7.Take oil in a kadhai and put the eggplants not one over the other ...keep seperately.
8.Put a lid over the kadhai .
9.Remember to turn over the eggplant to all side to avoid burning .
10.Let the egplant cook completely .
The MASALA EGGPLANT is ready ...U can eat jsut that as a side dish for ric


1.Take 1 small lemon size of tamarind and soak in water .
2.Sqeeze and take out the pulp
3.Add water to the pulp to make it a tamarind water
4.Take a kadhai , put some oil in that and add rai ..let it splutter then add curry leaves
5.Add sambhar powder ( add very little as the eggplant is filled with masala in which red chillies are added) to the oil and after 5 seconds add the tamarind water and let it boil for 10 mins.
6.After 10 mins of boiling add the masala filled eggplant to that .Add salt if required .
7.Let the vethakozumbhu boil and the eggplant will be soaked in the gravy .


With Love


Unknown said...

Hi Shammi,

Nice recipes... thanks a lot for posting 'em. Could you make it easy on our eyes by using somewhat darker fonts?!