Sambar- South Indian Lentil and Vegetable Side Dish

I was quite reluctant to make this dish as it sounded like just another lentil dish. Once I started cooking the flavour base, howver, I realised why this is such a popular South Indian dish!

You will need:

1 cup cooked lentils (I used left over red lentils, but traditionally toor dal is used)

2  tablespoons dessicated coconut

2 tablespoons madras sambar powder

1 red chilli

tamarind juice to taste (approx 2 tablespoons diluted soaked tamarind juice)

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

6 curry leaves

1/8 teaspoon asefodeita

1/2 medium carrot – chopped into large pieces after halving vertically

1 cup vegetable drumsticks – cut into long (6 cm) pieces

1 small onion

1 medium tomato – finely chopped or pureed

1 red chilli – optional

To make:

Cook curry leaves and mustard seeds in some oil until they splutter. Add spices and stir for a minute or until fragrant. Add coconut and stir off the heat. Once well combined, add tomatoes and cook on the heat again until frragrant and soft.

Add cooked lentils, onion, asefodetia and vegetables (plus sufficient water)  and allow to cook on medium heat.

Season well with salt and tamarind to taste.


South Indian Style Lentil Soup

This was a change from the regular red lentil soup made at home. It is delicously spiced with a south indian flavour. Easy to make and a sure hit with soup lovers.

You will need:

1.5 cup yellow lentils/toor dal (soaked for a couple of hours)

1 large onion – diced

2 large cloves garlic – minced

1 tablespoon minced ginger

5 curry leaves (optional)

2 tablespoons madras curry powder (more or less to taste)

water for cooking (approx 3-5 cups)


To make:

Fry off the onions on a medium heat in sufficient oil (should move freely in the oil) until lightly golden. Add the curry leaves and allow to sizzle. Add spice powder, garlic and ginger. Stir fry until fragrant.

Add soked lentils and cover with water. Cover and cook on a simmer, adding more water while cooking when necessary. Stir regularly so it doesnt stick to the bottom. Season well.

Soup is done when the lentils can be easily mashed. You can puree in a food processor for a smooth finish, or mash while cooking.

Serve with parathas, dosas or alone. Enjoy!




Spiced Pumpkin Soup.

Pumpkin soup is a winter essential. This is a twist on the classic version, with a hint of spice to warm you up just a little bit more!

You will need: (approx 2-4 servings)

Approx 2 cups jap pumpkin (peeled and chopped into small or medium pieces)

Half a medium carrot (grated)

Half a medium tomato (optional)- chopped or pureed

Half a medium onion (chopped)

One clove of garlic (minced)

Half a tablespoon minced ginger

Half a tablespoon curry powder (more or less to taste)- I used Madras Curry powder as it is mild and works well with this soup.

Salt and pepper to taste

Couple of tablespoons chopped mint and corriander for garnish (optional)


To make:

Saute the onions in a few tablespoons of oil (approx 2-4 tablespoons) on medium heat until softened (approx 3 mins). Add the garlic, ginger and spices powder. Saute for a minute until fragrant, but do not burn.

Add tomato, carrots, pumpkins and enough water to cover the ingredients by about 1 cm.

Bring to the boil and allow to cook on a gentle simmer for about 30-60 mins or until everything is very soft and all the rawness of the ingredients is cooked out. Keep an eye on the soup (checking every 5-10 mins) and stir/mash the soup when necessary. Add water if needed (1/2 cup at a time). Season well.

Once cooked, if too watery allow to cook uncovered on higher heat, stirring regularly until thickened.

You can either mash with a fork until smooth, or puree for a smoother finish. I just use the fork!

Add chopped herbs at the end and you can also add a couple of tablespoons of milk or cream before serving.

Make sure to make extra as this shouldnt last very long in your fridge!