This version of the traditional South Indian dish sambar is made with red lentils in place of toor dal, canola oil in place of ghee and store-bought sambar powder. This recipe is part of the 2018 Food & Nutrition cultural competency series, My Global Table.
SERVING SIZE: 1 cup (250 grams)
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
COOKING TIME: 40 minutes
- 1 cup split red lentils, rinsed
- 4 cups (950 milliliters) water, divided
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) canola oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
- ½ cup thinly sliced carrots
- ½ cup diced zucchini
- ½ cup diced eggplant
- 3 tablespoons sambar powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Combine lentils and 2 cups water in a 2-quart saucepan. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until lentils are soft and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
- While lentils are cooking, heat oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until lightly golden brown, about 6 to 7 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and reduce heat to medium-low. Sauté until tomatoes start to break down and get mushy, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add carrots, zucchini and eggplant. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.
- Stir in sambar powder and salt. Sauté for 1 minute, then turn off heat. Remove lentils from heat.
- Using an immersion blender (or standard blender or food processor) puree lentils and remaining liquid.
- Add pureed lentils, remaining 2 cups water and tamarind concentrate to the cooked vegetables. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add cilantro just before serving. Serve warm with rice.
Cooking note: Sambar powder is a unique blend of spices including red chilies, coriander and curry leaves. It can be found in specialty grocery stores, Indian markets and online.
Nutrition per serving: 196 calories, 4g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 3mg cholesterol, 508mg sodium, 32g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 5g sugar, 10g protein, 513mg potassium, 145mg phosphorus