Thursday, March 29, 2007


My wonderful friend Laila is an excellent cook and this sambar came from her kitchen. The spicy, lentil and vegetable soup has fresh curry leaves and is one of my favorites with idli. We had an afternoon of Indian cooking in which she showed me how to make chhole masala (chickpeas), a fresh bean curry, spicy cauliflower, and my favorite--Beigan Bharta. Yum!! I love eggplant! She also fed me Chicken Kesari Kurma with homemade coconut chutney for lunch. I am so fortunate to have such a friend! Contiune for recipe.

Laila Pallai

1 cup dry yellow lentils (yellow split peas)
1/4 t tumeric
1/2 t cumin seed
1/4 t black mustard seed
1 dried red chili
5-6 fresh curry leaves
1/2 small onion, diced very finely or pulsed into paste with processor
veggies of choice: zucchini, yellow squash are perfect -- cut into large chunks
2 t sambar powder (2-3 or to taste)
2 roma tomatos, diced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
cilantro (optional)

Cook lentils in saucepan or pressure cooker with a salt and the tumeric until done.
Heat a bit of oil in saucepan over medium high heat. Add cumin, mustard, and chili. Stir.
Add curry leaves and onion. Cook until onion is browned and soft.
Add veggies and cooked lentils. Add about 1 cup of the lentils and smash with the back of your spoon.
Add sambar powder.
Add tomatoes and water to get the consistency that you want.
Add sugar.
Let boil about 15 min. or until veggies are finished.
Top with cilantro, if wanted, and season with salt to taste.

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