Traditional South Indian Aruchivitta Sambar

Today I tried to go all authentic and try my version of aruchivitta sambar, made sambar powder from scratch. Sambar is a staple in most south Indian homes and is very versatile because it can be had with idlies, dosas, venpongal and rice. As a kid I always loved the combination of steaming hot idlies and tiffin sambar that my mom made for breakfast and a dollop of homemade ghee (clarified butter) over those idlies was just too scrumptious to resist !  I guess it’s one of my all time favorites. Similarly sambar sadam or sambar rice for lunch is what most would call comfort food in south India, a spoon of sambar sadam whith ghee and a bite of crunchy rice vadakam or appalam.. yummmm !!! 🙂 Okay enough of day dreaming about the good old days back in India 😀 let me share with you my recipe. 


Aruchivitta Sambar : 

Prep time : 10 mins

Cook time : 30 min

Ingredients –

  1. Tamarind : small gooseberry size ball soaked in warm water
  2. Green chilly : 1 slit
  3. Onion : 1’2 finely sliced
  4. Tomato : 1 chopped
  5. Vegetables : of your choice
  6. Salt : to taste
  7. Jaggery or sugar : 2 tsp (optional)
  8. Cilantro : few sprigs chopped fine

To temper –

  1. Oil : 2 tbsp
  2. Black mustard seeds : 1/2 tsp
  3. Urad dal : 1’2 tsp
  4. Curry leaves : few

To dry roast and grind into a fine powder –

  1. Dry red chillies : 5
  2. Black pepper corns : 1/2 tsp
  3. Chana dal or split bengal gram dal : 1 tbsp
  4. Urad dal or split black gram dal : 1 tsp
  5. Fenugreek seeds : 5 to 6 seeds
  6. Cumin seeds : 1 tsp
  7. Coriander seeds : 2 tsp

To pressure cook –

  1. Toor dal or split pigeon peas : 3/4 cup
  2. Water : just enough to cover the dal
  3. Turmeric powder : a pinch
  4. Hing or asoefetida : a pinch

Pressure cook untill you hear 3 whistles on medium flame. Then turn off the flame and the steam realse. Open the lid and smash the cooked dal with the back of a wooden ladle.

Procedure –

  1.  To minimize time consumption first soak tamarind in water and cook toor dal in the pressure cooker.  Meanwhile roast the spices and once you get a nice aroma transfer the contents into a spice grinder and let it cool down before you grind it.
  2. Do all the chopping work and squeeze the tamarind to extract all it’s juices and strain this liquid to remove any impurities.  Now grind the spices into a fine powder.
  3. In a pan heat some oil and add the ingredients given under the ‘to temper’ header in order. Once mustard splutters go ahead and add green chillies, curry leaves and onions and saute till onions are translucent.
  4. Now add the veggies of your choice ( i used turnips) and saute for some time. Then add chopped tomato, salt and saute till tomato gets thoroughly cooked.
  5. Add dal, tamarind water and ground spice powder. Stir well and add more water salt if necessary.
  6. Bring the curry to a rolling boil and then lower the flame to medium. Cook covered till the veggies are well done.
  7. Open and now add jaggery if you prefer to and finish it off with some chopped cilantro.
  8. Serve hot with rice, drizzled with ghee ( clarified butter ).

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PS :

  • For those who do not have a pressure cooker, toor dal can be cooked in a open pot. Just keep the flame on medium and cook the dal till its little more than well done.
  • Combinations of veggies which work for sambar are : brinjals and drumsticks , carrots and beans. Other than that even potato sambar tastes great.

2 thoughts on “Traditional South Indian Aruchivitta Sambar

  1. Pingback: Vengaya Sambar or Sambar with Madras Onions or Shallots | ãhãram

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