Say hello to my little friend

A new spice grinder, and home-made South Indian Sambhar dal

sambhar.jpgYou can never have too many clothes, shoes, handbags… and kitchen gadgets.

My super turbo hand-held blender has never let me down. But off late I’ve noticed its general reluctance to turn roasted spices into anything finer than granulated sugar.

Old age perhaps? A spot of rebellion? It happens to the best of us…

It was time for change. I needed a mean machine that would blast even the toughest little spice rogues into tiny specks of dust. I needed a coffee grinder.

It would have to be:

  • Compact: The kitchen cupboards are bursting with stuff
  • Easy to clean: My poor man has enough on his plate already
  • Simple to use: Anything more than the click of a button is far too exhausting

I settled for this one. My first mission – to make the spice mix powder for sambhar, a South Indian dal eaten widely with steamed idlis, fried dosas and even plain rice.

Armed and dangerous, I spent 10 whole minutes reducing dry roasted whole spices to fine sambhar powder. I got 150gms worth. Enough to last a year, to be precise.

This is the sambhar dal I made with it. Fragrant, delicious and simple.

This recipe feeds 4:

250 gm toor lentils

6 okras (lady finger)

1 medium carrot

1 small onion

1 tsp mustard seeds

2 sprigs of curry leaves

Half teaspoon turmeric powder

2 tsp sambhar powder

1 tablespoon of freshly grated coconut (Unsweetened dessicated will work too)

Pinch of asafoetida (hing)

1 tbsp + 1 tsp sunflower oil

Salt to taste

Wash the lentils thoroughly in a large pot, until the water runs clean. Bring it to boil with twice as much cold water, the turmeric powder and a teaspoon of oil.

As it bubbles up, lower the flame to a medium boil and cook the lentils until they lose shape and start integrating with the water. Don’t let them dry up and keep adding hot water to make sure you have a dal iof fairly thin consistency.

In the meantime, wash the whole okra under cold water and then chop into one centimetre discs. Peel and chop the carrot into half centimetre discs and then quarters. Chop the onion into little pieces.

Bring the remaining oil to heat in a small pot over a high flame. When it is hot, add the asafoetida and the mustard seeds. As they sizzle up, add the curry leaves and fry them for 20 seconds.

Next add the vegetables and the sambhar powder and stir fry on a high heat, mixing the ingredints together well.

When the dal is cooked, stir this vegetable mix into it along with the coconut. Simmer together for five minutes and serve piping hot.

PS = Why stop at a coffee grinder? Use a pressure cooker to make the dal. It takes 5-7 minutes after the first whistle.

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    This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 7th, 2007 at 7:24 am and is filed under Highlights, Lentils, Vegetarian. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.